Bonin Bough’s digital lessons for marketers

The Mondelēz marketer shares lessons from the front lines of digital marketing

BoninInnovation isn’t just for startups. To succeed today, companies of every size have to innovate, examine trends and test new waters.

That’s the message Mondelēz’s Bonin Bough, vice-president of global media and consumer engagement, will deliver on Aug. 21 at Grow, an annual business conference in Vancouver (this year it’s in Whistler).

Ahead of the talk, Marketing caught up with Bough to talk about why big brands should experiment, the power of partnerships and why Mondelēz beefed up its digital media budget by 13% last year.

Experiment now. Don’t “wait and see”

Big brands often wait for others to test new technologies and ways of doing business before risking their capital on something unproven. Bough takes the opposite approach. By creating programs like Mobile Futures, which pairs brands like Oreo, Trident and Halls with startups, Mondelēz has brought the culture of entrepreneurship and experimentation right into the company.

“By encouraging our own marketers to challenge themselves and take risks, we are demonstrating to the outside world an entirely new level of innovation that can be derived from a company of our size,” he says.

“I think it is important not to be hesitant to embrace emerging media and trends, or to rethink how you’re using traditional and digital channels.”

Find partners that can teach you new things

Great partners lead to great programs. For its social programs and mobile, Mondelēz has partners big and small, from startups in its Mobile Futures program to Blink Studio – a partnership with the social news outlet Now This News – and big social players like Twitter.

Each partner brings a different expertise to the table. Twitter, Bough says, powers the company’s real-time capability through “analytics, instant engagement and global scale.”

Blink Studios gives its brands the capacity to jump on news items and trends while they’re hot. “The foundation of the concept is fundamentally embedded in a ‘news room’ format – a new wave digital news room – allowing brands to plug in and react in real time – with engaging, creative and newsworthy video content,” Bough says.

“We can foreseeably release a piece of content in reaction to a breaking news story within 10 minutes.”

Doing great digital marketing means investing greatly in digital

If digital programs are to succeed, they need investment behind them. Globally, Mondelēz now spends 18% of its media budget on digital, up 13% from last year. Bough says this investment is a big part of what’s led to the company’s social marketing hits.

“A lot of companies are hesitant to invest in social and digital platforms, but there are many compelling reasons why it makes sense,” he says. For starters, digital is the where today’s consumers are. It also let’s marketers influence at the point of purchase, Bough says.

He’s found digital has twice the return on investment of traditional media. “During my time at Mondelez International, I’ve seen first-hand the benefits of investing in digital and social,” he says.

Social is part of a media ecosystem

Social doesn’t exist on it’s own. There’s almost always another medium or experience tied to social marketing, whether it’s a TV broadcast or a live event.  Oreo’s famed Dunk In The Dark tweet, for instance, was closely tied to all media about the Super Bowl – and the live event.

“Although this is heralded as a real time success, there is so much more we could have done,” Bough says. “After all, single posts and channels don’t work alone. They’re part of a much larger media ecosystem where channels work together, and that’s something that companies and brands can leverage.”

The same applies to measurement. “To measure the impact of this post, we couldn’t just look at how the Super Bowl amplified our message. We also had to consider the reverse – how the OREO tweet amplified the Super Bowl,” Bonin says.

“When you measure things holistically and really evaluate how channels work together, you get a much more robust picture of the impact of your media.

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