Diageo seeks greater unity between sales and marketing

Diageo is bringing sales and marketing closer together to push more consumers along the path to purchase as part of its wider search for media buying efficiencies.

The world’s largest spirits maker is seeking greater unity between both channels in order to focus upcoming investments more consistently around the customer buying process. Diageo expects the effort to yield immersive, integrated physical and virtual retail experiences that will ultimately future proof itself for when digital natives become the key purchasers.

By having an integrated shopper journey, Diageo hopes to uncover new opportunities to push brands such as Smirnoff and Guinness to potential buyers beyond physical stores. Mobile and online will be key to effort with the company looking to digital to bridge the gap between its strategic marketing initiatives and its more tactical sales efforts.

Upcoming investments will span channels such as YouTube and Instagram as well as build on the company’s ecommerce learnings through tie-ups with the likes of Tesco and Amazon. Most recently, Diageo has tied with Tesco to promote a limited for Johnnie Walker F1 offer in an Iris Worldwide-created YouTube video (see above).

Search marketing is also being sharpened to target brands to broader breadth of consumers online.

Diageo’s Bar.com pan-European cocktail portal will be one of the key beneficiaries of the enhanced focus after the business claimed it is now responsible for 11 per cent of all spirits related searches since it launched last October. Of the 300,000 plus monthly visitors, around 80 per cent use its listed recipes and 5 per cent perform a purchase action through one of the retail partners, the company has said.

The company’s move to organise marketing and sales around the same customer objectives stops short of a full-scale structural overhaul unlike rival Pernod Ricard. The French business is currently unifying sales and marketing at group level to refocus around luxury, digital acceleration, on and off-trade development, innovation and shopper experiences.

Diageo is banking on a similar outcome in its bid to improve profitability. Declining volumes in established markets and a Chinese crackdown on extravagant gift giving dented Diageo’s top line growth in its last financial year.

To help reverse the downturn and free up funds to chase sales in in Eastern, Europe, Turkey, and Africa, the business has been shifting funds into more efficient channels. It shaved £72m off its marketing budget in the year to June through consolidation of media buying and the introduction of global point of sale strategies.

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