Winning Approaches From Two Great Minds

Success as a CMO is based on accelerating growth and helping define its future via “thriving, clearly defined brands and valuing the people in the marketing department generating the insights.”

This position was reflected by Greg Lyons, chief marketing officer at PepsiCo Beverages North America (PBNA). He was awarded the very first ARF Great Minds, CMO Award by Gregg Lindner, president Americas GFK & chairman MRI-Simmons, which sponsored this award, and who interviewed him.  

With the explosion in data and analytic models, this new ARF Award is an outstanding and timely addition to its various “recognition” events. It acknowledges a CMO who has embraced research, insights, and data analytics to drive growth, brand value, and/or better consumer experience.  

As a Great Minds winner, the contributions of research, science, data, analytics, and empathy embraced by Lyons and his Pepsi team offer marketers cornerstones for establishing great brands. Lyons leads the holistic business, brand, and consumer agenda across PepsiCo's $22 billion beverage portfolio in the U.S. Does he sleep?  



Trying to bring brands “closer to the consumer” has been a marketing focus for Pepsi brands, and numerous new capabilities have been brought in-house to better leverage data.

While we could question how much of the "tsunami of data and science of marketing in a digital world" should be brought in-house, it is clearly working for Pepsi.

One priority of this tricky in-house strategy has been building first-party data to better understand the overall beverage consumption of consumers to refine the targeting and creative message to each beverage segment integrated for each brand.

It is the meaningful integration and harmonization of first-party and third-party data that the advertising and media industries continue to grapple with -- however, no mention was made of involvement by Pepsi's advertising or media agencies. Surely they are collaborating?

Driving off its growing first-party database, Lyons' team has built a proprietary tool to measure and adjust PepsiCo's media spend based on ROI measures in real-time.  

Lyons underscored further cornerstones to success notably the value of “listening to and analyzing social media to help inform innovation and e-commerce strategies.” Clearly, much of this research, along with Place IQ, has brought a better understanding of local skews in the key categories and for its brands.

It has paid dividends, notably understanding the “new” patterns of convenience store visits in a COVID world that has significantly shifted the CPG/beverage consumption world. This underlines the principle of "Think globally. Act locally." 

In addressing COVID-19, he espoused another winning philosophy. “Pepsi brands have been attempting to authentically help. To date, ~$50 million has been donated.”

Lyons highlighted the importance of empathy in such times, which has become “more important than ever for all of us and our touchpoints both corporate and personal.” 

Beyond the massive amount of digital data, Lyons emphasized the importance of simply talking directly with consumers in terms of their beverage decisions. “You must go beyond data to really understand your consumer.” Interestingly, tight small focus groups are still a relevant marketing tool.  

As part of the same ARF Great Minds event, Josh Chasin, chief measurability officer, VideoAmp, was recognized with the Erwin Ephron Demystification Award by Leslie Wood, CRO, NCSolutions, who also interviewed him. Media Post reported on this July 16, 2020.

In recognizing Erwin Ephron's contribution to media and campaign planning, Chasin suggested -- and I believe wisely -- that Erwin's emphasis on target audience reach and recency still holds a winning key today, albeit with nuance.

This theory requires sustaining weekly reach for as long as possible without regard to frequency of exposure as long as the budget was available to deliver the highest reach every time. As Erwin said, “the “box is empty!” 

Erwin's book, Media Planning - From Recency to Engagement is still available on Amazon and Chasin highly recommends it.

Wood and Chasin both recognized that today's plethora of large varied databases -- notably from digital source capture -- offer the ability to identify brand targets more accurately beyond demos and geographic limitations of the “old days” to site visitors or actual purchases.

These data sets also go beyond the traditional approach to collecting marketing or media currency data based on surveys and/or panels. However, Chasin emphasized “the need for not only relevant but quality data sources.” He emphasized that many of these available data sets -- which extend well beyond media consumption -- are typically flawed and biased, and Wood agreed.

The solution is in understanding “how to harmonize and cross-calibrate these complex multifaceted databases.” This position is surely becoming more critical based on the wonky data -- often not properly sourced -- that is being foisted on the industry.  

Chasin's view -- that media and advertising measurement is moving from macro (broad targets) to micro (one on one) driven by the digital age -- is spot on. He referenced the current WFA investigation of approaches to cross-media measurement to provide an understanding of the “value” of every impression (be extremely careful how impression is defined) that is purchased.  

I believe that the WFA needs to follow a basic hierarchy that evolves from the ARF Media Model, and Chasin seems to agree. His hierarchy is based on determining and measuring what device, what household, what people, what type of people (Attributes), what level of exposure, what is working and not working, and what results.

And then came the wise warning: 

“The shift to micro may be a paradox with the increasing consumer privacy legislation.” Erwin would be so proud of Josh.  

In a similar way to Chasin, Lyons and his team are clearly enhancing consumer centric initiatives via quality research, data, analytics and beyond to make better marketing and brand decisions.  

The final WFA paper should move the industry forward significantly. Stay tuned.   

These two great minds should be applauded for winning these unique ARF awards.

3 comments about "Winning Approaches From Two Great Minds".
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  1. Joshua Chasin from VideoAmp, August 26, 2020 at 3:26 p.m.

    "Erwin would be proud of Josh..." Aww. This made my day. Thanks TJ. 

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, August 26, 2020 at 6:26 p.m.

    Congratulations Josh.   Well deserved.

  3. Joshua Chasin from VideoAmp replied, August 28, 2020 at 1:01 p.m.

    THank you kindly, my brother from down under.

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