How Mondelez Is Driving Performance Through Innovation

As shopping behaviors evolve, Mondelez is embracing new ways to reach consumers close to the point of purchase with a focus on measurement. During Path to Purchase’s Retail Media in Action event, Quotient and Mondelez came together to discuss the convergence of national and shopper marketing investments and how Mondelez has made testing and learning an everyday practice. By embracing this mindset and working with the right partners, Mondelez has led the industry on several digital-first initiatives. 

Watch the full session below and read on for a recap of our fireside chat with Mondelez Regional Vice President of Shopper Activation and Strategic Partnerships Stephen McGowan and Director of Customer Marketing Yolanda Angulo, who were joined by Quotient’s General Manager of Strategic Accounts, Rebecca Poolman. 



What have been your biggest challenges over the last 18 months and how did you adjust?   

McGowan: From a shopper marketing perspective, there are really two areas that we focused against. The first is agile planning against customers. We’ve had to collaborate with our retail partners to ensure we have the right plans for the right brands and the right SKUs—after all, we wouldn’t want to feature a SKU that’s not in stock. Our dynamic planning approach has really paid off with shoppers and retailers to meet their respective expectations. 

The second is around this full omni-commerce marketing approach that we’ve adopted over last couple of years. Our plans have really shifted over time to focus more digitally. In the last two years, we’ve accelerated this approach and our plans are now full-funnel, where we are talking to consumers during the awareness stage to reinforce messaging during the consideration stage and ultimately helping drive conversion at the moment of truth. We work really hard to create plans that allow consumers to seamlessly convert as they move from in their house to going in-store or buying online. 

How has the pandemic changed Mondelez’s approach to innovation?  

McGowan: From what we’ve seen, it’s important to have a balance in your business. You have to focus on everyday aspects to keep the business running as well as innovation. What we’ve seen in the past is if you delay innovation, even for just a short while, you end up years behind everyone else in the marketplace. It’s easy to get stuck in day-to-day activities, but it’s super important to test, learn, innovate and ideate. 

The pandemic hasn’t really altered our approach to innovation, but it has increased the number of reasons why we do it. There are obviously the great business-building aspects to innovation. However, the importance of stretching people, getting them out of the rut of their job and driving greater employee engagement and work-first development has been another reason why we’ve really made sure we double down on innovation over the past 18 months. 

What is a retail-media innovation that came at the right time for Mondelez?  

Angulo: In mid-2020, I was introduced to digital out-of-home (DOOH) by the Quotient team. I honestly didn’t know where or how it would strategically fit, especially given that there was a lot less outdoor traffic to capture impressions during the pandemic. And frankly, because we were so obsessed with online growth, it was easy to forget that customers were still shopping in-store. 

One of the challenges we discussed with Quotient was our belVita breakfast biscuits line. This line is positioned for the on-the-go, convenient breakfast occasion. We had started to see declines due to the pandemic—consumers were staying in, resulting in the on-the-go categories generally declining. In addition, the brand had experienced some significant supply challenges. 

The object for us as we started to think about 2021 was to drive awareness and re-engage with our consumers to make belVita top-of-mind again. So, DOOH was put back on the table with a reminder that, even during the pandemic and despite online growth, consumers were still driving, walking and shopping in-store. Given these facts and the capability behind this new technology, I committed to testing this new DOOH product. 

"DOOH was put back on the table with a reminder that, even during the pandemic and despite online growth, consumers were still driving, walking and shopping in-store."
Yolanda Angulo, Director of Customer Marketing at Mondelez

The campaign went live in January 2021 during what would normally be a back-to-routine period coming out of the holidays. We used highly visible billboards, street furniture and place-based screens to reach banner loyalists and highly indexed category buyers when they were within a five-mile proximity to the selected store locations. Ultimately, we efficiently connected with our target audience at the right time and place. And we saw attributable sales, a brand-new measurement concept in DOOH, as well as a very positive return on ad spend. 

One of the other tools that followed several collaborative meetings with Quotient was promotion amplification. We beta tested promotion amplification in 2020, but it didn’t work as designed because of our pricing strategy. That’s not a terrible thing. It allowed both Quotient and Mondelez to learn more, and based on this test, Quotient made some updates to the tool to more effectively pick up the deeper promotions. With this new update, we are planning on testing this tool in 2022 when we’re feeling better about product supply and bringing some of this new digital capability to life. 

How do you respond when a test 'fails'?

McGowan: Promotion amplification is a great example. It didn’t work the way we expected, but we’re not walking away from it. We provided Quotient with a ton of feedback and a ton of questions throughout the process, and that’s what makes the partnership really effective. Quotient listens to our questions and our feedback and acts on them. 

There isn’t a set formula for what we do or don’t test. Instead, we review different opportunities from various partners and we look to see how those opportunities can advance our learning agenda. Ultimately, our goal is to evaluate how we can scale that innovation or test to create breakthrough marketing for our shoppers or drive incremental category for our retailers. 

One last point I want to highlight: Sometimes things fail. But sometimes it may fail for reasons that are beyond the control of that specific test or that specific product. So, we try to look at the various factors as to why something may have failed and then provide respective feedback or look at the scenario and make adjustments based off that. In other words, don’t write off something if a test-and-learn fails the first time. We try to keep an open mind when looking at the different circumstances. 

What are your top learnings in the space from the past 18 months?

Angulo: The retail media space is big, it’s growing and it’s challenging. Retail media networks and third-party agencies use different methodologies and terminologies to measure. This makes it really hard to address results on an even playing field. The comparison is challenging, and that can impact our overall investment strategies. 

McGowan: To build on Yolanda’s point, retail media is a tremendously challenging and changing environment, but it makes our jobs super exciting. Retail media networks have really changed how we go to market. They’re pushing the boundaries of how we market, how we create programming with our respective customers and how we reach our shoppers. 

We’ve been partnering with various industry groups to try and do two things. One is standardize the definition of “what is retail media and where does it fit?” And then secondly, we want to standardize the measurement. At the end of the day, we only have a certain amount of money to spend, so we want to spend that money where it’s going to drive the most incremental growth for our respective categories to benefit our retail partners as well as Mondelez. 

We hope you found this session exciting, engaging and, most importantly, informative. For more information on how Quotient can help you develop a collaborative approach to retail media, contact us at