PepsiCo martech leader reveals game-changing marketing strategies

PepsiCo martech leader reveals game-changing marketing strategies

In a special edition of the Thinking Caps podcast, Tim Glomb, VP of Content and Data at Cheetah Digital, sits down with Chris Muscutt, Head of MarTech at PepsiCo, to discuss the ins and outs of relationship marketing. They share their thoughts on buzzwords and using zero- and first-party data and technology to drive effective strategies.

Chris Muscutt, Head of MarTech at PepsiCo, has had an interesting career path. In fact, his marketing career began as an air traffic controller – “My job was to figure out how to pick up planes from radar and then feed them into a central data model, so they could be tracked and communicated with. Unknowingly, at the time I was in the prerequisites of marketing,” says Tim Glomb, vice president of content and data at Cheetah Digital, in a special issue Thinking Caps podcast.

From there, Chris moved to global energy and petrochemical company Shell where he was instrumental in the company’s digital transformation. Today at PepsiCo, Chris says he’s in a similar role, figuring out how to best use marketing technology to continually “surprise and delight” consumers.

Leverage intelligence in a cookie-free world

For years, brands have perfected personalization strategies that resonate with consumers and make them feel like individuals. For many B2C brands like PepsiCo, classic personalization meant incorporating simple forms of data such as email, names, addresses or recent purchases into outbound channel communications to ensure touchpoints were seen as timely, relevant and contextual.

Marketing personalization tools rushed onto the scene more than 15 years ago to help marketers communicate more effectively with consumers across digital channels such as web, social and mobile. These tools help marketers test different colors, icons, images and offers on websites to optimize the consumer journey.

However, they rarely offered any significant psychographic information about visitors such as their interests, hopes or needs. The cookie apocalypse and browser-based targeting solutions further add to the challenge of getting to know users, and Google has announced plans to phase out third-party cookies totally.

“Marketers need to look at all the different signals they’re getting from consumers, even the more subtle ones, about how third-party cookies are breaking down,” says Chris. “They need to prioritize the data that is useful in their marketing strategies and then focus on developing those data collection capabilities. With this, marketers can begin to build effective strategies to improve the customer journey.”

Despite the challenges, getting personalization right remains a huge opportunity for brands big and small. According to McKinseypersonalization as a strategy has the potential to create more than $3 trillion in new value.

However, being able to tap into this potential requires a new mindset and next-generation marketing tools and solutions to succeed. These tools go beyond anonymous, digital testing, targeting, and optimization to focus on the ongoing value exchange and customer engagement lifecycle using first- and zero-party data.

For maximum impact, brands must invest and rally three game-changing marketing technologiesincluding:

  1. Real-time personalization: This allows brands to learn more about consumers to deliver a better experience every time. It’s about understanding what the consumer intends to do at that particular moment and includes tracking web interactions as well as mobile SMS, web, apps, social, point of sale, etc. This personalization strategy ensures that real-time data is captured from these touchpoints and fed back to the platform to add to the consumer profile.
  2. Travel orchestration: Travel should be simple; think about triggered events or a multifaceted approach that evolves over time based on consumer behavior and preferences. Personalized customer journeys lead to increased interactions, increasing the likelihood of purchase and conversion.
  3. Intelligent Offers: Modern marketers are redefining supply management. Harnessing the power of machine learning and analytics to score content and determine not just the right offer, but the best set of offers, timing, and optimal context and channel is something that can be largely automated. This can lead to efficiency and effectiveness.

Solving data dilemmas

Large organizations like PepsiCo have mountains of data, and it can be difficult to find and make sense of it all. While the process is improving as technology advances, Chris says, it’s still a struggle to ensure insight. And he is not alone. According to a Survey of CDP Institute members63% of marketers can’t gather aggregate customer data. even more, Gartner research reveals that 58% of marketers say integrating customer data is a major obstacle in their omnichannel strategy.

And that’s the problem. With consumers empowered to engage with a brand whenever and however they want – and often, unpredictable – it’s crucial that marketers understand them in order to build a personalized relationship. Why? Because personalized connections lead to better results such as increased engagement, customer loyalty and brand advocacy.

The solution, however, is actually quite simple. Brands must have a unique, accessible view of the consumer. Customer data resides in systems such as analytics, email, mobile, campaign management, point-of-sale and social media – areas that were not designed to be integrated. Overcoming this challenge of disparate systems can be as simple as a customer data platform (CDP), which is CDP institute defines as “packaged software that creates a persistent, unique user database accessible to other systems”.

CDP does more than aggregate all data, it provides marketers with a single, accessible and actionable view that can be used to drive meaningful engagement with consumers.

What differentiates Cheetah EDP from a traditional CDP is that it provides marketers with a holistic view of the customer, machine learning, native omnichannel touchpoints and solutions that drive customer acquisition, loyalty and retention. Together, these capabilities provide marketers with solutions to create value across the customer lifecycle, from acquiring customers to seeing them become brand advocates.

“Buzz” about personalization

To stay competitive in today’s signal-saturated world, marketers must deliver relevant, personalized content throughout the customer journey. According to the new eConsultancy report, in partnership with Cheetah Digital, entitled Digital Consumer Trends Index 2022: Consumer Attitudes and Trends in Personalization, Privacy, Messaging, Advertising and Brand Loyalty, UK consumers reward brands that prioritize personalisation. More than half of respondents said they would trade personal and preference data to feel part of a brand community.

At the same time, there has been a nearly 50% increase in UK consumers feeling frustrated by a brand that doesn’t recognize their unique wants and needs in its personalization strategies. Furthermore, real-time offers and content can be 10 times more effective than traditional outbound marketing campaigns.

With all the buzz, Tim says the term personalization is getting a lot of buzz these days, especially as consumers are more privacy-conscious than ever before. However, he is not convinced that marketers really understand the meaning of personalization. And Chris agrees.

“There’s definitely room for marketers to improve their efforts,” says Chris. “Making things relevant is one thing, but true personalization is a whole other journey. There may be pockets of both, but they are not the same thing. This is where the gaps arise – is it personalization, contextual marketing or travel planning? Many brands still have a long way to go before they achieve true personalization.”

According to Gartner, 80% of marketers find it difficult to get ROI from personalization. A key reason for this struggle is data – 27% of marketers believe it is the main obstacle to personalization, revealing their weaknesses in data collection, integration and protection. Personalization refers to data: aggregated, streamed, structured or unstructured. It must be in one place to be aggregated, analyzed and activated.

While there’s certainly a lot of buzz around relationship marketing and personalization, it’s important for marketers to cut through the noise, leverage technology, and get to the heart of what really matters—connecting and delighting consumers.

Listen to the full Cheetah Digital Thinking Caps podcast with Chris Muscutt, Head of MarTech at PepsiCo here.

About Cheetah Digital

Cheetah Digital is a provider of cross-channel customer engagement solutions for the modern retailer. The Cheetah Digital Customer Engagement Suite enables marketers to create personalized experiences, multi-channel messaging and loyalty strategies, supported by an engagement data platform that can adapt to the changing demands of today’s consumers. Many of the world’s top brands, including Starbucks, Hilton, Neiman Marcus, Levi’s and Williams-Sonoma trust Cheetah Digital to help them grow revenue, build lasting customer relationships and deliver a unique value exchange across the customer lifecycle. To learn more, visit

Are you interested in the world’s leading brands personally discussing such topics? Learn more about World Digital Marketing Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America and Singapore.

Tags: Cheetah Digital, Pepsi

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