Patrick Zinga, Heineken: “Creating Consumer Love”

“Creating Consumer Love”

By now we all know that first-party data is integral to the marketing strategies of today and tomorrow. But implementing a first-party data strategy is easier said than done. Each company is on its own journey, with different goals and objectives. However, one key factor underpins all strategies: the consumer. Organizations need to relentlessly focus on the consumer, as without consumers, there would be no business. 

In the latest episode of our Identity Architects podcast, InfoSum's Enterprise Sales Manager, Kate Blaxill, sat down with Patrick Zinga, Media, Data & Technology Lead at Heineken UK Limited, to discuss the value exchange, retail media, first-party data, and more.

“We're still on our own journey. In terms of realizing the impact that first-party data acquisition can actually have on planning for the future everything that we do is all about the consumer. And having the consumer at the heart of everything that we do and the best way to essentially do that is to speak to them directly [...] and the best way for us to collect that data is understanding our consumers more, understanding the value exchange more than anything else. So whatever we do, we try to bring it back to the audience because each of our brands have different audiences, different demand spaces that they focus on.”

That is so important and worth repeating: the consumer needs to be at the heart of everything. Organizations must put consumer needs and wishes first, especially in terms of data privacy. To build trust and encourage consumers to hand over their data, there needs to be a clear value exchange where the consumer benefits from the relationship. This can include a better experiences, better content or exclusive offers.

“The whole point of our existence is creating good times for consumers. So we need to go above and beyond. [...] It needs to be who is that consumer, what do they actually want from us, what is our purpose within their day-to-day lives and how can we enhance that they stay by providing those experiences [...]. The best way to grow our brands is by creating that consumer love and making them think of us as not just brands that they have every now and then but brands that align with their values, that provide them, like I said above and beyond just their functional needs.”

Couldn’t have said it any better. Heineken is well into their first-party data journey, as Patrick mentioned, and there are so many learnings and recommendations we can all share with each other to learn from each other's experiences and trials.

“It's one of those things where you need to have an outside view [...], and sometimes it's good to have someone on the outside looking in who understands this space a little bit better than you do from an in-house perspective who can give you a point of view about what other brands within your industry and outside of your industry are actually doing and also who's able to give recommendations based on that view. [...] You need to ask yourself the question: what is our purpose as a brand? Why do we need first-party data? What value can we actually provide and give to our consumers? And what value does it give us back as a business by having and holding that information? Why do we need it? What will it tell us about our consumers, and how does it help us move forward? Those questions need to be answered, and the best thing you can do when it comes to first-party data is get everyone involved, all the stakeholders.”

While first-party data is a highly valuable asset, it does have its limitations. The main one being that it only gives you one view of your customers. To gain a holistic understanding of customers, you must collaborate with other organizations, especially as a CPG brand. 

“Collaborate with everyone, having loads of different viewpoints of your consumer because everyone's different and they engage with a multitude of different things outside of their day-to-day that we might not necessarily be privy to. [...] We've done multiple tests that show there is a value that gets given back to the business, whether that's better efficiency or better engagement. [...] So from my perspective, anyone you have a conversation with, part of that conversation needs to be what can we do from a data perspective with you as a partner and that's essentially what clean rooms and data collaboration platforms like InfoSum provide.”

Great to see organizations testing and exploring new and better ways to enhance their marketing strategies. The benefit of enriching your customer knowledge through collaboration is better customer experiences and more relevant advertising, which translates to better campaign performance and increased revenue. Collaboration is definitely one of the ways that you can find out more about your consumers. But that also means investing in new technologies.

“And all these things cost money and let's not beat around the bush you need to invest a lot in this. [...] You really need to go, okay, this tech needs to be in place for us to ensure that we're not wasting money on things that just inevitably won't work. Which again takes time to build those solutions and really come into building something that is relevant for the entire business that you can then go back and also showcase the value. Because every marketer has to go back to the business and say we've done the projects that we put together. This is the value that it's created. And sometimes, when it comes to first-party data, it's very difficult to prove value if you don't have revenue attached to it.”

So true. And trust and transparency obviously play a big part - not just between businesses and consumers, but between businesses as well. In today’s privacy-first world, leading brands such as Heineken want to know the companies they collaborate with share the same values when it comes to data privacy and security. Things are moving in the right direction, but moving slower than they should. 

“The more transparency you provide your partners and the more open they are to having those conversations the more we're able to actually trust all of our partners because the relationship is based on trust in general, whether that's media relationships or personal relationships at home. If that doesn't exist, then there's no way that relationship can grow. And we, of course, are going to work more with partners or invest more with partners that provide that transparency, that allow us to look beneath the hood and see how things work. [...] We need to take the small steps that get us to the things that make larger impacts.” 

100%. It is so important to focus on building trust and putting the consumer at the heart of everything we do!

Thanks, Patrick, for the chat!