How Diageo Made Measurement a Superpower

. July 18, 2019

The annual ANA Genius Awards, Presented by Neustar, are the industry’s most prestigious initiative for recognizing brand marketers for outstanding achievement in measurement, data and analytics. This exclusive ANA Data Analytics Center (DAC) article series profiles some of the world’s best-known brands that are recent Genius Awards winners or finalists and presents valuable lessons and best practices that helped land them in the Genius Awards winners’ circle.


Diageo – a global leader in beverage alcohol – faced a critical challenge. Relentless and growing competitive pressures meant that the company’s marketing investments would need to work harder than ever. Each marketing dollar spent would need to be measured and optimized for maximum impact.

The company had used marketing mix modeling (MMM) for years to quantify key sales drivers. And indeed, MMM proved successful at boosting marketing ROI.

But it became clear to Diageo’s marketing professionals that MMM by itself wouldn’t be nearly enough to achieve the “super results” they were seeking. They felt that way for several key reasons:

  • Lack of granularity: Under prior practices, insights were not available for individual marketing tactics, channel partners or creative.
  • Speed of insights: The company had only a very limited ability to see and act on analytical insights in near real-time to optimize campaigns “on the fly”.
  • Organizational impact: The sheer size of Diageo’s global marketing effort across multiple brands and numerous outside partners was daunting.

To dramatically improve sales impact, marketing’s approach to measurement would need a major makeover that included new ways of working with its agency partners to translate insights into faster, smarter decisions. And multi-touch attribution (MTA) would have to play a central role as well.

In order to achieve success, several high hurdles would have to be cleared:

  1. Large number of partners: In the U.S. alone, Diageo works with over 20 marketing partners for each of the 13 brands in the company’s portfolio.
  2. Disconnected partner networks: Efforts of outside marketing partners weren’t always integrated.
  3. Multiple internal stakeholders: Brand teams, Consumer Planning, Central Media, Marketing Effectiveness – all working across 13 brands – made for a complex internal adoption challenge.

Not only did Diageo need to find the right measurement approach, it also had to align internal stakeholders and outside agencies in a common mission to rework and improve marketing measurement.

From Data to Insights and Action

Finding and organizing the data needed for MTA was one early challenge. First, there were legal issues to overcome, such as allowing its media agency to release data directly to an analytic partner (including detailed media activity and costs). Diageo also suffered from a lack of robust user-level sales data – a gap that it moved quickly to fill.

To remove potential data bottlenecks and increase the speed of insight, Diageo established relationships directly with key data owners such as Facebook, Google, Pinterest and others. In addition, the marketing department moved quickly to better integrate offline and online media, and account for major drivers such as distribution, pricing, trade and seasonality.

Aligning for Measurement Results

Diageo also needed to ensure that insights could be quickly applied to campaigns in real time. So the marketing department mapped the route from insight to implementation and identified key decision makers along the way. This exercise produced several key measurement process and implementation decisions:

  • The Marketing Effectiveness team was given overall ownership of the effort.
  • The Central Media team was designated a key stakeholder, as they would ultimately draft recommendations, and were best positioned to clearly understand downstream activation
 needs.
  • Consumer Planning and Brand Teams were aligned as consultants in situations where their particular domain expertise was needed.

With over 50 stakeholders from various teams across Diageo and its agency partners, it was imperative to set a clear vision and communicate it broadly. So marketing also created and held workshops and training sessions to drive alignment on measurement. These sessions helped identify new media KPIs and reporting methods, as well as adjustments to overall media planning processes.

Delivering Positive Results

Within six months, Diageo evaluated over $50 million in media support, resulting in deep insight across 95%+ of all media spend. In one instance, changes made in response to the new analytic insights resulted in a short-term volume lift of about 4% in key states. This was a huge win since sales of the target brand had actually been declining in many states prior to the new effort.

With adoption of MTA, stakeholder realignment and other changes to its measurement approach, Diageo can now:

  • Measure media impact far sooner than was possible with MMM alone.
  • Better understand media performance by channel, partner and creative.
  • Gather insights on media impact by day. This helps predict holiday sales spikes and can provide prescriptive daily gross rating point (GRP) recommendations.
  • Quickly obtain load-balancing recommendations across Facebook properties.
  • Execute campaign-level optimization for paid search.

Seven Lessons Learned

Diageo offers these seven lessons for other brands pursuing a journey to richer, more holistic analytics and analytic adoption:

  1. It’s vital to clearly identify measurement’s mission and vision, and communicate it broadly, both internally and externally.
  2. It’s important to be flexible. What everyone thinks is the “ideal” approach might not turn out that way, so be ready to pivot.
  3. Don’t listen to naysayers. Provide context and transparency to build trust (What are we doing? Why are we doing it? How will we get it done? What do we expect to change? How will others be involved?)
And never underestimate the importance of training and education.
  4. Change management is challenging, but critical, and should be addressed early on, and reinforced continuously.
  5. Clear storytelling of results is vital. Easily digestible output ensures that everyone understands insights and recommendations, and what to do next. Be sure to tailor results to individual stakeholder needs.
  6. Getting everyone in the same room helps to ensure that recommended approaches are holistic, with multiple perspectives considered.
  7. As stakeholders change, bringing new individuals into the process quickly is important. This is best done by:
    1. Having clear and concise documentation of the methodology, process and learning to date
    2. Ensuring that everyone feels they can ask questions without being judged
    3. Establishing open lines of communication among all stakeholders.

With its concentrated measurement makeover, Diageo was able to fast track its ambition to drive business growth and make every marketing dollar count.

For more information about the ANA Genius Awards, Presented by Neustar visit the Genius Awards website. The 2019 Genius Awards finalists will be announced Sept. 9-12 at the ANA Data & Measurement Conference. Winners will be announced at the ANA Masters of Marketing Annual Conference on October 2.

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Category: Adoption, Articles, Case Studies, Data Story Telling, How-To, Impact, Innovation, Organizational

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