Alibaba’s CMO on why it’s ramping up its pitch to brands with a Kantar-powered insights tool

The new proposition will essentially bulk up Alibaba's ad platform, which it calls its 'uni marketing framework'

E-commerce giant Alibaba upping its charm offensive on advertisers through a partnership with Kantar that will see it pool its own behavioural and brand insights with the research firm’s data.

Speaking to The Drum, chief marketing officer Chris Tung said the partnership came amid a “clear demand” from advertisers to “quantify and qualify” progress and effectiveness.

The collaboration was announced on Wednesday (20 June) at Cannes Lions. Tung said it will bring together Alibaba’s marketing KPI framework with Kantar’s portfolio of KPIs, with brands able to access the combined metrics via an newly developed platform.

Alibaba, which boasts some 600 million mobile users and has around 2000 brands advertising within its walls in China, said the platform will host three marketing insights and measurement tools.

These include: ‘brand measurement and diagnosis’ which highlights real-time trends for advertisers; ‘brand activation guidance and planning’ a feature that lets marketers quickly target the right audiences using Kantar insights; and ‘performance measurement and optimisation’ which triggers both ROI data and real-time measurement that can influence dynamic creative

It has already tested the new tools in China over the past six months with 59 brands across eight categories including FMCG and beauty.

Tung claimed the combination of Alibaba’s “unparalleled understanding” of Chinese consumers was “transforming brand and product loyalty” globally.

“Together we are creating the most powerful and advanced framework to differentiate brands and build growth,” he added.

The new proposition will bulk up Alibaba's ad platform, which it calls its 'Uni-marketing framework'. The system leverages shopper data to let brands target users online.

Tung pitched the marketing framework for the first time to ad execs at Cannes in 2017, offering a more collaborative relationship to brands than the one they might have with a walled garden like Amazon or Facebook.

Discussing the challenge of getting chief marketing officers to understand Alibaba's shift from e-commerce player to marketing ecosystem, Tung said that over the past twelve months it had made a lot of headway.

"It's still a challenge, but it's less of a challenge vesus last year," he noted, adding that some brands had shifted "at least half of their budgets" into the firm's brand building proposition over that timeframe.

The group also recently invested in blockchain technology to improve the integrity of its digital supply chain and to protect product authenticity, after coming under fire for stocking counterfeit goods.

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