AWS for Industries

Industry Innovators 2022: How Mars Wrigley leverages data and analytics to drive growth

The relevance race is real. It has everyone, from mid-size startups to large corporations, competing for a first-place prize in innovation.

But for Mars Wrigley, the journey is often worth a lot more than the destination.

This year, we invited Deepak Jose, global senior director of One Demand Data & Analytics at Mars Wrigley, to speak on the importance of data and analytics at our Industry Innovators virtual event. In his presentation, “Leveraging data & analytics to drive profitable growth,” Jose talks about how the data and analytics team is focusing on speed, scale, and sustainability to stay above its competitors. In this post, we cover focal points from Jose’s presentation, discussing ways Mars Wrigley is utilizing data and analytics to drive growth.

Jose leads a global team of data engineers, data scientists, and product strategy leaders, focusing on domains such as revenue management, route to market, and marketing transformation to drive profitable growth for Mars and its customers. As a commercial strategy and advanced analytics leader, Jose has extensive experience in strategic roles, driving business growth for global organizations like Coca-Cola, ABB, and Asurion. Prior to his position as global senior director, Jose was part of Mars Digital technologies, where he led data and analytics for Pet Care, Mars Wrigley, and Food & Multi Sales segments.

Tomorrow starts with today

“The world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today,” says Jose. Not only is this what Mars believes; it’s what Mars strives to achieve every day.

With data and technology advancements, Jose wants us to acknowledge we’re living through the third industrial revolution, where markets, technologies, and consumer preferences are moving at an exponential rate. However, the problem is most businesses are operating in a logarithmic phase, making the rate of change significantly higher. For this to change, Jose says the data and analytics team at Mars Wrigley must focus on three things: moving with speed, going with scale, and keeping these capabilities in a sustainable manner.

But to do this, companies need to start with the value, not the data. Companies like Mars Wrigley generate petabytes of data daily, so generating generic reports may simplify the IT effort, but chances are it won’t answer specific business decisions. “We want Mars Wrigley to leapfrog its capabilities in the area of data and analytics as part of our initiatives,” notes Jose. From a key decision business initiative, Jose and his team work backwards, determining necessary insights and pinpointing data that needs to be converted. From here, Jose and his team rapidly iterate with business decision makers to refine how they drive the decision. Doing this allows Mars to deliver faster insights that make a greater impact to the business.

This is where value comes first and data comes second, Jose stresses (as a data analytics practitioner, this is typically the other way around). To drive the maximization mindset in the future, figuring out how to focus on data and analytics with a value-first or problem-focused approach will be critical.

The right way to build data analytics capabilities

Everything is changing quickly, including consumers, macroeconomics, and our environment. Jose warns that companies need to build solutions to adapt – “if we’re building our solutions to last, instead of building our solutions to adapt, we’re going to be in a lot of trouble.”

To avoid this, digital AI assets should be:

  1. Interconnected: You need to build your capabilities in an interconnected way.
  2. Reusable: If your capabilities must be sustainable, you need to build it in a reusable way. It’s good to run minimum viable products, but it’s more important to build a scalable solution.
  3. Whitebox: If there is a capability important for your organization, you need to own the intellectual property of it. When the environment changes around you, you’ll be able to access the data engineering layer, modeling layer and visualization layer and add new data sources.

The last two years have been critical for all of us, especially with the COVID pandemic changing our environment drastically. With Mars’ three-pronged approach above, the company was swiftly able to adapt to the new reality, and therefore adapt to new solutions.

Was Mars Wrigley successful?

There are three key aspects Jose sees enabling success at Mars:

  1. Business led and digitally enabled (in other words, when Mars’ data and analytics team builds out a capability): A key aspect to Mars’ success is using design thinking. Mars believes it’s more important to find the right problem than solving the problem right. If you find the right problem to solve, you can automate and deliver in an agile manner.
  2. Agile delivery: Ask, “How can we have a progress over a perfection mindset?”
  3. Iteration: How can we build to think and launch to learn? How can we go through the test and learn approach? These questions will be critical for any analytics organization.

Enabling change in an organization isn’t easy, which is why Jose uses a poignant analogy: “You are an elephant driver, a rational rider who’s trying to change a huge, emotional organization. Sometimes we need to think about IQ less and EQ more if you truly want to transform the organization.”

So remember, when solving a complex analytics problem, don’t be overly ambitious; start small. Find one or two areas where you think you can add great value, then you can start thinking bigger. Just like Mars.

Interested in learning more about innovators in the world of AWS and what drives them to continue to redefine their industries? Register for the free on-demand content from “Industry Innovators: Retail & CPG.” Or if you’ve already registered, access the Mars Wrigley session here.

Eric Seiberling

Eric Seiberling

Eric Seiberling is the global head of the consumer packaged goods industry marketing at Amazon Web Services, where he helps companies use the power of the cloud to build closer consumer relationships with their brands, improve their organizational agility, and accelerate their digital transformation. Prior to joining AWS, Eric led Dassault Systèmes North American marketing efforts, provided strategic and organizational change management consulting to top CPG and retail companies, and was a brand manager at Procter & Gamble.