Insights From The CMO Of The Biggest Beer Company In The World

Can you explain to
me what ZX Ventures is? – Sure. – And why it makes sense to
have somebody who heads up an important part of
the business also become the chief marketing officer
for the entire business? – Yeah, so, I mean ZX
Ventures is our innovation and ventures arm. We set up shop in 2015 to accelerate, a little bit, innovation. You know, in the past, it was kind of hard because innovation takes some time to kind of pay off and to get scale. And whenever we let innovation compete with our core business for resources, of course, it was second
priority, you know. So, we tried to do something
different and we just set up another unit for the
company that could really accelerate, have independent resources, different people, new capabilities. But we got to a stage, now,
five years later, you know, the thing got some scale. And we thought it was a real
opportunity for us to go there and kind of start
cross-pollinating between ZX and our main business and that’s why I’m kind of co-heading both. – And how important is
it that marketing message is in line with the
innovations of the company and which goes first? Do you innovate first and then
figure out how to market it, or do you learn from your
conversations with the consumer about what sort of things
you need to create? – So, I mean, today, you
need to perform, right? You have to deliver products
that really make a difference in people’s lives because,
otherwise, people don’t buy products and they’ll feel
difference of the products just based on pure marketing. So, today, it’s very important
for you to have innovation, you know, to create true
differentiation with the products and then market it. So, I think innovation, in a way, is a fundamental part of the job today. What do you think you bring to the role or to this industry that you think, in this industry that’s changed, that maybe
not everybody else has? – Sure. Yeah, I mean, before ZX I
was in marketing for a while. But it’s great because ZX,
it’s all about learning with startups and with new
platforms and things like that. And, in a way, you know, I
think the competitive advantage for he future is going to
be to understand consumers better than anybody else,
create products that address big consumer needs, and then, deliver it in a frictionless way. And that’s kind of what we’re doing at ZX. And at ZX, we have like a pretty sizeable e-commerce business these days. So, we have a lot of consumer
understanding, you know, consumers voted with their
wallet, so e-commerce is a very good indicator on
what works, what doesn’t, and what people want. And I really think this is
kind of the capabilities that we need in the core business today. You know, how can we use data to create data products that
really have a differentiation. And then, use technology
also to deliver it in a seamless way. So, the consumer has changed a great deal, not just their behaviors
and what sort of products they’re interested in
but also the way that they consume advertising. – Yeah. – How are you dealing with that? – So, this is like a massive
shift that we are seeing. If you take a look at, like, 10 years ago, you could probably target
consumers in 90% of the time that they are consuming
media, right, in general. And, today, like, there are
a lot of massive platforms and very like high growth
platforms that are ad-free, right. If you think about Netflix,
if you think about Spotify, if you think about YouTube Premium, you think about WhatsApp. You know, so, increasingly, I
think consumers are spending a lot of time with platforms
that traditional advertising kind of doesn’t work, right. So, I think, in the future,
it’s going to be a combination of advertising with content, you know. You have to go there and
you have to produce content and deliver value to consumers
in a way they’re going to look for it, you know, and not
only get interrupted by it. So, we’re kind of trying
to do that, you know, we are working a lot, for
example, with YouTube, you know. Currently, we have some
things, great things going on in Brazil, we’re creating
content together. And then, consumers are
organically going to the platform and consuming our content. – And there has been a shift
in the interest of consumers to focus on privacy. And how do you think
that that’s going to affect the future of advertising? – Well, I mean, this
is very recent, right. We have a great relationship
with Facebook and we talk a lot about this, and even
for them, this is kind of a very recent change in direction. I think we will have to see
it, how the privacy first thing plays out but, again,
I think to the extent that you’re going to be
able to deliver value to consumers, create content that engage, provides entertainment to
consumers, you’re always going to have the channel. So, again, the specifics,
we’ll have to work through and that’s something that
we’re very focused on because it will have
meaningful implications but it’s very early days. – And what and how should
brands or does Anheuser-Busch, If and how should brands
get involved in social and political conversations? – Yeah, so, you know, here in Cannes people talk a lot about purpose here in Cannes people talk a lot about purpose here in Cannes people talk a lot about purpose and there are different
definitions of purpose. and there are different
definitions of purpose. A lot of people are
talking about social causes and doing good for the world and things like that as purpose. We have a slightly
different view on that one. We think we should do
that and I think brands need to get involved, I mean,
there are so many problems in the world that governments
are not going to be able to solve by themselves, so I
think brands and companies, they have a role to play but
I think the most important thing is that the core
business of whatever industry you are in or whatever company you are in is actually positive for
people and for society as a whole, you know, so
your business needs to have meaning and needs to impact
people in a positive way. Because, at the end, you know, you spend, if you have social causes
and you have activism, whatever, this is like
5%, 10% of what the brand does. But, I think, consumers are
really asking the question, what is the other 90%? Your core business, where
you really spend the money and you spend the time, is
that good or bad for society? So, I mean, we are a beer company and we love that beer is a product that brings people together. We think that has a very
meaningful role in society and it’s great. It takes people, you know, it changes people’s
lives in a positive way. – Can you tell me about
a campaign where you took a risk and it really paid off? – Yeah, so, we had one,
it actually won Grand Prix last year, here in Cannes, a
campaign from our team in South Africa from Carling Black Label. It was a campaign about domestic violence. There are a lot of problems
with domestic violence in South Africa. And Carling Black Label was a
masculine brand, historically, and a lot of people that
did domestic violence, they were kind of using, you
know, that they were drunk as an excuse for the domestic violence. So that’s something that
we embraced with the brand and it said, look, real
men doesn’t give excuses. And we went very broad and it was a super successful campaign and the brand could really impact the cause. – And is there a time where
you took a risk based on what you thought was happening
with data or something where it really didn’t pay off? You do so much at
the same time that some things fall
in between the cracks and you don’t pay attention
to every single execution and things like that. So, back in the days
when we were in Brazil, we have a brand, Skol, it’s like a lot
of fun and things like that and we were kind of
telling people to have fun during carnival in one of the executions you know, was saying, you know, “Leave no at home.” As in meaning, go there and have fun and seize opportunity and just
enjoy and have a great time. And that was misinterpreted as
if there is sexual harassment or whatever, you should just go with it. And there was a huge backlash
and we had to apologize but, you know, again,
sometimes you try to push a little bit and it kind
of got misinterpreted and you make mistakes. – And what have you learned
most about consumer trends or consumer behaviors since working at AB InBev? – Yeah, so, I mean the market
has changed a lot, you know. I think, in the past, you
had kind of a few markets of millions and it was
very easy to kind of segment consumers and
have like a pretty tight portfolio of brands that
address the whole population. The market is moving from
a few markets of millions to millions of markets of a few. And I think marketers, they
have kind of two options. One is, they try to
make the returns lower. Good luck with that, right? Or they can adapt themselves
to have a much broader portfolio and satisfy many
more consumers, right. So, I mean, the good news is
that technology is helping a lot, you know, in personalizing
product and delivering the right product to the right
person at the right time. But it’s a challenge,
right, so consumers really, audiences are becoming very niche. And if you’re not ready to
cater for these audiences, somebody else will, so you’d
better be prepared for it. – And what’s coming next,
either from a marketing side or from an innovation side
that you’re most excited about? I think the barrier I think the barrier between technology companies and CPGs or big companies, in general,
is getting very blurred. And this is a great
opportunity but also could be a massive threat, right. So if we take a look at the
life of consumer understanding, the relationship that big
technology companies have with consumers today is amazing. Allowed them to create
a much better product to address consumer needs but,
you know, it also allows them to disrupt other industries, right. So, you take a look at Amazon today. Amazon has more than 130 products and they have 100 times more information than some of the
manufacturers of this product. They have better algorithms and
the have the channel, right, with this consumer, so in a way, I think, companies in general, they
have to be much better at technology and at
consumer understanding in order to be able to compete in a world where lines are going to be blurred. I think the good news that
the companies that do that, they’re going to be very
well-positioned to compete. I really believe that probably
one of the best things that happened to Walmart
in the past 10 years is Amazon, right, because
it allowed Walmart to really step up in terms
of technology and innovation and they’re doing a great job at it. Is there a campaign
that someone else has done, doesn’t have to be in the last
year, but that you felt like, man, I really wish I
had come up with that, that was such a great idea? – Yeah, you know, the two companies that caught my attention
this year, of course, Nike, right, everybody’s talking
about Nike with Kaepernick. A very bold campaign. When you talk about purpose, and you talk about your core
purpose and social cause, I think the beauty of
Nike is that they did both at the same time. And that’s the magic, you
know, they are inspiring every human being to be an athlete, and at the same time, they
are furthering the cause for social justice and they
did that in a beautiful way. It was very risky. Initially, a lot of backlash, right. But, at the end, I think it
was a brilliant move by Nike. And I like, a lot, the
work that Fernando Machado is doing at Burger King. The Whopper Detour, I
think, for me, was genius. It’s the kind of campaign
that we should have thought. So these, for me, are the ones that caught my attention. – Thank you so much.
– Thank you.

21 thoughts on “Insights From The CMO Of The Biggest Beer Company In The World

  1. The Bud Light marketing strategy was probably the most successful in the history of beer 🍺

  2. Who else agrees that the only real reason why they have great strategy is because they understand their market and if you look at most companies not all have a CMO?

  3. "Innovation…"

    "…Today you have to deliver products that really make a difference on people's lives"

    "Produce content and deliver value to the customers…"

    You're talking to CMO of a beer company 😑 chill tf out business insider

  4. Sunglasses during an interview and not even drinking beer? Very bad marketing. Alcohol is addictive and makes life suck less by numbing the pain. That's what you should focus on.

  5. Both have incurable deadly eye infection !!!
    Product promotion is his aim.
    He's doing beer promotion between us.
    Beware of this poisonous useless.

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