Data silos are real. Here’s how Samsonite broke them down – and optimised their digital advertising

Ernst-Jan van Leeuwen / August 2019

Today’s marketplace is increasingly complex. Often, marketers are faced with operating across multiple countries, as well as managing a variety of brands and sales channels. Not to mention a fractured and diverse media landscape.

As a result, marketers are grappling with data silos created by this system and finding it increasingly difficult to track, report, and optimise key metrics.

“Managing an international organisation can be complex,” says Edouard Wattel, Samsonite’s Digital & Ecommerce General Manager. “We saw that to reach the level we wanted, it was going to be necessary to build a framework that would ensure alignment between all stakeholders and objectives.”

Samsonite, which operates across 17 countries from its headquarters in Belgium, made the difficult decision to transform its international operations last year. Using a Digital Maturity Study created by Google and Boston Consulting Group as a guide, the brand set about embracing user-centricity and data-driven practices, with a goal of pushing themselves into the top percentile of digitally mature companies.

Discover how Samsonite underwent digital marketing transformation

Focusing on digital maturity

So, how does a company that has been operating for more than a century approach such a change? As the first step in their new approach, Samsonite centralised media buying through their own Google Marketing Platform1 (GMP) license.

“For us it’s very important to have a data-driven marketing decision, because there could be a lot of subjectivity,” explains Wattel. “It’s important to base our plans on facts, with one view, in order to make the best of our investment.”

The GMP license enabled them to fully consolidate their media spend, establish a single customer cookie view for better optimisation and personalisation, and gain full transparency and ownership of their campaign data.

Samsonite took an audience-first approach to define their strategy. By understanding what their end user was looking for, they were able to follow up with relevant campaign messages throughout the customer journey.

Taking advantage of GMP’s machine learning, Samsonite also used data-driven attribution to maximise performance, budget allocation and return across the many ecommerce sites and sales channels active within the regions they operated in.

Finally, following the digital maturity template, Samsonite adjusted their organisational structure to ensure better integration between previously siloed brand, creative, trade, product, and technology teams.

Working alongside their agency partners, this cross-functional approach ensured that the full range of stakeholder perspectives were considered during campaign ideation, helping drive business performance across all 17 countries.

Greater harmony, efficiency, and performance

Reflecting on the outcome of the project, Wattel recognises some clear benefits. He explains: “Data-centricity has allowed us to improve efficiency by dynamically monitoring our performance and taking immediate action.”

In practice this has led to some significant performance improvements for the brand, with data-driven campaigns in 2018 registering a 25% increase in return-on-ad-spend and a 77% reduction in costs.

“Because of our focus on digital maturity we now have a greater grip on campaign performance, and a more harmonised and effective approach across the business.”

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