How Chobani Closed the Loop Between Measurement & Activation

October 18, 2018 Ginna Hall

For marketers, making the connection between measuring their data and acting on it can be elusive. Many strive to “close the loop,” but wonder, what does that actually mean?

At this year’s Attribution Accelerator conference, Justine Landschulz, Senior Strategist, Digital, Social, Editorial at Chobani, and Brian Hyland, VP Marketing Effectiveness at Nielsen, took the stage to share how the leading Greek yogurt brand leverages attribution measurement to answer that question.

“We needed to find the perfect marriage of the right data, the right technology and the right analytics to build a closed-loop system to give [Chobani] the power and ownership over these decisions,” said Brian.

Attribution Accelerator 2018

An Innovative Brand

In 2005, Hamdi Ulukaya took a loan from the Small Business Administration, bought an old yogurt plant, and formed a small team to make the yogurt that he remembered from his childhood in Turkey. He called the company Chobani, “shepherd” in Turkish, to endow it with the hard-working and compassionate spirit of the mountain farmer.

Chobani now makes America's number one-selling Greek yogurt brand and is the second-largest yogurt manufacturer in the U.S. In 2016, the Chobani Flip was recognized as a Nielsen Breakthrough Innovation Award winner.

Challenges of a Changing Digital Landscape

Today, ten years after Chobani put its first yogurt on grocery shelves, it continues to innovate. This includes its approach to marketing. In 2017, the company had brought on a new media agency, built an in-house creative team, and was preparing marketing campaigns to launch in 2018. The company had big goals.

“Chobani is always trying to innovate within the category and the industry,” said Justine Landschulz, Senior Strategist, Digital, Social, Editorial at Chobani. “One of the challenges was evolving our marketing strategy to meet the changing digital landscape. We were selling a lot of yogurt but not online.”

Chobani wanted to evolve its marketing strategy. The team started digging into the company’s data -- what it looked like and how they measured it -- but they ran into three challenges:

  1. Much of the data they needed access to was behind walled gardens. They had minimal transparency with their partners.
  2. Performance wasn’t being measured consistently because they were working with lots of different vendors using different methodologies.
  3. They weren’t getting the data at the cadence they needed it.

“As we took a look back, we realized it was very murky. We were doing a ton of research and weren’t receiving the data until a year later, so we couldn’t really use it to inform our future strategy,” said Justine.

She added, “It was hard for us to say, “This tactic worked really well’ or ‘We used this tactic last year and saw improvement.’ The research was also very time-consuming. It had a low impact and a high cost.”

Attribution Accelerator 2018

Seeking an Agile Attribution Solution

Chobani realized it needed a better solution that provided ownership, speed, consistency, transparency, and agility. They were making big investments and wanted to make sure they had a long-term impact.

“We needed a multi-touch attribution model that would keep our data from getting lost along the way,” said Justine.

That’s when it turned to Nielsen. Nielsen helped Chobani upgrade its measurement tools and practices to gain actionable insights and drive marketing performance in five ways:

  • Ownership: To get the insight it needed to evolve strategy, Chobani needed long-term ownership of its data.
  • Speed: Chobani is a nimble organization with a small team. It needed a solution that could deliver results every month.
  • Consistency: It also needed a solution that provided a consistent look back, with a partner that would provide key metrics that they could use to measure all of their efforts.
  • Transparency: Chobani has multiple partnerships. The best way to leverage them is to share complete information, which requires two-way transparency.
  • Agility: The company needed a solution that would allow it to be agile and make fine-tune optimizations to meet the purchase frequency cycle of its customers.

Multi-Touch Attribution Meets Chobani’s Needs

Chobani engaged Nielsen to provide actionable, timely, consistent data. The first thing Nielsen did was equip Chobani with a robust data set that it could use for refining audience and targeting, leveraging lifestyle, behavioral, and purchase data to build refined audiences and develop strategies around them.

This data set would also enable the Chobani marketing team to develop media strategies to more effectively leverage digital as a platform to complement what they were doing in TV.

Once the audiences and media were in place, Nielsen began monitoring performance very closely to look at optimal frequency levels based on response curves. To eliminate waste, it was important to avoid delivering the same creative to the same individuals.

Lastly, Nielsen implemented multi-touch attribution so that Chobani could see what was driving sales by channel, tactic, and creative. With those tools in place, Chobani began to be able to monitor and optimize performance in flight and evaluate ROI at the most granular level.

Attribution Accelerator 2018

Gaining Operational, Creative and Strategic Insights

Chobani leveraged assets that they had in place and the annual research from a marketing mix model, and integrated that with multi-touch attribution to gain a holistic view of its marketing performance. As a result, Choban gained three different types of insights:

Operational insights

Partnering with Nielsen allowed Chobani to see performance across all tactics. Implementing a global frequency cap was an easy way to make sure their dollars are being spent more efficiently.

“We were able to optimize spend toward our highest-performing tactics and audience segments, and maximize the value of our dollars in market,” said Justine.

Creative insights

Chobani used multi-touch attribution to extend and complement its TV narrative and focus the messaging. The team learned that aligning creative with audience was important and was able to create different iterations and deliver those to the right target.

Strategic insights

With multi-touch attribution, the team achieved transparent data access, which allowed it to see what was happening in flight while owning the data and maximizing the long-term equity.

Most importantly, they gained a continuous feedback loop that allowed them to build insights into future strategy while also making adjustments in real time. With clear and measurable success metrics, Chobani could focus on key things that moved its business.

“We wanted to empower ourselves with the right data to make the right choices. We found that if we have the right data sets with control and transparency, we have all the information to build a sound and successful strategy,” concluded Justine.

Watch Now

Attribution Accelerator 2018 Session: Closing the Loop Between Measurement and Activation at Chobani. Watch our session to learn how Chobani drove improvements in its media allocation through the use of Nielsen’s attribution measurement and Marketing Cloud DMP.

Attribution Accelerator 2018 Panel: Activation - Attribution Focused on Performance. Watch the panel discussion with marketing experts from Reynolds, Safelite, Chobani, Nielsen and others.

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