Marketers are looking at more data, more often as they try to navigate the unpredictable developments of 2020.
Spirits maker Bacardi Ltd. and Daimler AG’s
have turned in part to a dashboard of analytics, for example, that was introduced in May by their media agency,
Omnicom Group Inc.’s
OMD Worldwide. It pulls in 35 data sources across 30 markets on subjects like media consumption habits, ad rates, consumer sentiment, foot traffic, shopping behaviors, government restrictions put in place to fight the coronavirus pandemic and fluctuations in local Covid-19 cases and mortality rates.
Bacardi used what it found in the dashboard to shift marketing dollars toward its ready-to-drink Bacardi Rum cocktails last summer as stay-at-home restrictions eased and people became more willing to venture outside, according to the company. Bacardi, which spent 65% of its planned media budget in the U.S. to support the product’s launch in May, increased its planned spend to the same percentage in June and July—from as low as 10% of its budget in June and 0% in July.
“Covid is not changing the substance of your business, but changing the way your business reacts to the changed context,” said John Burke, global chief marketing officer at the spirits maker, which sells brands such as Grey Goose and Bombay Sapphire.
Others have developed data-based tools or services to inform decisions related to the coronavirus.
Mercedes-Benz is seeking data to answer questions on customer behavior and economic activity in different regions, said Natanael Sijanta, director of global marketing communications at the German auto maker.
“Is consumer mobility increasing at the same time as interest in the category in a given market? How does that align to what survey data is telling us about pent-up demand there? What types of content are people consuming more of, and how are prices fluctuating?” Mr. Sijanta said.
Other marketers and agencies are making their own inquiries, tailored to their sectors. Insurance giant
drew its road map for advertising during the pandemic partly using information from a weekly poll of 1,000 consumers conducted by its ad agency, Arnold Worldwide.
is using a platform built by Universal McCann, part of
Interpublic Group of
Cos., to parse what’s happening across the U.S. as the candy giant ramps up its advertising for the holiday season, according to Charlie Chappell, the company’s head of media.
McCann said the platform uses machine learning to predict rising and falling consumer demand across various marketer categories spanning 32 countries, drawing on online search data and other data sets to track factors such as the rate of new, confirmed and recovered Covid-19 cases, local government restrictions, and unemployment and other economic data. In the U.S., McCann provides data broken down by state.
“Hersheys is a national advertiser, but there are state-specific implications which will impact the holiday period,” said Huw Griffiths, global chief product officer for Universal McCann.
The data within the pandemic-centric tools in many cases are already available from a variety of sources, but the goal is to pull it together into a more useful picture for marketers.
“It’s about making better decisions, faster,” said Florian Adamski, chief executive of OMD.
Mr. Burke said the pandemic has forced Bacardi to act more quickly in terms of where, how and how quickly it makes its media deployments. Decisions that the brand would typically make annually are now being made on a quarterly or monthly basis.
“There’s an overall dynamism in the business right now because everything is in flux,” he said. “You can’t assume anything. You have to be led by the data, in real time, to develop an agile response in how you show up to customers.”
Write to Sahil Patel at email@example.com
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