ORLANDO: Kraft Foods believes that first-party data collected directly by companies and brands constitutes a uniquely powerful tool for understanding consumers and fully meeting their needs.

Deanie Elsner, evp/cmo of Kraft Foods Group, discussed this subject when speaking at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2014 Masters of Marketing conference.

And while she conceded that grocery manufacturers are not the most obvious candidates to lead the big data revolution, many players in this space have digital assets which supply a raft of invaluable information.

"Data, in this space, is the new currency," she said. (For more, including examples of how the firm is using data, read Warc's exclusive report: Kraft Foods translates big data into brand success.)

As with monetary currencies, however, not all forms of data possesses equal worth. And for Kraft, leveraging first-party data is a particularly profitable approach.

"It's data that you own; you have full transparency of that data; you understand everything about your consumer – their behaviours, their likes, their dislikes," Elsner said.

Alongside these strengths, "the best part" of first-party data, she continued, is that "it's proprietary and it's free" – making it both impossible to duplicate and an extremely cost-effective source of insights.

While many brand custodians are forced to rely on aggregated figures and estimates from audience modelling, Kraft Foods can thus tap into "the real thing".

More specifically, mixing sales figures with shopper, social and advertising data – among other sources – holds enormous potential for marketers. "Imagine how powerful that is," Elsner said.

And she left the ANA attendees in no doubt about the necessity of utilising such material if they are to acquire a deep knowledge of the customer.

"You need a lot of data today to understand how to get to this new consumer. You need to understand them behaviourally. You need to understand where they go, what they think, where they shop," she said.

"And once you action that data, you've got to have something to talk to this new consumer about. And that is how we're approaching big data."

Data sourced from Warc