Russell Goldsmith
Russell Goldsmith 31 March 2022

Podcast – Interview with Industry Experts on Martech Innovation and Efficiency

The second episode in a our ‘Marketing Futures’ series of the csuite podcast, produced in partnership with SAP. Guests from Kellogg Company, SPAR, India, and Emarsys, part of SAP, talk MarTech innovation and efficiency, the challenges that brands face to engage the customers of today and the tools and strategies needed to retain the customers of tomorrow.

In the second episode of Marketing Futures, that we produced in partnership with SAP, we discuss the role of MarTech in the growth of e-commerce and bring you the latest insights from industry experts.

We focus on MarTech innovation and efficiency, the challenges that brands face to engage the customers of today and the tools and strategies needed to retain the customers of tomorrow.

The engagement between customer and company, whether B2B or B2C, is a key reason why companies spent $1.4tn on digital transformation efforts in 2020, according to IDC’s Worldwide Digital Transformation Spending Guide.

Graham Barrett was joined online by Joe Harper, E-commerce Marketing Manager, Western Europe at Kellogg Company, Shekhar Sharan Mishra, Head of E-commerce, SPAR, India, and Sara Richter, CMO at Emarsys, part of SAP.


Joe began by explaining that turning a box of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes from the supermarket shelf onto a digital shelf, is complex.

He said Kellogg’s is great at making food, designing brands and packaging, and getting a case of food delivered to a supermarket distribution centre, ready for the start of shipments. Within that there are essentially three elements, but when digitalising a product, this becomes more like 200 elements.

He explained that with every market in Europe needing their own version of that data, this becomes an incredibly complex project.

Shekhar also thinks its complex, and that things have changed post-Covid, as they’ve seen a tremendous change in customer behaviour, with customers migrating more towards online and omni shopping.

Shekhar pointed out that attracting new customers and driving repeat sales is a challenge because competition has intensified, with everybody pouncing on any given opportunities to solve the market. He thinks staying relevant has become difficult, as a single USP is served by three or four companies, making it crucial to differentiate yourself from the rest.

He explained when it comes to customer convenience, it’s about customising customer experience, and with a lot of data to consume, they need AI, and ML.

Shekhar added that currently customers are spoilt for choice, ‘what earlier was luxury has become hygiene right now’.

Sara thinks it’s an exciting and challenging time to be in marketing. She shared some stats by Gartner that showed the average marketing budget has dropped since 2020. In 2020, it was an average of 11% of revenue. In 2021, it’s down to 6% of revenue, a record low.

She said these stats haven’t changed workloads, in fact workloads have gone up, as has the increased pressure to deliver business results.

Highlighting that time is critical, Sara said that all these Martech systems are making marketers time more valuable because they have so much less of it, but this only works when used correctly.

She touched on some recent research they conducted, which showed that 41% of marketers lose time through switching between different Martech systems, and 35% sadly feel they’re wasting time with technology that could be their saviour, when they’re time and resource crunched.

Sara highlighted that the key is balance, by using the right Martech in the right way, because if the wrong things are thrown at the problem, goals won’t be achieved.

When thinking about Martech, it’s important to think about systems that will tie back to business outcomes, and if the technology meets those criteria, then embrace it, she said.

Data Responsibility

Sara explained that when it comes to brands convincing customers that it’s worth them sharing their data, it’s not just their data, it’s the first party data. Which is what the crux of the argument is around, and the crux of the pain that many marketers are feeling.

She said marketers must think about acquiring first party data from their customers as a value exchange. There is some to give and some to take, and that means sometimes they need to drop the transactional mindset that every interaction with your customer is going to result in a transaction.

She said some things to think about are loyalty schemes, VIP access, building clubs, communities, and trying to give your customers every excuse to engage in a positive way with your brand.

Joe added that the reality is that most of their retail platforms or a lot of them, still have work to do, to provide that right level of data to them, as the third party, to support our investment opportunities.

He said this doesn’t necessarily need to be the first party data element. It could be as simple as website mapping, heat mapping, allowing them the ability to do A/B testing, giving them visibility on metrics beyond just sales and conversion to help them truly understand the journey of the shopper.

Shekhar agreed with Joe, that the retailers have more visibility into the preference of the customer, and they use it smartly to negotiate with brands.

He said, it’s all about personalisation, how can they make the perfect recommendation to the customer without transgressing the boundaries of privacy and data sharing?

Future Predictions

Joe thinks immediacy and q-commerce are on their roadmap. In their portfolio, of cereal, cereal snacks, and the Pringles brand, cereal is a planned purchase, whereas Pringles, their biggest brand, is far more impulse driven and is perhaps more suitable to be pushed within the quick commerce environment.

He said the likes of Adidas and fashion retailers are more likely to target, re target and re personalise ads, based on consumer footprints on their website, but for Kellogg’s, that’s not the case.

Sara said with all the challenges the last few years have brought, one of the exciting things has been to watch how online and digital has completely changed and how it’s continuing to change businesses.

She said she finds Martech endlessly exciting, for every cycle they go through there’s another way of thinking about using the data, and the exciting thing is bringing innovation to that and to their engagements with their customers.

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