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A Multinational Food and Beverage Leader Sees Growth from Data and Digital Transformation With Targeted Proofs of Concept


A leading global snack company with a variety of sub-brands, was looking to create deeper, more engaged experiences across its brands by using first-party data assets for efficient and effective marketing. The company wanted to build out its capabilities to accelerate consumer-centric growth by optimizing media, driving valuable impressions, creating deeper personalized engagement, and enabling swift product innovation.

To get there, the organization needed to pivot from mass-media marketing and start gathering and acting on first-party data. It needed a centralized technology infrastructure to integrate and act on data effectively to engage consumers in direct response channels. At the same time, the company wanted to prove the value of its new capabilities and marketing initiatives quickly and within budget constraints.


Merkle was selected as the partner to enable the client's customer-centric vision. We identified three proofs of concept using first-party data and personalization to prove value. The use cases were identified as follows:

Integrate data: Merkle built a single customer view for marketing efforts. This involved bringing over 20 data sources into Merkle’s Rapid Audience Layer (RAL) solution and proprietary identity platform, Merkury to consolidate customer records and establish identity. Lytics customer data platform (CDP) was integrated with RAL to manage and activate audiences.

Collect data: Increase data collection and resolve data to individual customers. This involved collecting richer zero-party data on customer snack preferences, tagging over 25 web properties to connect identities, and also using consumer-focused engagement activities to gather first-party data.

Enable analytics:  Develop business and marketing insights from the data to power the marketing itself — such as machine learning in the CDP, segment insights, and channel insights.

From there, three proofs of concept were developed for three sub-brands.

Capture first-party data on owned properties: The client's CDP was used to ask for email addresses on the Snackworks recipe website. Collecting this data converted unknown users, which enhanced media targeting and personalization.

Use the CDP to enable website personalization: This effort focused on changing user behavior by delivering personalization on the Sour Patch Kids website, which has an e-commerce component for fans and gifting. Using the CDP, a pop-up offer was shown on the shopping cart page for consumers who were engaged in the purchase funnel.

Activate first-party data in media: Power media to drive submissions and conversions. For one cookie brand, the Facebook connector was used in Lytics to create look-alike audiences in a campaign that drove people to a promotion.


Merkle helped introduce a culture shift and up-level the in-house skills. The company now has the capability to enact D2C marketing at the enterprise and brand level. The proofs of concept delivered value for the company, which continues to build on these successes to expand the program across the brand. Specifically, the proofs of concept delivered:


more signups by implementing a modal on Snackworks website 


more pages per session and 22% higher average session duration among the test group in the Sour Patch Kids website engagement initiative. 


more effective cost per submissions and a 12X higher submission rate using email-based look-alike audiences for a cookie brand. 

Keys to success

  • Identifying valuable use cases in the context of the various business models and sub-brands.
  • Integrating, collecting, and activating data to enable a single customer view.
  • Using a proof-of-concept approach to quickly demonstrate value against tight budget and time constraints.

Discover how we did it. Contact us today.

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