Kraft’s Big Data Integration is Bringing in the Cheddar

Kraft’s Big Data Integration is Bringing in the CheddarMany companies are faced with the challenge of getting value out of their data especially as the data gets bigger. One may surmise that larger companies with bigger budgets, more staff, and more resources have it all figured out but I believe the contrary is more true. Bigger companies who have been around for longer face even bigger challenges such as larger quantities of data and more diverse data than smaller companies in comparison.  However, although the challenges may be larger in scale the rewards can be astronomical.

Two years ago, Bob Rupczynski, VP of Media and Consumer Engagement, joined Kraft. The company was experiencing major changes as it split from Mondelez to go independent. While this was going on, Bob Rupczynski and others at the company were planning significant changes to Kraft’s data operations that would have a major impact on the renowned brand giant that brought Cheez Wiz, Kool-Aid, and Planters to our cupboards.

Kraft, like many companies had a great amount of consumer data but struggled to find the most value out of it. In a Q&A with Ad Age called “How Kraft Put Data Integration on the Menu”, Bob Rupczynski discusses how Kraft became focused on individualized content and ad targeting versus marketing to mass consumer segments. Below are important snippets from the Q&A.

Why did Kraft decide a thorough data overhaul was necessary and what were the primary goals of that initiative?

We aimed to market to individual consumers versus to mass segments, and operate in a world of addressability, not indexes and skews. Finally, we wanted to be able to read consumer data with precision to enable real-time allocation decisions across all media.

As a result, we merged our content platform with our data management platform to enable addressable media. This content-generated platform accomplishes many of the goals we laid out in our wish list by enabling our immense set of first-party consumer data to be used to build proprietary audiences to target with our ads and content in an addressable fashion.

The idea that Kraft had enormous amounts of data — for instance about how people interact on Kraftrecipes.com — but did little with it before embarking on the data system overhaul may surprise people. Why do you think the company was not analyzing and using this information before?

Our content platform would not have been possible a few years ago because the tools and ad stack weren’t invented yet to support it. Simply put, the technology wasn’t there. We absolutely used the data but, really, it was to collect consumer insights versus as a tool to inform our content and allocation strategies.

What were the steps in the process toward putting Kraft’s data to better use? How much of this is about adjusting mindsets among execs to ensure people take advantage of data resources and how much involves implementing new software or systems?

The first step was to develop a vision and paint a picture for the Kraft leadership team to get them on board with our goal of reinventing marketing at Kraft. We knew this could not be an effort that lived just within Kraft’s leadership.

How is it bigger?

Our vision is really about leveraging data to drive effectiveness throughout the entire business system, end-to-end. It has three parts: data, infrastructure, and content.

How has rethinking the way Kraft uses data changed the types of performance measures the company uses to evaluate success?

We think about our content platform as a performance engine driving agile marketing, and an engine that allows us to enable experiences and drive effectiveness. Whereas most of our peers are using programmatic media to drive efficiency, we view efficiency as a benefit but not the goal. By bringing our content platform together with our media platform, we drive effectiveness in terms of understanding our audience, thus allowing us to better segment, target, and serve relevant content to them.

Can you discuss how this new approach affected the way Kraft markets a specific brand?

The Planters team found that a large segment of these consumers were women looking online for healthy snack options between 10 to 10:30 at night and that heart-health messaging resonated strongly with them. This was breakthrough insight because many people were not aware of the heart-health benefits of peanuts. As a result, our team responded by applying the heart-health messaging to all campaign content. By using these real-time insights, we were able to distribute content at scale, resulting in Planters driving twice the ROI of all other brand sites in terms of media plans.

Click here to for the full Q&A with Bob Rupczynski to learn more about how Kraft leveraged big data integration to drive ROI.

Timothy King
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Timothy King

Senior Editor at Solutions Review
Timothy is Solutions Review's Senior Editor. He is a recognized thought leader and influencer in enterprise middleware. Timothy has also been named a top global business journalist by Richtopia. Scoop? First initial, last name at SR dot com.
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