Marketing is getting increasingly data driven, as companies try to measure how many people not only saw their ads but also took some kind of action. Those metrics were on the mind of Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent as he described during its fourth-quarter conference call Coke's three Super Bowl TV ads, which featured cartoon polar bears. People could go online to send chats to the bears and watch their reactions to the game:
"And an estimated 300,000-plus fans joined the polar bears live, far exceeding expectations. And by the second quarter, the Coca-Cola Facebook feed was receiving 3,400 hits per second. This is just one of ... a string of marketing achievements for our company."
To make the most of all the customer data that comes from this kind of interaction, companies will need IT to increasingly be a part of digital marketing. IT needs to get closer to customers. But IT can't shirk its traditional role of improving processes and cutting operating costs. And that can be seen in CFO Gary Fayard's comments later in the conference call, where he laid out a new 4-year productivity initiative, with the following components:
"First, a new 4-year global productivity initiative starting this year. This initiative will target between $350 million and $400 million in annualized savings focused around 4 primary areas: one, global supply chain optimization; two, global marketing and innovation effectiveness; three, OpEx leverage and operational excellence; and four, data and IT systems standardization. We're in the initial stages of defining the one-time costs associated with capturing these savings, and we'll provide an update on these costs in our next earnings call."