VEVEY, SWITZERLAND — Like many other multinational food and beverage companies, Nestle S.A. is experimenting in the digital world with advertising. The company is finding the digital strategy employed may depend upon the area of the world where it is used.
|Mark Schneider, c.e.o. of Nestle|
“The way we live and work with the internet is quite nuanced as you go from country to country,” said Mark Schneider, chief executive officer of the Vevey-based company, in a Sept. 26 investor seminar. “The Asian way of using the internet is quite different from the European or American one, and hence, what we’re committed to is developing the tools, very aggressively demanding from our management teams that they use these tools, but also being flexible when it comes to how exactly they are being applied in each market.”
Wan Ling Martello, executive vice-president and zone director of Asia, Oceania and Sub-Saharan Africa, gave examples of how it is targeting customers personally in China and Japan.
|Wan Ling Martello, executive vice-president and zone director of Asia, Oceania and Sub-Saharan Africa for Nestle|
“Alibaba has about 460 million consumers on their database, at least as of the last official count,” she said. “So based on their shopper behavior, some are tagged as coffee consumers. Now we, at Nestle, have our own profiles of consumers of Nescafe drinkers in China. So now we’re matching our own data with that of Ali in the data bank. Our targeting has become a lot more effective, in fact, around three times more effective.”
Program banners on computer screens are generated automatically from different components, she said. If consumer profiling suggests a consumer prefers milky coffee, the technology will make sure a milky coffee product appears on the program banner.
“The levels of personalization is just extraordinary,” Ms. Martello said. “This campaign has more than 70 banners in total. So put together, it adds up to a highly targeted campaign, a highly personalized communication creating more impact more efficiently.”
A new Nestle Wellness program in Japan allows subscribers to provide information about their health conditions and then receive matcha green tea capsules for their Nescafe Dolce Gusto. The capsules are fortified to meet the person’s nutritional needs.
“We launched this in March on TV and soon had to pull the ads because we reached capacity,” Ms. Martello said. “While we were off the air, the number of subscribers grew by 50% just by word of mouth alone. So far, we have 15,000 subscribers. The roll-out has far exceeded our expectations.”
She said four elements show how digital is enabling growth.
“First, data is at the center of everything,” Ms. Martello said. “Second, the blending of e-commerce in all forms of communication. Third, it's the convergence of on-line and off-line, and last but not least, analog still matters. It really matters.”
The personalized approach to reaching consumers digitally could work in many of areas of the world.“When it comes to communication, this is the first time in history where at scale you can really have a one-to-one communication, two-way street with a consumer,” Mr. Schneider said. “The old model of what I’d call push advertising — where you develop a product and content, you then try to select media, but roughly hit that consumer, and then you hope the message arrives and that consumer will act in a certain way — that model is fading fast. What you can do these days, once you have a consumer's phone number or e-mail address, you can really target specifically to the needs of that person.”