Diageo bids to ‘maximise online sales’ with newly created role

Diageo is accelerating efforts to pull e-commerce into the heart of its marketing with the appointment of Ralph Lauren marketer Marco Preda to a newly-created senior digital role.

He joins the business as general manager for digital and e-commerce and will shape the company’s pan-European direct-to-consumer strategy. This will see him work to unify Diageo’s digital activity around the path to purchase, coordinating a consistent customer experience across mobile, social media and video alongside managing the company’s www.thebar.com portal.

The site, which launched in 2013 as a resource and sales channel for its brands, has provided a test bed for the company’s initial forays into e-commerce. Diageo has been impressed with the popularity of the portal to date and views it as an example of how to link marketing for its brands closer to sales objectives.

During his stint at Ralph Lauren, Preda is said to have established the fashion house’s European digital strategy and launched its e-commerce platform in 15 countries. He also implemented the brand’s customer experience, direct to consumer operations and multichannel integration.

It will be these skills Diageo will hope to mine as it looks to exploit how online impacts offline sales.

Preda will be judged on how much he can close the gap between the two in light of the company’s admission to The Drum last year that it has not capitalised on the digital shopping revolution. It is one of the marketing wrongs chief marketing officer Syl Saller has been trying to right since she was appointed to the role in 2013. In the period since, Diageo’s e-commerce investments have increased through shoppable ads, an Amazon tie-up and a partnership with men’s fashion retailer Mr Porter.

John Kennedy, president of Diageo Europe, said: “We are constantly seeking new ways to innovate and to showcase and sell our brands in the most exciting, new, and convenient ways possible. The digital world opens up new opportunities for us and we are really excited about the role Marco will play in shaping the future of the company.”

The push for online sales feeds into the company’s attempts to elevate the role of distribution in its marketing strategies.

The business, which is trying to overcome slow sales in many of its key markets, is trying to give its products more prominence behind bars and on shelves in order to get them in front of more people. It means a greater focus on sampling and in-store activations for brands such as Smirnoff and Captain Morgan moving forward.

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