Diageo claims marketing effectiveness drive is making its ‘pounds work harder’

Diageo says investment in a new marketing effectiveness tool is paying off, with improvements in the rate of return on its investment in marketing leading to a bump in budget across its portfolio.

Diageo invested £60m more in marketing during the first half of its 2018 financial year, compared to the same period last year, thanks to savings delivered by its marketing effectiveness work.

The business, which owns brands including Guinness and Smirnoff, has been squarely focused on improving productivity and efficiency through initiatives such as Catalyst, a new digital interface developed with partners to provide instant data helping Diageo’s marketers make strategic and planning decisions.

READ MORE: How Diageo is proving marketing effectiveness

Savings have been made across most marketing activities, including everything from media and experiential to point of sale, the drinks giant said in its interim trading statement for the six months to 31 December 2017. 

The business told investors that Catalyst, which is being used by its 1,200 marketers across 55 countries to plan and allocate marketing spend across all brands is “enabling our pounds to work harder” by driving improved effectiveness. 

After a successful roll-out, marketers now use Catalyst in their day-to-day roles to continuously optimise their spend based on the most current data. 

“It is making a real difference,” Diageo’s report added. In India, for example, marketing spend was reallocated by state for its McDowell’s No.1 rum brand, while for its whisky Royal Challenge, Catalyst informed the decision to increase spend and reallocate it across media channels. These two changes alone saved more than £1.5m of value compared to the original plan.

As a result of these savings, Diageo increased investment in marketing to £968m during the period, versus £908m in the first half of its 2017 financial year. Globally, its marketing investment rate increased by more than 0.4 percentage points, with increased investment rates in all regions led by the US where its spirits business investment rate was up 0.71 percentage points.

Operating profit was up 6.1% to £2.2bn during the period, with net sales up 1.7% to £6.5bn.

Looking at specific brands, Johnnie Walker net sales are up by 7%, Baileys by 6%, Tanqueray by 16% and Guinness by 4%. 

Hide Comments1 Show Comment
  • tom wright 29 Jan 2018 at 9:33 am

    “As a result of these savings, Diageo increased investment in marketing to £968m during the period, versus £908m in the first half of its 2017 financial year. ”


  • Post a comment

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here