Reinventing Marketing
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Erick Laseca

Erick Laseca


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Trendsetters: Erick Laseca, Kraft's Big Data Evangelist, Talks about Next-Gen Relationship Marketing
Ask Erick Laseca what he believes to be the key forces empowering marketing today, and he'll answer without hesitation: "Technology and Big Data." In fact, he'll argue, "The history of marketing has seen slight improvements on the initial concept of ‘Spray & Pray'—until now."

Erick has been involved in Big Data long before the term became the revolutionary business trend it is today. He has helped three top global companies launch Big Data programs– as an internal employee, not as a consultant. Plus, he's collaborated with stakeholders across these organizations—from those executives funding the programs to the end-users who leverage the tools and insights, while also participating in hiring committees for data science talent and steering committees for technology/data-sourcing to find and integrate the best tools and information.

Today, his Corporate Data Strategy role at Kraft Foods is as the Marketing Information Systems Lead for the company's Center of Excellence or Looking Glass Command Center. He is currently working to implement a Big Data capability that will leverage many of company's primary data sources with layers of automation and visualization to enhance its ability to serve consumers.

Kraft Foods Group Inc., the well-known grocery manufacturer of Velveeta cheese and Oscar Mayer products, is headquartered in the Chicago suburbs. Among its many brands are Planters, Gevalia, Grey Poupon, Maxwell House, Jell-O, Polly-O, Kool-Aid, and, of course, the iconic Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Kraft Mayo, and Kraft Singles. In late March, it was announced the company would merge with H.J. Heinz Co, owned by 3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway Inc., to form the world's fifth-largest food and beverage company. The merger is expected to close later this year.

Erick often refers to the equation: "Big Data + Technology = Data Lake." So what does this mean? He explains, "Traditionally, Marketing was focused on aggregated data. Today's Data Lake means that Marketing can focus on consumer-level data, and now, by using analytics processes effectively, Marketing can actually get to proactive decision-making of greater consumer value. Ultimately, this also enables the Marketing function to be the driver for competitive advantage in the marketplace."

He further explains that today's Marketing Mission increasingly focuses on increasing relevancy, strategically driving growth and improving marketing effectiveness or ROI. The Data Lake now enhances the Marketing Mission by enabling a propriety consumer view, increasing a consumer base, providing a single view of data that encompasses and integrates internal and external sources, and builds analytics capabilities to Target, Recommend, Personalize and provide better insights.

Ultimately, according to Kraft's Erick Laseca, "Big Data and Technology create precision." So along with better listening, engagement, profiling and media mix optimization, Next-Gen Relationship Marketing delivers on these benefits:

  • Improved campaign effectiveness and ROI
  • Better cross-selling and up-selling which result in increased revenue
  • Better targeting which leads to higher response rates and acquisition
  • Greater relevancy with consumers via contextual relationship marketing throughout the entire consumer journey
  • Greater brand loyalty
  • Richer, more up-to-date consumer and shopper personas or profiles

Or, as he says succinctly, "To leverage the power of our data, we need to build a platform to identify consumers based on their behaviors that helps us deliver the right message about the right product to the right person the right amount of times."

Erick Laseca began his career in Big Data at SC Johnson, creating a Big Data capability from what started off as a CRM program. He then used his expertise at Allstate where he saw the opportunity to leverage insurance-specific data like telematics, customer credit and fraud detection data with widely available digital data to enhance marketing decisions. Erick applied the output of these data to sophisticated applications such as optimal ad sequencing, multi-touch attribution modeling and customer segmentation/profile enhancement, among others.

Erick has a graduate degree in business and advanced statistics from Northwestern University and he is currently pursuing a MBA in Marketing Strategy and General Management at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is also a public speaker on Big Data and a member of several industry groups and associations that are shaping the space.