LONDON: Unilever, the FMCG giant, believes the intersection of mobile marketing and big data holds major potential for increasing sales and encouraging eco-friendly behaviour among shoppers.

Jay Altschuler, Unilever's global director of media innovation, told Econsultancy that this channel would play a crucial role in the organisation's efforts to achieve two main corporate targets by 2020.

"Unilever has ambitions to double the size of our business whilst halving our environmental impact. And we believe data-driven marketing will allow us to become more connected with our consumers to ultimately deliver on this ambition," he said.

He argued the best recent campaign Unilever has run via this medium was in South Africa for OMO detergent, based on the insight that mobile credit is the "most valuable currency" for many consumers.

More specifically, it formed a tie-up with Brandtone, the specialist agency, to add unique codes to packaging that offered free talk time to customers who answered a few research questions.

"[This] allowed the OMO brand to develop a direct relationship with our most valuable consumers and be nimble enough to respond in real-time based on market conditions," he said.

Alongside a 20% spike in sales and a return some 3.5 times greater than the original investment, this scheme provided for precise audience segmentation and thus for true "data-driven marketing".

"This is a brilliant campaign because it is so simple. It also proves that mobile marketing can be easy to execute, isn't overly technical, can work in any market for any phone and can drive real meaningful results," said Altschuler.

Looking externally, Altschuler praised Fiat's eco:Drive initiative, where the Italian carmaker has installed systems in its cars to track a driver's speed, fuel usage and CO2 emissions (Warc subscribers can read an eco:Drive case study here).

It built an app so consumers could access this data, and showed how much money they would save by changing their habits behind the wheel. It was also possible to share this information using social media.

"People who used the service saved €500 a year which resulted in less emissions and also saved money," said Altschuler. "[This] is a great example of harnessing the power of data to drive sustainability."

Data sourced from Econsultancy; additional content by Warc staff