Mondelēz International CEO Dirk Van de Put shared insight into how the snack giant is evolving its marketing, providing a peek into its investment strategy.
Van de Put, who has been with the No. 21 consumer goods company for nearly four years, identified five key priorities at the Alliance Bernstein 37th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference, all of which feed into Mondelez’s strategy to move from being margin-centric to consumer-centric.
1. Better Core Marketing
At the top of his list was improving core marketing and becoming clear on brand purpose — as well as how to drive it and best communicate it to consumers.
This also includes an “obsession with product,” said Van de Put, through continuous renovation, focus on quality, and improving creative.
“We’ve installed a scoring system, and we are clear on what creative excellence looks like,” he noted. Mondelez today spends 60% of its marketing investments in digital, and 35% is personalized. “Digital creative excellence is very different from TV or print. … So how to do creative and how to personalize the messaging is very critical in today’s way of marketing.”
2. Investing in Infrastructure
With this digital emphasis, Mondelez is investing in its infrastructure in order to understand how to personalize messaging. This in turn has led to better consumer insights and analytics.
This deeper understanding of the consumer “is what is made possible through digital and doing that on a massive scale globally.”
3. Increasing A&C Investments
Mondelez increases its advertising and commercial (A&C) investment each year. “We want to grow faster and faster — or if the basic math is bigger, to grow the same percentage [that] will become bigger every year in dollars,” he said. “And so you need to keep on investing in your brands and differentiating them, and make sure that the consumer really keeps on loving them.”
As a result, the company dedicates half of gross profit increases to investments and half to the bottom line. Today’s investments include significant increases in working media.
“We’re not yet there,” Van de Put noted. “We still have many brands that are not getting the investment that we would like to give them. But, within the limits that we have, I think that’s a model that is really working for us. And so that’s what we’re planning to keep on doing.”
4. Improving Execution
Mondelez has doubled down on its marketing execution prowess, designating ROI as key business metric. As a result, it’s recorded a 14% improvement in ROI in the last five years per year, with 25% improvement last year.
Driving this success has been improved efficiencies with its partner and agencies, as well as having half of Mondelez creative now in the top tier of its new creative scoring system.
5. Rethinking Talent
Calling himself a “dinosaur,” Van de Put noted that today’s marketer is a different animal from his early days in the trenches, when he began his career in sales and marketing roles for Mars Inc. As a result, developing today’s required skills within the company is a top priority.
“They need to be really digitally savvy and understand how today’s consumer is communicating,” he said. “We also need very high engagement. It needs to be the core and the driver of the company. And so you need a team of people in marketing around the world that really drives the way the company looks at the consumer and thinks about the brands and the products.”