Tinder, General Mills and Bain and Company Smash Marketing Silos

so Laura perhaps we can start with you so you know you work with all different pencil company basically it being perhaps you can give us just a little bit of background for how in your experience working in this field you know marketing organizations used to be organized and now how rapidly you see that changing sure happy to start there and excited to be here with everyone today you know in in my experience we’ve seen lots of change happening in marketing and the good news is marketing has really earned a seat at the table in the c-suite in a lot of strategic discussions about what’s the future of the brand and products and that’s a great outcome you know the difficulty is that it’s actually meant that marketing has to operate quite differently you know the speed with which decisions need to be made and the cross collaboration that needs to happen within marketing is a lot different I think than it than it used to be even in b2b companies in particular it used to be the marketing kind of go off on their own and do some cool stuff and yes or let good things happen but there’s a lot more collaboration that’s required a lot more bridges that are required with other parts of the organization and even within marketing that have needed to be changed so within marketing we’ve seen some big changes in both b2c and b2b companies in the idea of smashing silos between functions so making sure that merchandising is aligned with marketing is aligned with pricing as well as just a dramatic increase in the amount of speed that’s required to make decisions and so to me silos is also indicative of some of the legacy processes or long drawn-out things that used to happen you know a budget would get set eighteen months in advance and then somebody would go and execute that campaign and you know never really needing to interact with the research team are never needing to draw upon other resources within marketing and that’s just different now you know there needs to be cross-platform campaigns there needs to be across collaboration to be able to put the customer at the heart of everything and so I’ve seen a lot of marketing organizations start to reorganize around you know no longer around products or channels or types of media but around the customer and their journey and that’s pretty disruptive but it’s also pretty beneficial because we’ve seen in a lot of the research that we’ve done in a lot of the projects that we’ve worked on that increasing the speed of decision-making can have tremendous benefits and the companies that are leading in marketing today tend to make decisions and we’ve actually done some research of leaders versus like grid’s and marketing the leaders tend to make decisions two and a half times faster and they actually use data in those decisions three times more often than those who are lagging so there’s a lot of really good benefit in terms of the performance that those leaders have had getting share gaining sales and actually reducing costs as well and then that’s the precursor for being able to build more bridges with other parts of the organization because if you can get things really humming and marketing it’s easier than to be able to create those cross-functional teams that include IT or analytics or data you know other parts of the organization that need to be humming as well so is it really data that’s the key there you mentioned that statistic that fast-moving marketing teams are using data more often but is there any other components what would you highlight as the keys to speeding up those processes my thick digital has also had a big impact because you just have much more real-time feedback on what you’re doing but I wouldn’t say that data is actually the catalyst I think data is definitely an enabler but what the catalyst is is is thinking more about what the consumer is looking for over the course of their lifetime so an example would be some work we’ve spent a lot of time doing with retail banks I think it’s a really good example banks used to be organized very siloed by channel or by product and you know even though I may be somebody who wants to use my mobile device to check my balance you know I was then forced to go to a branch in order to be able to conduct some different types of of transactions and you know the bank was organized in the marketing department was organized in ways where the mortgage folks didn’t really think about savings product or the mobile folks didn’t necessarily think about the in branch experience and that’s been turned on its head so that you know my experience as a customer is what’s driving how the organization works and it allows you to be much more responsive to the key that you’re getting at all of these different touch points so Michael turning to you General Mills has everyone I mean it’s really well established well well loved brand but also not the newest one around it’s not an upstart brand we have a panel later day talking about how challenger brands are coming in and unchallenging how the

big established CPG and other brands and other industries going forward but with at General Mills when you came on what was your sort of what were your main priorities what did you see as things organizationally within within the marketing team that needed to be changed sure yeah well I am I’d spent most of my career working at ad agencies when I got this proper grown-up job I the advantage of not not really knowing anything and it was fantastic it’s an exotic place corporate America and and General Mills right the love and trust and sort of gauzy nostalgic warmth that people feel towards some of those brands is deep and valuable but we’re also a big food company and as you might have heard it’s tough being a big food company these days so so at the same time there was an understanding that we need to innovate and change and change our portfolio change the way we marketed and get more precise with our use of customer data and and and and yet there there was a desire to sort of respect and honor the very long-standing relationships that that the people had with our brand and and navigating those two things is is is maybe the the trick we’ve got to solve for for me though and for my marketing group what became really important to us was this might sound old-fashioned it might sound 56 years old rallying the organization rallying the company around purpose that mattered well you have lawyers doing their thing and financial people doing their thing sales and supply chain and marketing it seemed as if in this time of great change and sort of cultural about food and what we’re eating we had slightly forgotten what what we were about so we rewrote our corporate purpose this past year and put food at the center of it it’s very simple notion we want to make foods if the world can love and that simple measuring stick has become a really useful tool for people in a silo and any division to use before they make decisions does doing this this committing this act of finance or marketing or law or acquiring or divestiture that is doing this help us have food create food that more people will love so it it’s it’s it’s quaint but i think it’s become really powerful and when you think about that mission and stuff how it carries through in your marketing and in the creative work that you do what’s the what’s the metric are you trying to sort of get more people engaged with General Mills on social media I mean what’s the MIT what’s obviously say else is a big one but how are you looking at customer engagement and having that sort of really intimate strong bond with consumers sure I think we want to take our purpose seriously and we want to measure the love that people have for our brand and is it a sort of active dynamic love I think we’re taking a lot of lessons from the world of politics and valuing brand momentum and brand dynamism is a brand heading in the right direction or is it stuck in place has become a really important metric for us but but at the end of the day these are these are brands and categories that people purchase pretty frequently so unlike in other categories where the sort of long-term brand health metrics might might matter we’ve got a pretty good proxy and how people feel every Saturday when they go to the supermarket make sense um so feel very different product than General Mills so when you’re when you’re thinking about these challenges in the context of a digital product can you help walk us through what that means for your pace of decision-making and decision-making within tender sure I think listen how many people how many people have either eaten a general mills cereal or use tinder see what I did there there you go they’ve all use tinder yeah great great to see look we we are a digital product and frankly we don’t know any different right what tinder is just over three years old and we have I you know it’s a blessing and a curse sometimes to be that age in this in this era but for us you know we have I guess the advantage of being able to kind of take products to market and get feedback literally and Stan taneously from our users and that’s an enormous advantage just being a digital company because you know it’s very different when you have a supply chain and you have it you know you you have to you know the process by which we measure these things I would imagine is actually largely the same it’s just the timeline is so accelerated and it allows

us to get products to market quickly deliver things you know we can we can regionalize products very easily and it’s not that we can kind of we don’t sprinkle around tests all over the world all the time we still like any other company have constraints on how many people we have and where we focus our resources and prioritizing those resources is what we do all day long but we are able to put something into the market and understand pretty much instantaneously whether it’s working or not and if not why cetera so what that means I think for the organization and this goes to the kind of theme of smashing silos is that the organization has to be prepared and really focused on the same metrics and understand what success means and be ready to pull the trigger on scaling something incredibly quickly right like we can roll something into a test market and have to make a decision about whether to scale it globally a day later and you can’t scramble to do that you have to be prepped and be kind of ready you have to have the right analytics in place and so it takes a lot of kind of thought very early on so that you can react in as quick away as possibly because you know competitors will will move quickly if you don’t because they have the same advantages that we do in that regard so so it really I think actually changes it necessitates marketing’s involvement across the organization in many ways um by the way we could go to you again both Lauren Phil spoke about speed sure I’m curious within and we’ll get to this sort of in more depth in a later panel today but I’m curious just within General Mills such a large company how you think about that and how you prioritize that or is it a priority yeah it’s a massive priority you know we’ve got the reality that a lot of our products are things that are grown on farms and cooked in kitchens and ovens and sent to factories and wait for packaging and get on truck so so so unlike what Phil’s dealing with we we’ve got the reality of the thing we sell necessitating a certain amount of time but when it comes to marketing man we’re trying to be a whole lot more dynamic like everybody else we’re swimming we’re washing in consumer insight and data and trying to figure out how to give people what they need when they need it so you know if you’re the proverbial mom on a Tuesday night driving the kids to soccer and you don’t know what to get on the kitchen table we’ve got something for you that might be different if you’re on your way to yoga class and you need a protein bar so speed I think for us is being expressed in the way in which we mark it perhaps is a way to compensate the reality that it just takes time to get our food to the places where you can buy it that said the digital world e-commerce is as you know disrupting the way that people shop which is wonderful thing which is a wonderful thing totinos pizza rolls it’s going to be doing a wonderful promotion with amazon prime on with day in April April twentieth in Colorado reviewed your pizza rolls delivered within an hour if if you want pizza rolls if given me for Pedro dying for pizza roll pizza booking a ticket right now there you go there you go that’s pretty funny so um so that’s an example of a partnership my next question was about sort of working outside of organizations because I did a story for this week’s issue on through the challenges of digital marketing and how some of the players are big players responding to very well publicized challenges as everyone in this room knows about you know transparency and fraud and I was just looking at that loom escape that map of 2,500 companies from luma and it’s just striking right so in an age where no marketing team internally within a big company is an island right I mean you’re working with so many different partners and trying to keep track of your partners partners and make sure that you’re getting a good return on your investment and also you know wanting to ward off bad actors that seep into that supply chain how do you think about that I’m not sure Laura maybe we could start with you whether you’ve seen companies sort of deploy certain strategies to keep a handle on this supply chain and then maybe Michael or Phil if you can chime in yeah I’ve seen a about the expansion and proliferation of all of those companies in the Loom escape I think what we’re at like three thousand or so yes what’s also striking is when you try to compare who is in it last year versus Susan this year and there’s not a lot of overlap you know that that’s also pretty daunting for a marketer who’s trying to figure out what are the ones in here that all kind of sound similar but a little bit different who would be a good partner down the line and you know I think what it’s actually caused is we’ve seen a lot of companies start to think about more of

the capabilities they need to build in-house so sure there’s going to be a set of partners that are necessary just to be able to help with some of the speed elements to be able to help with some of the analytics elements that you may not have the talent internally to do but I think a lot of the proliferation of the number of vendors has also increased marketers awareness of the fact that the most valuable asset they have is their own consumer data that’s easy to say for you know a bank or a retailer it’s a little harder to say when you’re not as close to the consumer data as a as a packaged goods company may be but trying to find ways that you can embrace that proprietary data that you have mine it for all of the insights and thinking about how you can build an ecosystem around that within marketing internally to protect that data to make sure that you’re leveraging it for all its its worth has been one of the trends that we’ve seen happen more often in the last few years as opposed to saying well who are the 15 different partners that I need to have in order to be able to help me get through all of this yeah what are the capabilities whether it’s creating my own ability to buy programmatically whether it’s hiring my own data scientists and building a pretty robust analytics team or whether it’s just thinking about differences that I want to have in the negotiations and contracts that I have with my agency partners we see a lot of things changing there and you know we often get involved because we’re helping organizations see that they can get from point A where they are very reliant on a lot of vendors to point B which is taking control of more of those things themselves Michael how are you dealing with us a general mills yeah it’s interesting because some I I think fundamentally it is the shift from a push model of marketing two to one in what you need to create things that people actually desire beat your products beat your marketing beat the experience that they have and as valuable as data and programmatic buying and analytics can be it’s sometimes I think blurs the reality that at the end of the day we need ideas and it could be ideas for product or just ideas to build relationships that the people desire that that are irresistible how much precision is too much precision when you’re precisely targeting people with crap is the question we got to ask ourselves well put fill it let’s go to you it’s a good question well I guess we I have two two sides through which or two lenses through which answer this question so tender we sell advertising on our platform so we kind of see this kind of on the inbound side from brands and we also market the platform we are not really big digital marketers on the tender side we’re our users coming organically but we you know it’s an interesting we kind of really got into the ad business last year at scale and it’s been very interesting it’s been a real interesting process and there’s no question that brands are intensely hungry for data from us and I mean we’re pretty good at providing it we have really a lot of insight into who our users are and and we can we can provide targeting capabilities I think above and beyond what others can but there is definitely there’s definitely a number of brands that are just still getting used to the concept and trying to understand you know what is not only the right way to target people just like in terms of the quantitative element of that but what is the right way to target of them inter- speak to them on all these different platforms and you know the context of tinder is different than the context of snapchat or Facebook or Instagram and and they’re all great platforms in their own right you just you have to kind of be willing and you know this goes to kind of the creative departments and a lot of these organizations to speak to consumers have a consistent brand message but figure out how to interpret that in different ways and brands have been doing this for many many years before we existed I mean Brett you know marketing has been localized all over the world forever but it is happening so rapidly and it is hard to keep up to be honest with you so we spent a lot of time working with brands and what what the creative could look like and how it will best resonate and then we use the data to measure the effectiveness of those of those executions so I want to leave some time for questions do people have questions for our panelists or with by raising your hand or tweeting I’ll ask another while you while you brainstorm a bit more um so you know perhaps going back to you my goal that question of sort of how you have compelling creative messages when there are so many different consumer segments

that one could be targeting that’s really interesting and sort of how to do it in a compelling way and to my point earlier before you all came on stage you know there is this fatigue among consumers if they are bombarded with stuff that is entertaining I mean there’s some ads that I enjoy getting because there’s something about them that I find funny or moving or whatever and then there’s some ads where I just really wish they weren’t a part of my life and so when you’re reaching out to consumers in such a personal way and they’re to phils point are these different platforms in which you could reach them how do you maintain control of a compelling creative a message in that environment yeah I was lucky I had a boss at an ad agency who’s who’s a really smart guy he told me that that at the end of the day people like brands for the same reasons people like people so um try to make your marketing as lovably human as possible and we’ve got something to say around General Mills that that one of the jobs of our marketing’s to share the truth of our food and that verb is a really important one target cell push yeah who wants that who wants that fine what’s amazing and relevant about whatever it is you make and and get crawl inside of it right the mistake most marketing communications makes I think that it stands out at Brandon talks about it this brand over here is the leading it’s who are you third-person narrator like the greatest marketing stands inside of a brand and speaks from it and shares its passion you know not embarrassed to use the the age old evergreen example of Nike but but who says just do it is that the brand is that the voice in your head is at your high school coach is that is that is that your lover yes all of the above the more brands take a disposition of sharing what they’re about and selling what they’re about ironically think they’ll sell more so I got a note from the voice of God telling me that it’s actually the app not Twitter where you can submit your questions so if you have the economist at that’s the way to submit your questions if you’re too shy to do so by raising your hand but please do is your hand if you have if you have a question yes this woman right here in the middle thank you someone will come to you with a microphone if you just tell us who you are and that would be great hi loud my name is shannon smith and i am the vp of customer success at on deck which is a lender to small businesses and I have a question for the panel there are a lot of classic ways of the understanding your customer and we’ve done focus groups and we’ve done surveys and panels what are you using today to understand what it is your customers want whether the classic still works or have you moved to new ways of collecting that kind of customer preference in customer sentiment thank you anyone want to take that uh sure everyone’s pointing at me so I will take for us you know look as a digital product we have a we have a few different levers that we can kind of use none of these are a substitute for I think the classic methods and I can tell you how we do that as well but look we have product data that tells us what’s working what’s not and we can look across the world tenders has users all over the world and so we can kind of very quickly see what things work in which place is and what things might need to be tweaked in other places that doesn’t answer the question of course of our non-users but it but it we get a pretty good proxy for you know for what’s working what’s not just through our own product data we also we survey a lot we ask people a lot of different questions and everything from him in our in our world we ask about dating culture as much as we ask about product specific features and so and we can kind of get to our users at scale through our own product very quickly and that regard and then I guess thirdly are more just more more classic methods of general population surveys and just feet on the street to really kind of dig it and understand these things I mean it’s not for us because there’s a there’s a cultural nuance to dating and the way that people use our product there’s a lot to kind of understand there and every company has that at some level just like for you you know everyone in the world eats but they different things but you know for us it’s just a little bit different so we just try to dig in and understand the cultural nuance and what will the product tick in that regard so we leverage digital because of its speed because of its scale and we can do it very inexpensively but it’s not a substitute for the classic stuff either I’ll add on to that to put a finer point on a couple of things so you with our clients we still do a lot of the

traditional kind of focus groups customer survey research but have incorporated a lot more of design thinking into a lot of the research that we’re doing if we’re actually going to go out and interact with customers for two reasons one I mean it actually does create some breakthrough thinking so it’s actually a different way of asking people questions to be able to get really underneath what did it what is the the need that they’re trying to fulfill that you can’t always get to with focus groups or you can’t always get to with traditional surveys but the second reason we found that it’s really powerful is that you can get a lot of members of the executive team as well as the frontline who are meeting with customers involved in exercises like that where for the first time in a long time sometimes some of the c-suite is actually sitting down and engaging with a customer and they haven’t talked to them in 25 years and that creates some actually pretty innovative thinking that we haven’t seen before and secondly I think another technique given we have digital and given it does have such a rapid cycle time we have been helping a lot of our clients with a be testing or multiple a/b testing or multivariate testing that allows you to do exactly what phil was describing but very quickly get a read on slight different variations that you can put out either through digital channels you can put out through a call center you can put out through you know the frontline branch people you know there’s lots of different ways that you can create those slight variations with the control group and get very good feedback real-time on what not only customers say they’re interested in but then how they really reacted in real time and we have a as you’d imagine and a CPG company a pretty crack consumer insights team but but but they’re they’re sort of mission is fascinating to me who is really intriguing when I joined they want to build intuition in the organization for how to best serve our consumers so we have shifted we do all all the source of traditional research newfangled research you’d imagine but we’ve sort of shifted the energy of that to to the beginning of processes as opposed to testing and evaluating things at the end it goes your point earlier Charlotte about the speed and how we’re trying to build speed and food I don’t think we’ve copy tested any marketing for for about a year and a half now because it takes too much time and if arguably you’ve got empathy and intuition up front you obviate the need to second guess yourself huh really interesting um we are out of time but that’s such a fantastic way to start the day thank you so much for for bringing these insights to us it’s to us it’s to us it’s to us it’s