Mars Wrigley recently announced their goal to achieve Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions across their value chain by 2050. In addition, the manufacturers of chocolate, chewing gum, mints, and fruity confections, embarked on another Net Zero journey – the “Zero Waste Research” initiative.
The “Zero Waste Research” initiative is about getting the best use out of research, knowledge, and insights with the goal to extract as much value out of every research investment as possible.
At this 2021’s TMRE (The Market Research Event), Christina Mickow, Associate Director of NA Portfolio Insights at Mars Wrigley, and Jennifer Greene, Account Director at Market Logic, shared how the partnership between the two companies co-created a smarter, more innovative insights management platform to underpin their journey to Zero Waste Research.
Siloed knowledge, gate keeping, and duplicative work
Knowledge management has always been a priority for Mars Wrigley, Christina said. In 2015, Mars began working with Market Logic, but the Sensory and Insights organization was traditionally the main user of the tool. And when the global pandemic hit at the same time as Mars was undergoing an internal reinvention to create centralized resources and do more with fewer people, Christina said it was time to push its insights organization further.
After being in the market research industry for over 20 years, Christina’s seen time and time again how insights professionals put themselves in the role of data gatekeeper, perpetuating data silos instead of making insights more accessible. It becomes a vicious cycle, she said. When someone leaves the organization, all their knowledge and hard work leaves with them, resulting in expensive duplicative work for the organization.
“In 2020, Mars took a bold step to rethink knowledge management and the role it played within the organization,” Christina said. “We really needed to unlock the insights capability and provide open access across our organization – to really democratize insights.”
Under the microscope: Mars rethinks knowledge management
Christina said Mars needed to challenge their current insights process, including their Market Logic tool, and see if there was a better way. So, they brought together over 100 internal and external experts, including five competitors in the knowledge management space, and they put themselves under a microscope.
“We conducted market research on ourselves and our processes,” Christina said. “We really took design thinking seriously. We did stakeholder interviews, we experimented live with new tools, and we did new software trials.”
After Market Logic technology came out on top during the first round of analysis, the teams dug deeper into a second phase of experiments, a process that supercharged their partnership.
Collaborative innovation reconfirms partnership with Market Logic
In the second phase, Market Logic reviewed the results of Mars’ analysis and put together a new prototype platform based on the feedback from the first round, Jennifer said. Market Logic’s head of design joined a Mars-led design thinking workshop to fine-tune the user interface and user experience. Then, the new platform was released back to Mars testers for another round of analysis.
Jennifer said innovation and constructive criticism on both sides supercharged the relationship between Market Logic and Mars. “Both teams really pushed each other to excel, and Market Logic developers created something new, which we now proudly offer to our other clients as a result,” Jennifer said. “And we got into a nice groove where feedback was welcomed on both sides.”
This series of push and pull activities tested how well the teams work together, and the process confirmed on both sides that Mars and Market Logic were still a great fit as partners. They seamlessly launched the 3.0 platform in October 2021.
“Synapse” – an insights platform born of fearless experimentation and collaboration
Mars’ insights platform, called “Synapse,” features a drastically improved search experience, a fresh new UX, and easier and quicker uploads to delight users. Only launched a month ago, the platform will grow to create a single source of truth for the organization, consolidate siloed information across business lines and regions, generate more insights to drive quicker decision making, and help the insights team increase stickiness with engaging business storytelling features.
“We fearlessly experimented with new tools that enabled us to become faster, more agile, and ultimately transform our ways of working, giving us more time to focus on the stuff that really matters,” Christina said.
Jennifer added that they’re currently in the process of integrating the system with some of Mars’ top partners, and Market Logic continues to make improvements in its machine learning and AI technology to increase speed to insights.
“We’re about one month post-launch, and we’ve already seen some large upticks in usage across some of our key metrics,” Jennifer said. “The zero-waste research journey is a continuous one with a future full of integrations and connections that truly make this platform a one-stop-shop for all Mars insights.”