WSJ on the Fast Start Dashboard
26 October 2020

Analytics platforms developed by marketers’ agencies collate information on everything from foot traffic to local pandemic restrictions.

Originally published in The Wall Street Journal by Sahil Patel.


Marketers are looking at more data, more often as they try to navigate the unpredictable developments of 2020.

Spirits maker Bacardi Ltd. and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz have turned in part to a dashboard of analytics, for example, that was introduced in May by their media agency, Omnicom Group Inc.’s OMD Worldwide. It pulls in 35 data sources across 30 markets on subjects like media consumption habits, ad rates, consumer sentiment, foot traffic, shopping behaviors, government restrictions put in place to fight the coronavirus pandemic and fluctuations in local Covid-19 cases and mortality rates.

Bacardi used what it found in the dashboard to shift marketing dollars toward its ready-to-drink Bacardi Rum cocktails last summer as stay-at-home restrictions eased and people became more willing to venture outside, according to the company. Bacardi, which spent 65% of its planned media budget in the U.S. to support the product’s launch in May, increased its planned spend to the same percentage in June and July—from as low as 10% of its budget in June and 0% in July.

“Covid is not changing the substance of your business, but changing the way your business reacts to the changed context,” said John Burke, global chief marketing officer at the spirits maker, which sells brands such as Grey Goose and Bombay Sapphire.

Others have developed data-based tools or services to inform decisions related to the coronavirus.

Mercedes-Benz is seeking data to answer questions on customer behavior and economic activity in different regions, said Natanael Sijanta, director of global marketing communications at the German auto maker.

“Is consumer mobility increasing at the same time as interest in the category in a given market? How does that align to what survey data is telling us about pent-up demand there? What types of content are people consuming more of, and how are prices fluctuating?” Mr. Sijanta said.



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