"We’ll see digital at the heart of our brand activations" reveals SABMiller Europe’s head of digital enablement Gavin Marshall
SABMiller Europe’s head of digital enablement Gavin Marshall discusses the company’s use of digital marketing, the Big Data issue and how mobile/tablet strategies differ on an international basis ahead of judging this year’s DADI Awards. Marketing restrictions around alcohol promotion are strict – how strict would you say they are online in comparison with traditional marketing in the UK? They are certainly more complex but given the sector in which SABMiller operates, we have a responsibility to use every tool at our disposal in order to focus exposure to our brand messaging on an audience that is above the legal age of drinking. In fact, the self-regulation that we apply in the digital space is considerably tighter than the law demands. Age gates across all our owned and social properties are mandatory and bought online media is strictly targeted to an adult audience. We also invest considerable time and resources into ensuring that social content is both responsible and adult oriented. Is there one particular online platform that you feel SAB Miller uses most effectively when it comes to consumer engagement? Given SABMiller’s strength in developing markets such as Latin America and Africa, it’s not surprising that mobile has been a key enabler for driving consumer engagement. In South Africa, we deployed Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and SMS voting mechanics to give consumers the chance to participate in our Be The Coach programme. Football fans could select players and make tactical decisions during a live Carling Cup game between two of the country’s biggest teams. More than 10 million mobile votes were cast which then provided the basis for an on-going CRM programme. Data has become a real issue for brands – how do you see the Big Data problem being solved? Be absolutely clear on the KPIs that you need to measure and focus on the data that really matters. At the same time, don’t succumb to an over-reliance on data alone to inform decisions and neglect the crucial importance of human intuition and interpretation. How can we expect to see SAB Miller develop its digital marketing activity in the coming months/year? Fewer digital campaigns and more digitally enabled programmes. We’ll see digital at the heart of our brand activations rather than an associated tactic or channel. Does your digital strategy differ at all when it comes to mobile or tablet? Rather than a digital strategy, we have strategies for a digitally enabled world. In Latin America and Africa, mobile is the key device through which we connect, converse and transact with our consumers, customers and shoppers. In addition, since the on-premise (bars and pubs) accounts for a very large proportion of our global sales it makes sense to use mobile in order to drive traffic and preference among consumers while they are out and about. What do you hope to see from the DADI entries this year? Fresh thinking based on genuine insights that has delivered a proven return on objective. More information on the DADI awards can be found on the official website.