Diageo Marketing Exec on Brands' Evolution Into Integrated Digital Marketing
What do brand marketing executives say are the central
challenges to achieving integrated digital marketing, and what are the payoffs?
Some answers can be found in a new guide for marketers published by Ignition
One, a global digital marketing agency.
Ignition One calls its guide "The Integrated Marketing
Playbook: How to Create Simplicity from Complexity," and dubs it "a fundamental
guide for digital marketers." It can be downloaded here.
The Playbook includes Q&As with senior brand marketing
executives who discuss their use of integrated digital marketing.
One of those who sat down with Ignition One was Peter
McDonough, chief marketing and innovation officer for Diageo North America.
Diageo brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Windsor, Buchanan's
and Bushmills whiskies; Smirnoff, Ciroc and Ketel One vodkas; Baileys; Captain
Morgan; Jose Cuervo; Tanqueray; and Guinness.
Here, McDonough talks about the challenges and advantages of
What is your role
I oversee brand management as well as new product development for the
region. Originally, we had a chief marketing officer and an independent chief
innovating officer, which was my prior role, and we made the decision to
combine both of the roles. This was largely to create stronger linkage between
the role that new product development was playing in brand strategy. There is a
much more integrated approach now where our innovation work streams are focused
in support of the brand strategy as opposed to being viewed as opportunistic
ways of capturing more consumers.
How would you
define Integrated Digital Marketing?
For the last couple of years, we've evolved our overall approach to
marketing. For us, it's not about designing programs for specific channels and
figuring out how to integrate them into the digital space. It's about what is
the most effective path for marketing in a digital age. We live in an era where
consumers have more power than ever before. Social media, in particular, can
build, or in some cases, diminish a brand, so we develop programs that connect
with consumers in meaningful ways and give them the ability to engage and
ultimately share. We refer to this concept as Participative Marketing, knowing
that participation drives engagement and advocacy, which are paramount to
building and sustaining our brands.
What are the
challenges for organizations to integrate their marketing?
It all starts with having the right insights and getting collective
alignment upfront. If we get the insights right, the planning and development
process can and should be a highly collaborative and fluid exercise. But there
is some old baggage about industry practices. As brands think about their next
communication or participation platform, it often begins with the thought of, "What
is the next advertising campaign?"
In the traditional model, a brand would have an agency of
record, which tended to be an advertising agency that was focused on developing
television creative to bring the communication to life. In today's model, I
believe that television has a role just like out of home or radio or a Facebook
page or online advertising has a role, but it is no longer the primary driver
of creating the consumer engagement or of communicating the brand's story.
The challenge is breaking away from the mindset that says, "Let's
first develop a television campaign and then we'll figure out how to support
it." That's the model from 25 or 15 years ago-but in today's age it's really
more about thinking about what is the message and the story you want to tell
and then say, "How does this come to life in a social media footprint or in a
video format, which can be placed on television, YouTube or spread virally?" It's
stepping back and approaching the work differently, which is, for some people,
a bit of a challenge. And for some agency relationships, it's a bit of a
challenge because their business model still hasn't fully evolved to move away
from their primary revenue source: television production.
How do you make
those different channels work more closely together rather than as a waterfall
That gets into teaching the brand teams right up front to stay focused on
first articulating the idea that you want to communicate, and then creating a
participation platform. If you think of a large circle, and in the center, a
bull's eye is the idea itself and then you can break up segments of the circle
that surround it and say, "This is how the idea comes to life in various
mediums or activities or experiential programs," and it forces them to think
from the beginning how to bring the idea to life as opposed to how to transfer
the idea from TV to additional mediums. And that's where the real powerful
engagement platform is focused on trying to create consumer engagement, so it's
an engagement platform.
Would you consider
this to be a unified goal that each of the channels is participating toward?
It's a unified understanding for everyone that works for me. What I'm not
trying to do is make sure that you have equal participation of every channel.
What I'm trying to do is say, think about the idea and then think about what is
the best way to bring it to life. Because there are some programs that don't
require TV at all. There are some that can be brought to life virally through a
presence focused on social media. There are others, depending on the nature of
the story that you want to tell, that are best brought to life starting with an
emphasis on very rapid broad-based reach through television and then the other
channels will be secondary. It really depends on the message and the story you
are trying to tell behind the brand. The role of the different mediums will be
driven by the best way to bring the idea to life.
How do you use
I use it the same way I would use out-of-home or radio or television or
print in the sense that I think that digital is simply another way to engage
consumers. But it happens to be one of the more robust ways versus the other
mediums that I mentioned which are more one-way communication mediums whereas
digital, and more specifically social media allows the chance to have dialogue.
The other thing about digital is that it allows you to become more refined in
your targeting. A banner ad is essentially no more effective in my mind than an
out-of-home or a transit board, except for the fact that you can be much more
targeted in terms of who you try to create the impression with. That is more
difficult with the out-of-home or a transit board. The static nature of the
message isn't a whole lot different, but the ability to be more refined in your
target certainly is.
Importantly, the social media piece is where it really gets
powerful because that's where you can engage in a dialogue as opposed to a
one-way channel. I don't think of digital, per se, I think of different aspects
using digital technology to communicate the message. Sometimes it's via one-way
broadcast; sometimes it's engaging in a conversation.
Have you had much
success in integrating different digital marketing tactics?
Smirnoff had a very holistic approach to bringing the idea of Master of the
Mix to life. Master of the Mix was all about trying to make Smirnoff more
relevant in nightlife, specifically urban nightlife targeting African-American
consumers. So what they did was consider who the key influencer was in that
context: the DJ, they guy who sets the music and creates the theme of the
party. So we created a reality television program as a way to bring the program
to life and inserted Smirnoff into the brand program itself.
As the DJ is the hero of the story, we were in nightlife
locations where drinks were being served so we had bartenders interacting with
DJs and talking about the drinks they were making. In conjunction with that, we
set up a digital radio station where consumers could go online and download the
music tracks that the DJs were playing. This created followership through the
various DJs that were contestants on the show and who were tweeting to their
We also set up a Facebook page for the entity itself, and
tied in the Facebook pages of the various DJs who were competing in the contest.
It was a fully integrated program that went across all channels.
This is the best example I can think of where we have taken
an idea and then brought it to life. We basically created touch points in every
medium that was relevant based on our consumer target.
How is your
marketing organization structured? How do the teams work together toward
We have five teams that sit within the marketing organization: Innovation,
Brand, Consumer Planning, Portfolio Strategy and PR. When it comes to
developing campaigns, our Planning and Brand teams work together to design
those programs. To help influence and guide the process we have capability
experts that apply broader viewpoints such as our PR, Multicultural and Digital
strategy teams. Through these broader planning sessions the teams collaborate
and share data and insights to align our goals and determine the best approach.
We also bring our media team and partners into the fold early on so that we can
develop the right programs for the appropriate communication vehicles.
How do you balance
multiple goals-such as brand and direct response goals or online vs. offline
Whenever a campaign or program tries to tackle too much it can often fall
apart. We believe the best marketing approach is when we have a clear goal to
address. We don't have specific offline vs. online goals. We develop our
programs and campaigns around an idea and then determine if that idea is the
right approach for achieving our goals. If not, we slowly pull the idea apart
and rebuild it so it answers our need. Based on what that idea is we then
determine where and how best to communicate it.
How do you manage
the enormous amount of data that is generated every day?
We are very specific in how we handle consumer and market data. Primary
research data is obviously used to help generate insights. Broader consumer
data regarding industry, category, brand and/or program sentiment, among other
things, is captured according to our compliance policies, ensuring we only
review information from those of legal drinking age. Without bias or judgment,
our planners sort through the data until we find the story; not the marketing
story, the insights story. They search for what are the key findings that will
help us answer a consumer need or a brand problem.
How has integrated
marketing benefited your brand?
Our brands are social by design. This dynamic alone challenges us to always
think about where the conversations are taking place. We want our consumers to
participate and therefore we need to ensure that our marketing efforts are
present in the right areas and can help drive the conversation.
Marketers need to stop thinking about
advertising in terms of channels. That only emphasizes limitations. Consumers
don't operate in silos. There is no offline vs. online. Everything we create
can end up anywhere. Think about your objectives, make sure you have the right
insights, ground your campaigns in a solid idea and then figure out the best
communication vehicles. Once you've mapped that out, make sure you have the
right support in place. Make sure you have the social platforms needed to
amplify your message and drive advocacy.