Across the Pet-Verse: Building Essential Brands with Data-Driven Personalization

CM Contributor: Alysson Scartz | Critical Mass

With all this data at our fingertips, connecting the dots and finding intentional ways to use that data is how marketers can craft meaningful brands essential to their audience. Mars Petcare—home of leading pet nutrition and healthcare brands such as Pedigree, Whiskas and Waltham Center for Pet Nutrition—aspires to be pet parents’ biggest supporter, full stop.

Accomplishing this means doubling down on a comprehensive digital strategy that creates customer experiences that drive not just brand loyalty but an all-encompassing pet care ecosystem. Jean-Paul Jansen, VP of marketing and chief marketing officer for North America of Mars Petcare, and Alysson Scartz, executive VP at Critical Mass, joined John Dioso, editor of Ad Age Studio 30, in Cannes to share lessons on how to leverage next-gen digital to solve unmet needs, proactively identify opportunities and draw insights across brands.

By taking more of a digital-first approach in how it connects with consumers, Mars Petcare has changed how it does marketing, enabling it to move beyond a pet care brand ecosystem to build pet care “mega brands,” which Jansen describes as “brands that plays first and foremost in multiple categories—for example, not just dry dog food or wet dog food. A pet care mega brand satisfies nutritional needs across a variety of formats, but it’s also an opportunity to elevate our brands  to a higher purpose. Our overall purpose is to build a better world for pets because pets create a better world for us humans.”

Gleaning the right insights from customer data is core to implementing this strategy successfully. “It’s a little bit less about the quantity and quality of data,” said Scartz. “It’s the utilization of it. What data or behavioral signals do we have that supports them in their pet parent journey? It’s understanding the data strategy to say, this is what they need from us and centralizing that so it’s not a disparate or fragmented data operation. It’s organized in a way so we’re approaching the ecosystem more thoughtfully.”