NEW YORK — David R. Godsman joined The Coca-Cola Co. two years ago as the Atlanta-based company’s first chief digital officer. Since that time he has been tasked with what some may consider a massive undertaking.
“So my job is to help take a 132-year-old company that has traditionally been brick-and-mortar oriented and reposition that for the digital future and to think about how you take data and technology and apply that to all facets of the business in order to drive out inefficiency, ineffectiveness, whatever that objective may be,” Mr. Godsman told participants at the Morgan Stanley Global Consumer Conference held Nov. 13 in New York.
In a wide-ranging discussion about the company’s strategy in e-commerce and digital advertising, Mr. Godsman mentioned three specific areas in which Coca-Cola thinks about digitizing the company.
First, meeting the consumer’s needs.
“That really means how do we create more relevant and more personalized experiences wherever we tend to interact with that consumer, whether that’s in a digital environment or even in a physical environment whether using a digital device,” he said.
The second main area is digitizing with the company’s customers.
Mr. Godsman said Coca-Cola constantly is searching for ways to create more powerful tools and capabilities for the 27 million customer outlets it has relationships with around the world.
The third area involves digitizing the company.
“(It’s) really about how do we drive out productivity and efficiency within the company, how do we use data and technology to make ourselves more efficient and at the tasks that we do on a day-to-day basis, and/or how do we redeploy resources to another growing area of the company where we can use automation as a mechanism to complete those similar tasks, if you will,” he said.
Asked how Coca-Cola’s digital strategy differs from its competition, Mr. Godsman said the company is executing what he believes is “a very straightforward strategy.”
“I think where we’ll differ is in the execution of the strategy, not the strategy itself,” he explained. “Getting to know your consumers better, getting to understand their preferences and behaviors and then tailoring messages to them I think many people are, frankly, doing across the vertical. We’re very focused on the targeting elements of it. So we’re going after audiences. We’re not going after broad demographics … anymore. We’re looking for individuals in a ZIP code with a sports affiliation and we’re marketing to that audience independent of what we might do for the next ZIP code over, if you will.
“And so we’re operating multiple strategies at the same time. We’re operating multiple campaign types and executions of creative — within creative within those campaigns simultaneously, and I don’t think a lot of people are yet tackling that from a strategy perspective. And then ultimately, I think a big shift for us is we’re moving our marketing to have a path transaction, right? So in the digital world, at any given point in time, you should be able to buy something if you want to. And so opening that door and then allowing people if they’re interested in purchasing a 12-pack of soda or 6-pack of Coca-Cola, enabling that to happen with one of our customer partners is a shift as well, and you’re seeing us really lean into that earlier than I think others.”