Coca-Cola: To avoid getting stuck in a ‘marketing bubble’ marketers have got to listen

Coca-Cola’s senior director of media operations underlined the importance of being customer-centric in order to avoid siloed thinking.

Marketers should step out of their “marketing bubble” and use consumers as a “listening tool” to help create and market products, according to Coca-Cola’s senior director of media operations for Europe.

Speaking at a Spotify advertiser event yesterday (1 May), Matt Dowling discussed how Coca-Cola has leaned on fans to help create its products throughout its 132-year history.

“One of the key things that we try to focus on is being consumer-centric,” he said. “That’s not just in the way that we market our products, but also how we design our products and the products we use.”

Dowling said there’s a “spectrum” of loyal Coca-Cola fans, but the key is keeping consumers at the “heart” of its strategy.

“It’s really important that we can listen to consumers, take in their feedback and not live in a marketing bubble,” he said.

Coca-Cola CEO: Key to growth is matching consumer desires

He added that having “quantitative and rich” feedback from a fan base is “really valuable” and emphasised that its products are based on consumer insights, consumer demands, and “listening” to what people want.

Diversity and inclusion in marketing

In a later panel discussing how brands have a responsibility to be more inclusive, WACL president and former Google marketing boss, Nishma Robb, also spoke about marketers living in a “bubble”.

“I think there’s a lot that we can do to open up our sphere of influence to understand our customers,” she said.

She emphasised that if marketers want to talk to audiences in a “truly authentic” way and move away from advertising that can be “darn bland”, they will have to enter a space that might be perceived as “risky”.

“Figure out your risk. Nine times out of 10, it’s not risk, it’s just not understood,” she added.

She advised marketers that if they’ve created an ad that is “smart and resonates” with a diverse community, they should go “deep” into that community to understand how they felt about it.

“If you’ve made a connection or an impact with an engaged type audience, you succeeded,” she said.

She added that marketers have the “greatest gift” with the ability to make the “conscious decision” on where to place ads and who to partner with.

“Creativity is what solves the world’s problems, creates visibility and makes people feel included,” she emphasised. “It is the ship that makes society work”.