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Mondelez International's inspiring mobile-first strategy

Posted by Kyle Montero on October 20th, 2013 at 9:08 am

iMedia's Mobile Bootcamp kicked off with an opening keynote entitled "Inspiring innovation in the mobile space" from Ed Kaczmarek, the director of innovation and emerging technology globally for Mondelez International. In his address, Kaczmarek gave attendees a first look at results from the company's "Mobile Futures" program, in which Mondelez collaborates with mobile startups to transform consumer engagement and path-to-purchase. In addition, Kaczmarek explained how working with ambitious startups has transformed company culture and why it's crucial for brands to develop a "mobile-first" strategy.

First, what exactly is Mondelez International? Recently, Kraft Foods split into two companies -- Kraft Foods Group and Mondelez International. The latter is heavily focused on understanding consumers on a deep level. But a greater level of understanding can be a scary thing for marketers. As Kaczmarek explained, "We have become a society of distracted individuals." In other words, consumers are not becoming better multi-taskers as a result of technology. In fact, Kaczmarek cited a study by the Institute of Psychiatry that found that "those distracted by technology saw a 10-point drop in their IQ." And because of the proliferation of mobile, this is only getting worse for marketers, who spend "less than 1 percent of their budget on mobile." In fact, as Kaczmarek explained, "There are 7 billion people on earth -- 5.1 billion own a cell phone, but only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush." And texting is everywhere, he explained: "The average person sends about 400 texts per month, while teenagers send over 3,700 texts." He continued, "If the internet is a wave, mobile is a tsunami."

Clearly, it's time for every brand to commit to going mobile, and Mondelez is leading the way. According to Kaczmarek, "We are looking to invest 10 percent of our marketing budget on mobile across the globe and across the entire consumer journey." The company's mobile strategy is to increase media ROI and influence purchase by investing in four areas: video equivalency (reach), social TV (engagement), mobile media (impulse), and mobile at retail (loyalty).

This brought Kaczmarek to discuss the Mondelez "Mobile Futures" program. According to Kaczmarek, the three main objectives of the mobile futures program are to 1) create a structured way to launch measurable pilots pairing our brands with emerging mobile startups within key retail and media areas 2) deliver pilots into market with the speed of a startup and 3) drive an intrapreneurial culture via internal education and cultural transformation. In addition, the company focuses on three core areas: SoLoMo, social TV, and mobile at retail. Furthermore, the program is structured into two phases: scaling existing startups with the brands to get pilots into market and creating new ventures by partnering mobile entrepreneurs with major brands.

Accorging to Kaczmarek, "The thing that set us up for success was creating a U.S. network of partners." And the results have been impressive. As Kaczmarek explained, "Eight out of nine pilots were launched within 90 days…and one startup was acquired for more than $1 billion." In addition, "one startup closed its doors and is now Dropbox." Furthermore, the success of the program led to the launch of "Mobile Futures Brasil," with more than 100 submissions from mobile entrepreneurs.

To demonstrate, Kaczmarek provided a series of examples of program pilots, including partnerships between Sour Patch Kids and Kiip, Stride and Waze, and Trident and Roximity. As part of the ongoing Trident and Roximity partnership, consumers within a certain radius of participating stores receive notifications on their mobile device with special Trident offers at local 7-Eleven stores. So far, after the recruitment phase, there are more than 100,000 Trident Roximity subscribers -- those that opted into Trident messaging.

Kaczmarek then discussed the effect the "Mobile Futures" program had on company culture and how it promoted internal entrepreneurship, or "intrapreneurship." For example, Mondelez produced video interviews of the marketers within the program to give each participant a voice, "which really helps to envelop the entire company in the program and buy into the performance of mobile."

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In order to succeed in mobile, Kaczmarek explained that you need three people in the room: a brand champion (a brand marketer that is going to buy into it), an innovation champion (this can also be a strategy person), and a startup champion (one that is extremely willing to collaborate and work with you). Kaczmarek concluded by quoting Bonin Bough, the VP of global media and consumer engagement at Mondelez: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it."

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