- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

On Digital Marketing, Transformation, and OREOs

Would you pay $15 for a box of OREOs, delivered as a present? Not a question I normally ask, but the answer – which came at the Strategy Institute’s Digital Marketing for Financial Services Summit last week – was riveting and instructive on several levels, including the future of IT and Marketing.

The marketing construct is transforming …

Mitch Joel, Canadian President of Mirum (a global digital agency with the very cool tag line, “We are makers, believers, and make-believers”), provided the keynote. Joel focused on digital-driven disruption and transformation currently occurring in marketing.

Disruption, according to Joel, is not destruction, although it might look like it. The key for those being disrupted is to respond with transformation.

Joel challenged common wisdom about ‘transformation,’ which tends to look like a big, long project involving external experts. The reality, Joel suggested, is that transformation must come from within the organization.

A key element in the process is to use tools that customers are using and carefully analyze the context. Joel said that common wisdom about ecommerce ‘failure’ (only 5% conversion) is flawed.

Joel recommended that marketers have to breakdown the final decision to a series of ‘micro-conversions’: What type of device was used (fixed, mobile), which platform (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), time, day, location, etc.

All of this becomes grist for the analytics mill, allowing marketers to optimize the experience and, ultimately, increase conversions in value as well as frequency.

Think change

Joel said that this process needs to be dynamic. Consumers are changing constantly, and this is accelerated with the plethora of technology options.

A major transformation now underway is transition to the Sharing Economy. “Consumers have voted with their wallets to not own things,” Joel said. They won’t own a car, but will access Uber or Car2Go. They won’t buy DVDs, but will stream Netflix.

And we can expect that the changes will continue. To cope, some companies are moving away from ‘owning’ technology. The alternative is to use the same platforms as the consumer and be prepared to adapt as new platforms emerge.

But this takes us to the cookie discussion… We’ll get to that in a moment. Let’s first move from theory to reality.

Fireside chat

Betsey Chung is Chief Marketing Officer, Personal & Commercial Banking and Wealth at BMO Financial Group. She sat down with Sonia Carreno, President IAB Canada, who served as Chair for the Summit. The focus was Customer Relationships.

Chung works in a very complex environment. She has global responsibilities, and has to deal with substantial differences in culture and in technology.

This is compounded by the consumer dynamics that Joel noted. As a result, Chung’s major challenge – and favourite activity – is to be successful in acquiring new customers through social media.

The BMO brand is significant. However providing consistently excellent service must reinforce the brand, according to Chung.

Math and data are critical for Chung, who is a CA. However, she made the point that humanity trumps science.

And this has to inform a consistently changing technology environment. Chung’s philosophy is to emphasize pace over perfection. She believes that the IT folks understand this better than most.

Ready for cookies?

In November 2015, a press release from Modelez (which owns the OREO brand) announced:

Just in time for the most magical time of year, when merrymakers are searching for new ways to spread cheer, OREO is introducing OREO Colorfilled, a first-time-ever experience for the brand that lets fans customize the packaging of original OREO cookies

Fans could go to a website which had package wrapping designed by artists, in black and white. From there, “OREO Colorfilled encouraged fans to tap into their inner artist to transform a pack of OREO cookies into a personal holiday expression” by colouring the B&W package using digital tools.


The user puts in credit card information and the address of the lucky cookie monster. Holiday gifting done.

According to Mitch Joel, all of the development was done using the Facebook and Instagram platforms.

And one more thing….

The Mondelez release concluded:

“The new OREO Colorfilled packs digital store is the first step in a larger e-commerce and customization strategy for Mondelez International as we work towards our vision of growing our e-commerce revenue to $1 billion by 2020,” said Cindy Chen, Global Head of E-Commerce, at Mondelez International.

What do you think?

Marketing has had a strong tech bend since I’ve been involved with insurance. Digital seems to be raising it more than a notch.  I’d be very interested in your thoughts.