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Fast data is best, says AB InBev

News, 04 July 2016
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LONDON/NEW YORK: The current model for collecting and analysing data is outdated and marketers should be bold enough to make decisions at speed without waiting for every little bit of research, says Anheuser-Busch InBev's VP of Marketing in the US.

In an interview with Marketing Week, Jorn Socquet, who has worked at the multinational brewer for 11 years, said the industry has data at its finger tips but too often the research process can take eight weeks to deliver answers to marketers.

"You might be making mistakes on the margin of error, but I believe the speed of which you get data and make decisions is more important than accuracy of the answer you get," he said.

"Even if you're off by a little bit, how much would it change your decision? That's the question you always have to ask. We as marketers are sometimes not ambitious and bold enough to make decisions because we think we already know the answer."

On top of his concern that marketers are not reacting fast enough to the data at their disposal, Socquet believes the industry needs to do more to hold the attention of consumers.

"I'm a consumer too, and when I watch TV and I get interrupted by four minutes of advertising, I still struggle to see anything that really inspires me and grabs my attention," he explained.

"That is something that is very concerning to me. We have to move away from the model of interruption to the model of gaining and retaining attention."

AB InBev is currently in the process acquiring London-listed SABMiller for $100bn and its bid received a boost last week when the proposed merger was cleared by the South African competition authorities.

If the deal finally gets through later this year, the combined entity will become the largest brewer in the world and Socquet wanted to emphasise AB InBev's focus on corporate responsibility.

He said responsible consumption has always been one of the company's publicly stated goals and pointed to its Budweiser Super Bowl anti-drunk driving campaign, which featured Helen Mirren, the British actress, as an example of its responsible approach.

"It is up to leaders [such as ourselves] to make the world a safe place. If you look at the alcohol industry, we need to make sure we get this done," he said.

Data sourced from Marketing Week, Reuters, Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff

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