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How Coca-Cola Uses Marketing Experimentation as a Superpower

Article originally published in February 2023 by Stuart Brameld. Most recent update in March 2023.

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This is a summary of a recent discussion between Kelly Edwards and Romain Mallard discussing how marketing experimentation is transforming the Coca Cola brand.

Kelly is a partner at Bain & Company, one of the world’s leading management consulting firms. Romain is Global VP of Marketing Network Operations & Capabilities at Coca-Cola, the world’s largest non-alcoholic beverages company.

The video

“Ahead of speaking at Cannes Lions, Romain Mallard and Kelly Edwards discuss how Coke is using marketing experimentation to seize new opportunities, highlighting how both marketing and capability experimentation are transforming the company’s brand and culture.”

Bain & Company
Click the image to watch the video

Why experiments?

Romain talks about how we are moving from a world of opinions to a world of data, and that marketing must be part of this change. He acknowledges that whilst marketing experimentation was initially confined to technology brands, that consumer packaged goods brands such as Adidas (and now Coca-Cola) are adopting this new way of running marketing teams.

Experimentation benefits

During the conversation Romain highlights 5 benefits to adopting marketing experimentation at Coca-Cola:

  1. The ability to drive cultural change through experimentation at scale
  2. The ability to learn in a systematic manner
  3. Removing the fear of failure and making it very safe for people to try things
  4. Moving from opinions to facts, and enabling decisions to be made much faster
  5. A renewed enthusiasm for marketers by changing the way they work

What’s next?

Romain believes experimentation should replace the old way of doing things and become a fundamental part of marketing.

He believes experimentation can deliver value not just in marketing, but anywhere where there is significant resource and money invested without a clear learning plan. He cites business areas such as innovation, sustainability and e-commerce at Coca-Cola that would also benefit from adopting a culture of experimentation.

“At some point, experimentation should be everywhere.”

Romain Mallard, Global VP, Coca-Cola

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