Miguel Zorrilla Transcript

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Mark: Welcome to Family First: The Wild World of Marketing to Parents. My name is Mark Giovino, CEO and founder at the Allionce Group

I’d like to welcome Miguel Zorrilla to this episode of Family First. Miguel has impressive experience leading marketing at some of the most popular CPG brands, including Snickers, Twix, Milky Way, and Three Musketeers during his time at Mars, and most recently Butterfinger and now Kinder Joy as a part of the Ferrero portfolio.

He is widely considered a rising superstar in marketing, and it’s not hard to imagine him someday as a CMO leading some of the brands we all know and love. Miguel, thanks for joining me!

Miguel: Thanks for having me, Mark, appreciate the time!

Mark: What are some challenges you’ve uncovered in your experience marketing to parents?

Miguel: You know, I just wanna first start and say I appreciate the way you phrased it in terms of marketing to parents, because I do want to underscore that at Ferrero, we really do strictly focus our efforts on marketing to adults that really have the purchasing power and the decision making. We, as a business, we are really industry leaders in responsible marketing and advertising.

“now there’s so many roles within the family with purchasing power and decision making”

So we’re committed not to market to children. So I just wanted to recognize you for phrasing in that way.  With that being said, when we talk about challenges, and if I had to pick one particular trend that we’re watching closely, it’s really about the increasing importance of what we’re calling the extended family and the extended caregivers.

So marketers used to have to simply, for lack of a better term, reach mom. And the job would be done. But now there’s so many roles within the family with purchasing power and decision making. Obviously dads who tend now to have in be even more involved into the kids’ lives. But also we have extended family members that are taking more of a caregiving role, aunts, uncles, grandparents. So it’s definitely more of a challenge to find the ways to engage with such a wider range of different people with different roles in bringing up kids. So that’s the challenge we have as marketers. How do we reach that new family environment and those new caregivers that are expanding beyond mom and even beyond Dad.

Mark: That adds such an interesting complexity. How do you approach it? What are some things that you do to address that type of a complexity?

Miguel: I think it really is about ensuring that you have the right communication strategy. So starting with a strong communication strategy, focusing on the target audience that you’re looking for, holding true to your brand identity and looking for those unique ways to first prioritize mom and dad, but then look to what are those ways that you can relevantly and efficiently extend those audience and those targets to those extended caregivers. Whether it’s through your media buy or through more experiential activations being more in-person and using influencers as well.

Mark: Speaking of experiential, there really seems to be this renewed interest in the experience economy. How do you think this impacts marketer’s ability to engage and what is the right balance for brands, including the brands you’ve led when it comes to digital versus physical experiences?

Miguel: I would say it’s not, “versus” for me, it’s an “and” so you need both. You need to have an impactful digital program, but also an impactful physical experience to be successful in reaching the audience. I believe, especially in this day and age, brands are really being built and developed through the digital ecosystem, but also within the in-person immersions. So you wanna really properly engage with them, really earning that brand love through those different mediums.

“activating in a relevant way … which ties back authentically to the initiative we have around marketing to the next generation of families”

I would say now influencers play a major role within marketing mixes and these influencers are really using the digital environment as their microphone. And now with that, it really helps us as brands reach those audience specifically, you know, parents. For a brand like Kinder Joy, in person really is the opportunity to provide a very unique connection to the brand and because you’re entering into a place where they want to be and you’re really driving relevancy and ultimately that connection and love.  I’ll use an example that I’m currently working through, with Kinder Joy.  We’re launching NBA Mascot Toys.  So it’s a partnership with the NBA.  We have some of the NBA mascot toys within this new collection that has just started to hit shelves, and we’re bringing that idea of digital and influencers as well in the experiential environment. So we’re working with influencers to really share that fandom and highlight those collections to moms and dads.

But we’re also partnering with the Knicks and really activating in a relevant way at one of the local Knick’s games in the tri-state area and in New York City in their next generation game, which ties back also very authentically to the initiative that we have around marketing to the next generation of families and the next generation of NBA fans.

So again, when you find those moments of relevant interaction and environment, that is a way to really connect authentically with your consumer base.

Mark: I love how you started that answer with, it’s not digital “versus” physical.  It’s “and.”  Is it fair to say that the two should be very much complimentary within the overall strategy?

Miguel: 100%. You know, complimentary, but also how can you use one to elevate and influence the other?

Mark: What are some ways you’re reimagining how to engage with families?

Miguel: The biggest thing that we have done as a brand recently is we created a new mobile app called Applaydu. And Applaydu was really our way of re-imagining the moment of connection between parents and children. So Applaydu is an app that brings our Kinder Joys toys to life in this augmented reality. It’s a completely free app and it’s what we call an edutainment playing experience, really honing in on that fun.  But also education and it’s created for the whole family and really about focusing on that bonding time.

So even if you haven’t purchased a Kinder Joy egg, the app is still free for parents and kids to engage with.  It’s really meant for a free environment for parents and kids to engage and interact and bond.  And the added benefit is if you have a Kinder Joy toy, they actually come to life in this augmented reality.

Mark: What is your advice for other marketers when it comes to how to lead with data, research and insights?  One example being what motivates and inspires parents?  How do you use the data as a baseline in any primary research to address?

Miguel:  As marketers, we know data is king. What we obviously look at all stats, IRI data, Nielsen data, click through, and it’s super important and critical for our business. But what I would say is, as equal to, if not more important, is to connect directly with consumers and with your target audience consistently. So here at Kinder, we actually assembled what we call the Kinder Community of Moms, which is a panel of parents that we really check in with to gut check and get some inspiration on, and also get some direction on some of the thoughts and perspectives and provocations that we have based on innovations or marketing campaigns. So it’s really important to connect directly and hear that qualitative perspective from your consumer base.

Mark:  I love that you’ve done exactly that. What you’ve pulled together that Kinder family of moms that’s impressive.  You’ve worked for some really well known brands and for anyone in listening to this who may be hungry or want a snack, there’s a ton of great brands there. Can you share any examples of how you’ve approached engaging with families either now as you’ve given a couple or even in, in prior roles?

Miguel: I’ll use an example of the brand that I was just recently on under the Ferrero portfolio. During my time on Butterfinger, we were really successful in engaging with the gaming community through content, authentic community management, and really exciting, relevant programs.

I would say what I really learned about building out that program is that there’s so many different ways and to connect with people and there’s so many different ways to connect with gamers and how gamers are socializing. So many families, moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents are using, gaining as a means of connection and they’re really showing they’re making connections through their love of gaming. And I think that’s a great opportunity for brands to really find out, okay, where is those moments that you can find authentic connection and really lean in in an authentic way? And you know, this idea of subcultures and finding that subculture that your brand can break through and make a meaningful connection.

Mark: When we talk about meaningful connections, how do you communicate to parents, and extended family for that matter, the value that Kinder Joy adds to their lives.

Miguel: I would say we have a very robust communication strategy and we leverage all mediums, tv, digital, social, influencers. I think influencers are really important, especially now to really drive that message in an authentic way,  and we use all of those mediums to reinforce our family bonding. Through the treat the toy, and most importantly, that one of a kind surprise effect. So we really use these mediums to elevate the proposition and the greater experience that Kinder Joy provides that parent and child.

So when a family opens a Kinder Joy egg, they’re surprised, and it’s that excitement that they have when they find one of over a hundred toys that we refresh on a yearly basis. So we use these mediums to really be the amplifier of that total proposition.

Mark: How do you approach refining the marketing mix from year to year? And with that, how do you balance increasing what works well, evaluating or reevaluating underperforming areas, and then considering new opportunities?

Miguel:  I would say this is a very tried and true tactic for many marketers. We run several marketing mix models throughout the year and on an annual basis. We use these marketing mix models to really understand the channels that are delivering the strongest ROI for us. And then with that, we say, okay, of the ones that are receiving the highest returns, we leverage that to rebalance our mix year over year.  It’s really leveraging that data to influence our marketing mix.

Mark: Let’s talk for a minute about using passion points as a way and as a strategy to engage consumers. There’s nothing parents are more passionate about than their children. I’m curious to know your thoughts on why it is then that that many marketers, perhaps yourself in different roles, but other colleagues continue to to leverage sports or music as the default or right way to reach this audience when in reality, one of the unintended consequences when it comes to those experiences is often pulling the family unit away from each other. Can you talk more about how you approach passion points and think about it for either Kinder Joy or Butterfinger or other brands.

Miguel: I mentioned the Butterfinger example around gaming and that is a bigger passion point and it’s about ensuring that we’re allowing those passion points as the anchor for the bonding.

So I used Butterfinger and gaming as example. I’ll use Kinder Joy. We do leverage passion points such as sports and I mentioned the NBA partnership, music and movies. I’ll use movies as well. We most recently executed a license deal with Avatar. We’ve done partnerships with Minions and Jurassic.

We really see using movies as the example, as another avenue for family bonding. There are several universal areas when it comes to really driving interest and even the next generation of family bonding. So it’s really using those bigger platforms of sports, gaming, music, and movies to reinforce. How those can meet anchors and connection points to that family bonding experience.

Mark: Can you talk more about how you’ve rebalanced your portfolio of marketing investments heading into what is widely expected or we now know to be an economic downturn?

Miguel:  As with pretty much all or most companies right now, inflation has had an impact.  As we saw through the worst of the pandemic, Americans really do turn to treats as an affordable pick me up or for special moments. So far the data on our brands and the industry as a whole really suggests that our consumer behavior will continue as the country works through some of these economic uncertainties.

So working in confectionary, we definitely see that there’s a behavior that we will manage through from really finding that treats really being that affordable pick me up for consumers.

Mark: Let’s talk for a minute about measurement and defining success. In your experiences what is the best way or approach to identify primary KPIs to determine the success of a specific brand campaign?

Miguel: Reach and impressions, they’re super important. They’re critical KPIs when setting up a campaign. But I would say what we also prioritize is engagement and engagement with our content. For me, engagement is really important to really showcase. It really showcases that consumers are adopting the brand love and lifestyles associated with our brand that we’re looking to execute. So engagement is really another critical priority metric that we look at.

Mark: And is it fair to say as a follow up that engagement is more of an outcome versus some of the other, I don’t wanna call them vanity metrics, but more of the softer metrics. But that outcome you articulate, would you say that’s more of a priority engagement versus some of the other on the metrics? Is that fair to say?

Miguel: I think engagement showcases some of those outputs of those softer metrics. If folks are engaging you would hope they’re engaging in a positive way. Some of those more brand love metrics and sentiments would be an output from there. 

Mark: Lastly, what advice do you have for other up and coming marketers for how best to maximize their potential to find success in their own career?

Miguel: The biggest advice I always give people is leverage your network. Really understand to leverage your network, to understand your consumers which can be as intentional as research and panels for sure, but can also be discussing and listening to family members, friends and their children to really keep up on the culture. It’s really about always staying curious about what people are feeling, needing and wanting, which will really make the work of a marketer and stronger and elevated.

Mark: I love that, especially the point about curiosity. Maybe my next podcast will be Curious First instead of Family First.

Miguel, thank, thank you so much for joining me. This was  a fun conversation.

Miguel: Thank you!

Mark: And thank you for listening in to  this episode of Family First: The Wild World of Marketing to Parents.



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