What It Means to Be a Modern Marketer
Episode #024: Matt Pritchard, VP of Digital Acceleration at Campbell Soup Company
Episode #024: Matt Pritchard, VP of Digital Acceleration at Campbell Soup Company
We all know that marketing has changed tremendously and continues to evolve on what seems to be an almost weekly basis. But, how many times have you thought about how you need to change as a marketer to keep up with this evolution? If you’re a marketing leader, have you given any thought to how the makeup of your team might need to change to accommodate the shifts happening in marketing today? These are topics that should be on our minds constantly as we strive to excel in marketing and become modern marketers. In this episode of Mobile Matters, we talk to the VP of Digital Acceleration at Campbell Soup Company, Matt Pritchard, about what it means to be a modern marketer today, why you need to put your customer at the heart of our brand, and how not every brand needs to implement a voice strategy.
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Stephanie Cox: I'm Stephanie Cox in this is Mobile Matters.Today I'm joined by Matt Pritchard. Matt is the VP of Digital Acceleration at Campbell Soup Company where his role is to lead the implementation of the digital marketing strategy that's focused on driving acceleration to enable Campbell Soup to become a modern marketing organization. Prior to joining Campbell Soup, Matt led the digital marketing team in GSK consumer Healthcare. He's also previously held digital roles at Kellogg, Tesco, Wanadoo and Prudential. In this episode Matt and I talk a lot about what it means to actually be a modern market or today, why you need to really put the customer at the heart of your brand, and how voice skills might turn into the wasteland we’ve all previously seen with mobile apps. And make sure you stick around until the end where I’ll give my recap and talk takeaways so that you can not only think about mobile differently, but implemented effectively. Welcome to the show Matt.
You have a really impressive background in some of the world's biggest brands. Can you talk to me a little about how you got started in digital marketing?
Matt Pritchard: Yeah, when you do that introduction and it takes me back 19 years in about 30 seconds. For me, I first started when I was at Tesco, which is a UK retail company, and we just launched Tesco.com and I was working for the financial services arm of the business, Tesco Personal Finance. And my role was an Internet Marketing Manager and I got that role off the back of some work we'd done with our stores, around launching email and the Internet. And I just got hooked by the Internet at that point and the word digital didn't exist because it was purely online at that point. And my first role with Tesco Personal Finance was to take a Website which purely allows you to print a PDF and then apply offline to a transactional website. So we built online applications for credit cards, loans, for pet insurance, etc.
Stephanie Cox: So talk to me a little bit about the past 19 years, how have you seen marketing change and what has really been the biggest thing driving that change?
Matt Pritchard: I think to be honest with you, Stephanie, I don't think marketing at its core has changed. It's about trying to find the consumer insight, how best to take that insight, and then create engaging ways to talk to your potential consumers or your existing consumers. But, what has changed is the channels and the way that brands can interact with consumers. And that's the most exciting part of it. If you think, going back 100 years everything was billboards, posters, newspaper articles, magazines and then you had the advent of radio and television, and now cable television and satellite television. Do you think about what we've got now there's just so many ways to engage with consumers and it's really exciting. With that excitement comes the biggest challenge because, being a marketer in 2019, I would argue is harder than it was in 2010, 2000, or even 1980,70 and going back and beyond. Just because there's more channels doesn't make it easier, it makes that the opportunities endless.
Stephanie Cox: I completely agree. I do feel like, thinking back to my career, I've been doing this for 15 years and I probably didn't think this at the time, but now I'm like I had it so easy 15 years ago compared to what the world looks like today. And all the challenges that you have, in terms of, trying to message directly to your consumers when they're more distracted than ever, and all the different channels that seem to keep popping up almost every day.
Matt Pritchard: Yeah, it's tough being a modern marketer again, whilst it is a challenge. Just think about the skill set a marketer needs to have now compared to five years ago and ten years ago. The pace is massive. But I have a core belief that my job is to help the organization become a modern marketing machine and I help create a pool of modern marketers that are, as a debt to data management and data strategy as they offer consumer insight and understanding, as well as leveraging the technology tools that exist. I think that I know a modern marketer needs to really be a conductor of an orchestra and use the subject matter experts around him as is his instrument. So he doesn't need to know that the in-depth workings of SEO, for example, but what he needs to understand or she needs to understand is how SEO can help their overall engagement with the consumer or how it can help offset other costs. So they can reinvest the money into other channels.
Stephanie Cox: As the VP of Digital Acceleration, I love that that's your title and that's really what you're charged with. Can you talk to me a little bit about how you think about acceleration at Campbell Soup and what that means for you and your team?
Matt Pritchard: I've been saying this since probably 2002 is I'll be successful when the word digital doesn't get called out separately. But I think as I look back and reflect I think we use the word digital to provoke a change. So you overemphasize the change needed to gain traction. For me, I think the biggest change we've got to deliver is to set out a direction and clarity of where we're going and use the acceleration model as a way to test and learn new things. Because over those last 20 years I've been doing this, the one thing that is also consistent is that budgets aren't going up, yet the channels to communicate are. So we've got to be really smart. And the way I think about acceleration is, what are we trying to achieve with the consumer journey? And then from there how can I then when I can identify moments that matter and use my dollars and attention and resources to interject, where it really makes a difference. Because most brands can't afford to activate across the entire journey, therefore, you've got to be really selective. So, again, if I take the word digital out, it's about understanding the consumer better than anyone else. And it's about understanding the ways I could engage her or him in the moments that matter using the tools and technology they exist. And sometimes that may mean no digital. And other times it may mean all digital, but it's got to be relevant to what we're trying to achieve to deliver the desired outcome. And then, understand where it fits on the consumer journey.
Stephanie Cox: So what do you think about how you joined, about almost two years ago at Campbell Soup and really what you're doing is accelerating innovation. How do you balance integrating innovation with such a historic brand like Campbell, that people have known for such a long time?
Matt Pritchard: Yes. Good question. The thing that really excites me about this role, the fact of the matter is, if you if you take Campbell's.. It's a pioneer of innovation over the last hundred and fifty years, this is our 150th year. So my role really is to help the brands maintain that innovation and relevance in today's age. So, it's no different than what we've been doing for the hundred and fifty years we've been around. What's different is the channels that we're innovating against. So, for me, it's really exciting to be able to blend the heritage, value, and history of the brand like Campbell's which includes Pepperidge Farm, and Snyder's of Hanover, Pacific Foods and bring them in today's modern age to view them as consumers, as hyper relevant and an innovator in today's age, as much as it was 150 years ago. And I think we've seen that with some of these newer brands we've got, which gives us a new opportunity to leverage new ways to connect to new audiences.
Stephanie Cox: So, let's talk mobile for a second. How have you seen mobile change in your career?
Matt Pritchard: Oh my goodness. I've lost track of the number of years that I looked at the beginning of the year and I've seen an article saying this is the year of mobile. And it's a time when you had a flip phone with a green screen and snake was the only game you could play. While it was great, I'm not sure that kind of whack-enabled phone experience was really what was going to leverage or win with the audience. Now, obviously, I think the biggest shift was the advent of the iPhone back in 2007. I think from there, it's just accelerated beyond belief and mobile now for us isn't just the physical phone, we think of all devices so it could be a Google home now or Alexa show, it could be a phone, it could be a tablet, any of those things. The biggest thing for me is they're not fixed to one location, therefore, it gives you a massive opportunity to engage. So I would say single-handedly the biggest momentum was due to the launch of the iPhone, which then sparked the smartphone revolution. Tied with the access to data because at the very beginning when data plans are very expensive, we saw this with the computer with broadband. As soon as you got to a price point in the market that became the biggest catalyst to change, so access to data through speed and cost together with the device, I think, were the two things that changed everything.
Stephanie Cox: So thinking about that and thinking about how mobile and consumer behavior on mobile is constantly shifting, how do you think about integrating mobile into the digital experience, just the overall brand experience at Campbell?
Matt Pritchard: Once you understand what your business objectives and your marketing objective is and what outcome do you want to get. You then map out your journey and where you're going to focus and then mobile or at any digital channel or any channel within the marketing mix that becomes the route there. So I don't have an I don't preach you'll teach the teams to come up with a mobile strategy. I actually tell them that we plan and we look at consumer journey and then, from there, if mobile is a key part, and sometimes it's not even mobile, let's say, it could be something like actually in-store is really key at this point, then we can think about what technology allows us to get to that person in-store. So we know, for example, you're not going to get somebody watching a TV in a store, but potentially you could have someone shopping with a mobile phone in their hand. What do we want to do at that point? So again, it's much more about the desired outcome than the technology. The technology purely becomes an enabler and a different way to create that engagement and excitement and brand love relevancy.
Stephanie Cox: I love hearing you say that, because I think sometimes when you think about a lot of organizations, especially larger ones, you start to have these really siloed teams. To your point like there's a mobile team, there's a social team, and they think about everything like, what's my mobile strategy versus taking a step back and saying like how should I engage with the consumers and what's the right channel to engage with them in that exact moment? So I love hearing you say that.
Matt Pritchard: Yeah. And I think it goes back to what I said about being a modern marketer, look! I believe there should be subject matter experts, but then that becomes a resource the brand marketer can use. I go back to the analogy of the conductor and the orchestra, a really good brand manager in today's modern world, will have that understanding and knowledge and be able to then leverage the people around them to deliver the work. And some of that may be internal, some of it may be external, some of it may be done by them, some of it may be done by experts. But the idea of having a digital team set off in the corner, to me, on its own is not going to create things. Because what happens is you end up with a brand team that thinks, hey my job is to create TVCs and then someone else's job to do everything, in terms of all the other channels. And that's crazy if you are truly passionate about putting the consumer at the heart of your brand.
Stephanie Cox:So thinking about measurement versus success or whether or not something's working, how do you think about whether or not something's working? Especially when you're doing things that you maybe haven't ever been done before at your company.
Matt Pritchard: Yeah. Yeah, you're absolutely right. I think there's two ways we do that. So, again if we're confident of what we're doing or we've done it before, then we try to instill a common set of consistent measures and we use a term called metrics that matter. So, again, we line up our business and marketing objectives and what our desired outcome is. And for every objective there has to be a desired outcome and for every desired outcome, there has to be a way of measuring it. So for example, if a brand team wants to talk about increasing brand relevance, then with them we work with how are we going to measure brand relevance? Because if you can't measure it then there's no work. So that the consistency around objective-desired outcome then having a series of KPIs that measure to that desired outcome is the first step. And then what we do have is, within my team, a small, focused team where we partner with brand teams, in areas we've not done before. So this is really the acceleration team and the objective there is, we do what we call hypothesis-based learning so there's a big opportunity. We set out what the hypothesis is. And from there, we then align behind what the measures are to prove that hypothesis or disprove it. And if it gets proved, we have scaled plans ready to go so we can move out acceleration into business as usual. And if it doesn't work, we have very quick stop and exit plans and communication plans, so that we don't repeat the same mistakes multiple times. And we aren't wedded to an approach, which means we're scared to walk away from it.
Stephanie Cox: So talk to me about your stop and exit plans. How do you balance running something long enough to know if it works? When you have never done it before versus knowing when to pull the plug and say, look this is definitely not going to work for our brand.
Matt Pritchard: Yeah. So, again, I think it comes down to each scenario and that's why we do a lot of time in terms of our hypothesis and learning and influencing and alignment on what the KPIs are. So two good examples are our recipe site Campbell Kitchen. We wanted to put in some machine-learning AI capability about increasing content engagement and interaction with our users, because we knew through data the more people interact with the recipes, that led to more sales of our product. So we used a chemical one spot and we started to look at people's browsing behavior and then started just returning more relevant recipes to them. So they engaged in more recipes. So, for that it was very clear. Did we see an impact in the number of pages viewed, or the number of recipes interacted with? As we saw that within the first month, we knew we were onto a winner. Likewise, we wanted to stop plans we had around personalization of messages on one of our brand sites and we were simply looking at it more. Did our bounce rate go down and did our interest rates go up? And it didn't. So within a week we could see we had little impact and we stopped it. And then, of course, what you got to do is and again, I take this from my days in the financial services and the insurance world, you look at very simple conversion funnels. So if you're trying to get people to register for a newsletter or sign up to a recipe profile, you look at all of those drop off points and you tweak your process accordingly. But, just think about that. Who'd have thought 10 years ago or 15 years ago, a brand marketing potentially could be looking at Google Analytics report through a funnel conversion on registration? It's like words that would have meant nothing fifteen years ago.
Stephanie Cox: I love that and I think it's such a different way to look at it and it makes complete sense for what we think about the market today. So you've obviously brought a lot of innovation and change to the organization, how do you handle really trying to change how you think about testing and how you think about implanting new ideas? Have you run into any challenges internally around getting people on board with this idea?
Matt Pritchard: Look, as I think I say to my team and to people who embrace the world that we're in from a modern marketing perspective, I think you need three skills to underpin all of your approach. That's curiosity, passion, and resilience because it's not easy trying to change, not just a marketing organization, the organization that goes around marketing, say finance, say HR, say supply chain. So, it's a really tiring job point because you're trying to change a legacy of what's been done before, but I think you've got passion and curiosity that gets you some of the way. And I think one of the biggest things, if I think about my team at its highest level, I split into two things. One is about providing subject matter experts where you don't need to duplicate those resources because you can apply them better centrally. And then, two, to build the skills and capabilities of our marketers in the organization. And I do that through four pillars. The four P’s of capability of digital, I call it. One, they are people capability, process capability, partner capability, and platform capability. So it's not just about getting the best platforms, because if you haven't got the right people skills, no one is going to use the platforms. Likewise, there's no point in having everyone brought in as modern marketers and then not having the right partners or the right platforms to go after it. So, I think the hardest thing for people like me is to balance out, not what you can do but what you should do in a strategic way and paint that roadmap so that everyone understands what they're working towards. But the heart of it is understanding the consumer as in anyone else and then engaging with that consumer in the best way.
Stephanie Cox: How do you think about the technologies that are so new that they're not part of your plan yet because you didn't even know they were coming? How do you think about that? Sometimes I like to call them shiny objects or the things that are not reliable now because no one's ever tried them. How do you think about some of those random things?
Matt Pritchard: Yes, great question and I think, again, the best thing you do is not get every brand off looking at the shiny new tools around that, this is why that fits in with my group. So, I have a digital strategist and an acceleration lead and their role is to keep ahead of the market. So this central group should be 18 months ahead of the rest of the brand teams and we come back with choices and understanding of what's working through our industry knowledge and being ahead of the curve. And then we identify and partner with the brand teams to minimize the risk. And then we make some big bets in a couple of areas, knowing that they're not all going to work and then we'll walk away from them. Going back to what I said about that hypothesis-based learning agenda. So whether that hypothesis based on gender is a new tool, a new channel, a new piece of technology, a new consumer channel effort, whatever those things are, that fits within this group. But it's important that we don't chase all the shiny objects because what happens is, you swing the pendulum too far to the right and then everyone will without seeing whether it's working or not, will be seen as not effective. And then the pendulum goes back, not to the middle but further back behind.
Stephanie Cox: How do you think about bringing voice with the brand? Are you guys doing anything today?
Matt Pritchard: Yeah. So, we've done some things. We were one of the first brands to launch an Alexa Skill for our recipes. And then we have an update so that they can jump videos from some recipes for Alexa Show. But it is quite funny. One of the things uncritical of our industry on is, that we don't learn sometimes from the past. So voice at the moment reminds me of going back to 2010, 2009 with the apps and the app with smartphones and apps and everyone got onto the bandwagon. We must have an app, we must have an app, we must have an app without thinking about why do we need an app and where does it fit within the consumer journey? I know I repeat journey a lot of times but it's absolutely essential. It gives you the rigor to say, this is where we're going to play. So my worry is we're doing exactly the same with voice. So we create skills and then we expect people to go to those skills. It's funny we, as human beings, have been talking for thousands of years and yet we try to teach people now to say things like Alexa, open the Campbell Kitchen skill. It's not natural language. [Alexa Interrupts] I won't say her name again. So what we're seeing is that with apps, there's so many skills out there that, how do you make sure that your app, your skill is discoverable? So, for me, the areas we're focusing now really on are three fold for voice. One, voice search. I think this is going to be as critical as SEO and paid search was with Google in 1999, 2000. I think we're going to see a massive shift there. So understanding how to win on the search path is key. The second one is around voice commerce, so understand where people are engaging and using that to purchase. For a CPG company, that's really important. But third, and I think the biggest opportunity for CPG, is around the digital shelf and the shopping list and the consideration list. I think figuring out how to get on that virtual shopping list is going to be a key requirement of success going forward and working with people at Google and Amazon or Apple with Siri to partner as those new opportunities come up is still very, very early days. The one thing that's for sure, we've got to do that in a device or platform agnostic way. And we've got to be wherever people are. So yes, we can see the emergence of a couple of platforms but we've got to make sure that if we're going after a certain audience that we've got the right technology to engage with them.
Stephanie Cox: Well the things that you said that, to me, just really hit home was the idea of thinking back to 2010 where every marketer created an app. Why? Because we needed an app in the App Store. And how the same thing might happen with voice. And I think you're right! You got to think about what people are going to use it for and I think the whole idea around being strategic about how to win search on voice. That's one of the things I think with mobile apps so people think a ton about, is how you win search in the app store and we've been doing that for a decade now. And I know you mentioned personalization, which is one of my personal favorite topics. Can you tell me what personalization means to you? Because I think sometimes when people say personalization, I talk to other marketers, they're like yeah like I've put your first name in there and some of your preferences, which I think is like base-level personalization. So tell me how you think about personalization, what that really looks like?
Matt Pritchard: Yes, I think this is one of the examples where we should have an approach that goes across our business, but each brand is going to be slightly different. So again, if I know you're coming to look at my recipes on my website, and I know who you are, and I know that you are a vegan, I should not display anything other than vegan recipes to you. And if I don't know you are, then I stop to look at your online behavior through our site metrics and then start to infer what I know. But, it's a really tough one and I don't think there's one answer. What I would say though from a CPG perspective, I guess where I can back it up is, to me personalization is a customized message or experience delivered to a consumer or a group of consumers, if you don't know the individual based upon the information data and insights we have about them or their behavior. So if I wrap it up, we know enough about you to tailor a relevant message to you through the right channels at the right time.
Stephanie Cox: So one final question. I know you've talked a lot about your idea of a modern marketer. So, for everyone that's kind of earlier in their career, where would you recommend they focus their time and what skills should they gain?
Matt Pritchard: Yeah, I think any marketer, by the way and I treat myself in that, can always learn. I'll go back to what I said at the beginning: curiosity, passionate, and resilient. Be curious, and from there, be curious about trying to understand your consumer better than anyone else. I think that every marketer, whatever level they are, has to keep up with what's going on around them in the digital space. So maybe the basic digital skills. So one of the things we've done here is we've partnered with a company called CircusStreet for a program of digitally learning. And from there, we're building our base skills and foundation and common understanding across the business. And then from there, you then start to deep dive into the things that matter but you've got to be willing to learn and you never stop learning. And if you think that your marketing career reaches its pinnacle, as you as you launch your first broad based mass media campaign then I think you're much mistaken and I think you should begin a much more excited about that journey into journey that journey planning based around and understanding the consumer and get as close as you can to the individual consumers.
Stephanie Cox: Having a senior marketing leader from such a historic brand has really been a dream for me. Everyone seems to know Campbell Soup. I know I did as a child and as an adult, and it's so inspiring to hear how they're thinking about accelerating Innovation in their organization to truly and power brand marketers. It's a model that I think most organizations can learn from if you really want to transform how marketing works in your business. Now, let's get to my favorite part of the show where we take the education and apply it to your business.
There are so many great insights to my conversation with Matt that can really help transform how you think about mobile marketing. Let's dive into my top three takeaways. First, metrics have always been a key component of most high perfroming marketing organizations. That's not news to any of you. I know that we all know we got to measure our effort then we likely all have a list of numerous KPI that we're tracking on a regular basis. But what I'd like to ask you is have you taken a step back to see if you're actually falling victim to what I like to call analysis paralysis? Which means I track so much data that I literally no longer know what matrex really matters at the end of the day. I've honestly seen that happen with a lot of marketers. We're tracking some data points that we actually don't know what metrics we should care about. What are the two or three or four or five that actually tell me how my business is doing. And the reason why that is is because it's impossible to put the same level of importance on each one. And that's why we've got to focus our efforts on the metrics that truly matter. And don't get me wrong you can track all of them, that's not a problem. But you need to know which ones carry more weight. And that means when you're embarking on a new initiative you have to identify what the overall objective is going to be. What's the desired outcome? And what is the way that you're going to measure that outcome? And I know at first that probably seems super obvious and simplistic to all of you and you're probably thinking why is Stephanie even talking about that? Well, the reason is because of how many of us are actually doing it? Before you start a new initiative are you sitting down actually writing out what the objective is? What's the desired outcome? And when are you going to measure that desired outcome? Probably not. That's because we're so focused on launching this next project and we're so confident that it's going to be successful because something else was successful in the past, that we're not putting forth the effort to list out those three items. Now don't get me wrong, it's probably not the best part of doing a new project or initiative. I get it. But it's going to help us quickly determine whether or not the initiative is performing as we expected to.
Next ,I am seriously and I mean seriously worried you guys that voice is going to become the digital wasteland like we see with native mobile apps. Let's think about it for a second. Steve Jobs launched the app store in 2008 there were over 550 native mobile apps. That was a lot then. Today there's over two million in the App Store and over 3.8 million and Google Play. Why? Because every marketer in the world thought they needed to build a native mobile app, and I was one of them, don't get me wrong. I'm responsible for a number of them that exist in the app store today. So besides the fact that they're expensive to build and maintain, consumers actually want to download them, but we all build them. And so we’ve all spent money creating native mobile apps that honestly aren’t even being used. And I worry the same things about to happen with voice. Think of how many brands today have already create Alexa skills. Is it possible that every single brand that has an Alexa skill actually needs an Alexa skill? That consumer will actually use it? Probably not. But they created one, why? Because they thought I needed to get invoice. I need to have a voice strategy. Or their boss was like are we doing a voice? We need to be doing something on voice. And it really becomes like native mobile apps all over again. We create things that consumers may or may not want to use and that's why it's so important to put the consumer at the heart of what you're doing. Making sure that you're creating things that are actually going to be used rather than investing in technology for the sake of just saying that you have one.
Finally, I personally love what Matt said about how today's modern marketer needs to have curiosity, passion and resilience. It's 100% true and something I try and instill on my team and really anyone else I talk to. Marketing is hard today, it’s harder than it's ever been and what works 1 minute may not work the next and sometimes you are not going to know why. And it's super frustrating.We have more channels to choose from now than we've ever had before and sometimes the decision you make about we're not to invest is actually more important than where you make the decision to invest. And things are changing fast. That's how fast we have to move in this organization today. And so successful marketers know that they have to be constantly on their toes, and I find that if you're not passionate about what you're working on you also don't give it a 110%. And oftentimes procrastinate about getting it done. It's only human nature. I get it, but that's why it's so important as a marketer to have a personality that's curious and resilient and that you really try and find an opportunity where you can work for a company and on initiatives that you're truly passionate about. That's where you start to see true marketing magic happen.
Now here’s my mobile marketing challenge for the week. How much time are you spending learning? Okay, great news, you're all listening to this podcast. So that was about 30 minutes of learning time for the week already. So that's a gold star. But how else are you actually challenging yourself to learn something new if you're not being intentional about learning and I struggle with this sometimes myself. It's really time to commit. That means you need to commit a dedicated amount of time to reading a book, attending a conference a week, reading online material, engaging in message boards or networking sessions where you can actually learn from other people. It really doesn't matter how you learned as long as you are learning you're pushing the boundaries of what you already know. That's how you get to be a better marketer.
I’m Stephanie Cox and you've been listening to Mobile Matters. If you haven't yet, be sure to subscribe rate and review this podcast until then be sure to visit Lumavate.com and subscribe to get more access to thought leaders, best practices, and all things mobile.