May 19, 2020

Facebook Workplace: marketing genius or false economy?

Conor Shaw
EMEA MD at Marketo
Facebook at work
Facebook Workplace
Conor Shaw
4 min
Facebook Workplace: marketing genius or false economy?

One of the most interesting discussions at this year’s Dmexco emerged from a panel with Nestlé's global head of marketing Tom Buday, who gave an unusual glimpse behind the curtain at how the world’s largest food and drink company had adopted Facebook Workplace.

In his speech, Buday pointed to a few campaigns Nestlé has designed specifically with Facebook Workplace. For milk powder Everyday, for example, the brand created two versions of an ad: one with high-resolution images aimed at Western markets and another that used less data and was served to consumers in India with smaller data plans. For a Coffee-mate campaign in the U.S., the team adapted a TV ad for Facebook in a few hours by playing with the creative.

Of course the natural response is a mixture of apprehension around the idea of officially adopting a social network service into the business, and intrigue around how this move might play out for Nestlé. Will the social network become the new Slack in this environment? How could the tool serve Nestlé not just internally, but in its external communications too?

Why is Facebook Workplace gaining traction with brands?

First off, let’s take a look at what Facebook Workplace offers. The enterprise service is a new portal that connects people to colleagues. It has a different colour scheme to the Facebook we know but essentially the company will now collect data about its users which crosses both their professional and personal personas.

To understand why this is of interest, we must accept a new reality. Customers no longer see their data as siloed. Now entering the workforce, the first cohort to be taught coding at school have grown up on Facebook and were the first adopters of Snapchat. They’ve always shared their data and are very familiar with how this data can be used to build a picture of their online identity.

As this generation take on positions of responsibility at work and become higher spenders in their personal lives, brands need to pay special attention as to how to target this audience effectively or risk falling behind. As the boundaries between work and play blur and complicate marketers’ jobs significantly, Facebook will enable brands to work entirely within the context of these fully merged online personas, where channels no longer correlate with personal or professional purchase interests.

Change of approach for unified personas

To address the level of personal segmentation that is adopted by this upcoming generation, marketers will need to evolve their strategies accordingly.

It simply won’t be enough for brands to understand someone’s job at work or what drives them to make a purchase for their company; brands will need to have a holistic view of the individual online persona to market to them most effectively. This is where Facebook stands to offer marketers a huge advantage in opening up our unified social identities.

These new insights formed of both work and play aspects of our online identities will become core instruments for the digital marketer. Are there common patterns amongst young professionals that work in fashion retail for instance? How does their job affect their persona as a consumer? Are they just loyal to brands that echo the one they work for? In B2B, if you work in manufacturing, how does this influence the hobbies you have? In finance, does the work you do tend to impact the lifestyle you have?

Marketers will be able to use all of this information to better target consumers despite their work and home personas crossing over through the devices they use and the social media sites they portray themselves on.

The emergence of hyper-personalisation

Data-driven marketing will become increasingly important to target the next generation correctly. It’s great news for brands that consumers are increasingly happy to give up information that can feed into their marketing campaigns, however they expect a value return for this information.

The real caveat to Facebook Workplace is there’s now no excuse not to tailor the experience. Brands must focus on creating hyper-personalised experiences in order to show a level of knowledge about their customers’ likes and dislikes, their position in the purchase journey and level of interest in the brand.

To meet this increasing demand for more relevant, personalised ads more and more brands will follow in the footsteps of Nestle as they look to connect with tech loving Generation Z. It’s customers that are setting the expectations today, not competitors, and businesses need to be ready to meet their demands – something which we know Nestlé has cleverly noted.

By Conor Shaw, EMEA MD at Marketo

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Jun 16, 2021

SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data

British Army
3 min
Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM, explains the important role that SAS is playing in the British Army’s digital transformation

SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation. 

“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.

In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”

Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.

Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”

SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”

With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.

“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”

Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.

“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”


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