HEINEKEN USA’s Consumer Data Journey: An Inside Look

Industry: Retail|5 Minute Read

HEINEKEN USA’s Consumer Data Journey: An Inside Look

First-party data isn’t solely a strategic asset for traditional and digitally native retailers.

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies that historically lack access to customer data or concede it to retail partners are also now embracing this valuable resource to build stronger customer relationships and realize better marketing and business outcomes.

Consider BlueConic customer HEINEKEN USA.

The multi-brand company began its consumer data journey back in 2016. And the long-term goals for its journey were clear from the start:

  • Facilitate better data-driven decision-making across growth-focused teams
  • Resolve identities to create a clearer picture of its prospects and customers
  • Leverage aggregated data across brands (HEINEKEN also owns Dos Equis and Tecate) to improve segmentation, analysis, and targeted activation across channels
  • Build a consumer privacy-centric, consent-oriented engagement strategy

HEINEKEN USA Director of Consumer Data Strategy Rebekah (Bek) Kennedy spoke with the BlueConic team at the 2021 MarTech Conference about the company’s first-party data utilization efforts using our customer data platform (CDP).

Specifically, the direct-to-consumer (DTC) engagement programs her marketing team is now able to create for the first time thanks to the ‘golden consumer records’ built in BlueConic.

consumer data strategy

Tech stack audit: The starting point of HEINEKEN USA’s consumer data journey

As is often the case when companies launch customer engagement transformation initiatives, Bek noted HEINEKEN USA’s efforts started with an audit of its existing solutions.

Initially, it began its consumer data journey with a data management platform (DMP).

“But they’re built on cookies, right?” Bek stated. “And we know that addressability is kind of a crumbling foundation, and so we’re moving towards more persistent IDs that consumers are able to opt into and have some kind of value exchange inherent within that.”

For HEINEKEN, storing a persistent identity for each customer is now possible with our CDP.

BlueConic enables each of the three brands — Heineken, Tecate, and Dos Equis — to build customer profiles that progressively update for known and anonymous individuals known and anonymous as they engage with the company both online and offline.

“[W]e’re moving towards more persistent IDs that consumers are able to opt into and have some kind of value exchange inherent within that.”

Thanks to these persistent profiles, the company was able to dispense with its DMP and utilize consented first-party consumer data that is always accurate and up-to-date instead.

With BlueConic, Bek’s department, along with other growth-focused teams across the business, can now more efficiently understand and interact with its target audience.

“Our goals here in the U.S. are really to use data as a way to ensure our media spend is as efficient and effective as possible and to glean insights about consumers as they engage with our brands,” Bek relayed.

How HEINEKEN USA evaluated the CDP landscape to find the right platform

Bek noted it was important for HEINEKEN USA’s tech decision-makers to carefully consider what use cases it wanted to carry out with a CDP, then identify which vendor would help the company execute those use cases in a scalable, streamlined manner.

“A really integral part of the process is to prioritize the use cases that you want to achieve moving forward, because that helps you laser-focus on what you want to achieve [as an organization],” Bek declared.

Once they knew what they wanted to accomplish with a customer data platform — including and especially DTC diversification and data science and analytics democratization — Bek said the company’s CDP choice became clear.

“We were really impressed with the onboarding plan [provided by BlueConic], so I felt really safe in regards to that strategic vision,” Bek stated during our MarTech Conference session.

“We were really impressed with the onboarding plan [provided by BlueConic].”

An added bonus, of sorts, that gave BlueConic an edge over other CDP vendors HEINEKEN USA considered was our platform’s built-in consent management functionality — something that helped the business “future-proof” its engagement strategy, per Bek.

Given HEINEKEN works with multiple external agencies which utilize the company’s consumer data, Bek said it was paramount that all data imported into the CDP it onboarded be able to federate real-time consent statuses to other tools in its stack.

Complying with data-deletion requests has also been simplified with BlueConic.

“The fact that you can go in [BlueConic], if there’s any requests for deletion under CCPA … we’re able to go and easily fulfill those quickly, which is great,” Bek proclaimed.

dtc business model

Multiple growth initiatives and key programs now possible with BlueConic

Embracing DTC diversification as a CPG and making first-party consumer data accessible and actionable to all growth teams are two big benefits BlueConic offers HEINEKEN USA.

At a more granular level, Bek stated our CDP now enables the marketing org to execute on key programs that were previously difficult (or impossible) prior to BlueConic.

“Excitingly, we’re going to be able to launch our first email marketing pilot this year with one of our brands, which is super exciting,” Bek said.

“Onboarding a CDP was the first step in really being able to own and manage our own data and understanding our key audiences in more detail.”

Bek added marketing campaigns like this previously relied on third-party data.

Now, the business can leverage its own first-party consumer data and, consequently, deliver more compelling, mutually beneficial customer experiences across channels.

“A [customer data platform] partner that’s a thought leader is really important.”

Especially to individuals who continually engage with the company and express interest in learning about future products and services offered by HEINEKEN USA, according to Bek.

“From an operational point of view, it’s great, because we already have loads of opt-ins that people have said they’d like to hear more from us in the future,” Bek noted.

“So to have them all within the BlueConic already is great.”

With BlueConic at the heart of its technology stack, Bek stated HEINEKEN USA is ready to more directly — and effectively — engage its audience: from establishing customer loyalty programs to offering new event-based experiences.

Moreover, by having BlueConic available to support the company with its growth initiatives and key programs and offer helpful insights as needed, HEINEKEN USA can continue on its consumer data journey — and continue to realize its desired ROI.

“A [CDP] partner that’s a thought leader is really important,” Bek said.

Watch our entire 2021 MarTech Conference session with HEINEKEN USA to learn how the company built a ‘golden consumer record’ with our pure-play customer data platform.

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