If we asked you to name your top five favourite chocolate bars, chances are that at least one of them would come from Sean Salem’s portfolio. As Media Lead, Confectionary at Mars, Sean takes charge of brand marketing investment for well known treats like Snickers, Maltesers and Mars Bar.
But keeping chocolate top of mind is more complicated than it sounds in a rapidly fragmenting media landscape. “Our total category for confectionery is…everyone essentially.” says Salem. “Everyone needs the opportunity to remember us and we need to be present in all repertoires.” So how did Mars double ROI by focusing on 15 second video formats?
The audience is…everyone
In the past, broad reach could be counted on from linear TV, but Mars is keenly aware that a television audiences are evolving. “Traditionally (and we’re not alone in this in the CPG category), we’ve favoured television buys, but we know television audiences are changing, so we’re extending our reach into younger demographics with online video and social media.” explains Salem.
Salem confirms that Mars has taken a data first approach to marketing investment for a long time. And Australia is a strategic market for running tests and building confidence in marketing strategies. “We’re very lucky in Australia; there are a strong range of investment options available. We get the opportunity to try things here that help to set a template for the rest of the world.”
So as the confectionary audience has scattered, Mars has been working hard in Australia to understand how to meet the audience where they are. “We’re a data-led business and we do a lot of testing – sales lift, channel mix, copy and broader consumer testing too, but we really wanted to understand how our total media investment was performing,” says Salem. So about 12 months ago, Salem and the Mars team turned to Mutinex GrowthOS market mix modelling to help them uncover some answers.
Mars doubles ROI by focusing on 15 second video formats
Since then, Mars has been using Mutinex GrowthOS to run small, but frequent tests across their media mix. Salem explains that although the ultimate value from market mix modeling will come from looking at the full investment picture, the team are currently finding their legs using a structured program of test and learn across their marketing investments – taking on variables like formats, creative and targeting with ROI analysis to find quick wins that will add up to significant incremental value.
“Take online video,” says Salem, “through our standard metrics we had settled on a balance of running 6 and 15 second placements. Our metrics told us that the combination we had was doing a good job of balancing reach objectives, with manageable cost. When we looked at the ROI analysis in GrowthOS though, it was clear that the 15 second format was actually delivering slightly more for us on that basis. So we ran a test. For one month, we weighted our investment more towards the 15 second format.” By any measure, the results have been outstanding, with revenue doubling on that one placement alone. The team aims to run at least one experiment per month.
Salem says that Mars has also benefited from the broader view provided by market mix modelling, even as the marketing team focuses on wringing incremental value from specific buys. “There are several other factors built into the platform (that influence our investment performance) that to be honest, probably wouldn’t have been on our radar until we conducted this type of analysis. But what we really wanted was to understand where we can pull levers to drive more efficiency and effectiveness in our ad spend on specific channels to get more from that. That’s what we’re getting out of GrowthOS.”