Pushing the boundaries of marketing ROI at Coca-Cola

Client: Coca-Cola Inc.

Authors/Consultant: Foresight Associates

Case summary: Marketers behind major brands look into consumer data to spot trends and craft possible futures. Their vision and strategy relies on a balance of art and science, based on raw marketing talent and supported by extensive data on consumer behavior.

Virtually all available brand tracking data is grounded in the past. Although social media give vast amounts of real-time information, much of this is qualitative, incomplete and unreliable. But the historic information is critically valuable for two reasons. First, that data explains how interactions between consumers, retailers and competitors actually operate and how the entire system responds to marketing and pricing changes. Secondly, historic actions and choices are already strong determinants of what will happen in the near- to mid-term future.

The Coca-Cola Company’s Brand Beverage Barometer is a massive global brand tracker that informs decision-makers about their brand’s health, and gives clues on how well marketing programs perform. But, powerful as it is, this solution alone cannot give good forward-looking consumer insights.

The solution developed was achieved through a behavioral and attitudinal segmentation, plus system dynamics modeling that allows Coca-Cola to project current understanding of consumers’ choices into future changes to brand preferences. The approach is analogous┬áto taking a series of snapshots of consumer behavior, turning them into a movie, and running the movie forward in time.

The result is a strategic planning tool that can identify high return-on-investment marketing initiatives, which can be replicated across regions and numerous product categories. This also provides a common language for marketing professionals to share their insights.

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