Facebook Workplace: marketing genius or false economy?

Conor Shaw
- Marketing - Nov 09, 2016

One of the most interesting discussions at this year’s Dmexco emerged from a panel with Nestlé's global head of marketing Tom Buday, who gave an unusual glimpse behind the curtain at how the world’s largest food and drink company had adopted Facebook Workplace.

In his speech, Buday pointed to a few campaigns Nestlé has designed specifically with Facebook Workplace. For milk powder Everyday, for example, the brand created two versions of an ad: one with high-resolution images aimed at Western markets and another that used less data and was served to consumers in India with smaller data plans. For a Coffee-mate campaign in the U.S., the team adapted a TV ad for Facebook in a few hours by playing with the creative.

Of course the natural response is a mixture of apprehension around the idea of officially adopting a social network service into the business, and intrigue around how this move might play out for Nestlé. Will the social network become the new Slack in this environment? How could the tool serve Nestlé not just internally, but in its external communications too?

Why is Facebook Workplace gaining traction with brands?

First off, let’s take a look at what Facebook Workplace offers. The enterprise service is a new portal that connects people to colleagues. It has a different colour scheme to the Facebook we know but essentially the company will now collect data about its users which crosses both their professional and personal personas.

To understand why this is of interest, we must accept a new reality. Customers no longer see their data as siloed. Now entering the workforce, the first cohort to be taught coding at school have grown up on Facebook and were the first adopters of Snapchat. They’ve always shared their data and are very familiar with how this data can be used to build a picture of their online identity.

As this generation take on positions of responsibility at work and become higher spenders in their personal lives, brands need to pay special attention as to how to target this audience effectively or risk falling behind. As the boundaries between work and play blur and complicate marketers’ jobs significantly, Facebook will enable brands to work entirely within the context of these fully merged online personas, where channels no longer correlate with personal or professional purchase interests.

Change of approach for unified personas

To address the level of personal segmentation that is adopted by this upcoming generation, marketers will need to evolve their strategies accordingly.

It simply won’t be enough for brands to understand someone’s job at work or what drives them to make a purchase for their company; brands will need to have a holistic view of the individual online persona to market to them most effectively. This is where Facebook stands to offer marketers a huge advantage in opening up our unified social identities.

These new insights formed of both work and play aspects of our online identities will become core instruments for the digital marketer. Are there common patterns amongst young professionals that work in fashion retail for instance? How does their job affect their persona as a consumer? Are they just loyal to brands that echo the one they work for? In B2B, if you work in manufacturing, how does this influence the hobbies you have? In finance, does the work you do tend to impact the lifestyle you have?

Marketers will be able to use all of this information to better target consumers despite their work and home personas crossing over through the devices they use and the social media sites they portray themselves on.

The emergence of hyper-personalisation

Data-driven marketing will become increasingly important to target the next generation correctly. It’s great news for brands that consumers are increasingly happy to give up information that can feed into their marketing campaigns, however they expect a value return for this information.

The real caveat to Facebook Workplace is there’s now no excuse not to tailor the experience. Brands must focus on creating hyper-personalised experiences in order to show a level of knowledge about their customers’ likes and dislikes, their position in the purchase journey and level of interest in the brand.

To meet this increasing demand for more relevant, personalised ads more and more brands will follow in the footsteps of Nestle as they look to connect with tech loving Generation Z. It’s customers that are setting the expectations today, not competitors, and businesses need to be ready to meet their demands – something which we know Nestlé has cleverly noted.

By Conor Shaw, EMEA MD at Marketo

Read the November 2016 issue of Business Review Europe magazine. 

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