How SABMiller IT Manages its Multi-brand, Multi-site Digital Marketing

Preparing for the multi-everything era now will help guide enterprises away from a chaotic tunnel and into the light of visibility, trust, and control

We live in a multi-brand, multi-site era. Large global organizations are managing multiple digital experiences and properties for numerous brands, products, marketing campaigns and communities every day.

The consumer packaged goods (CPG) is one industry in particular that requires global consistency with localized deployments and speedy delivery for digital branding and marketing efforts.

As digital business initiatives continue to scale, organizations’ digital experiences can easily (and very quickly) get out of hand, becoming unmanageable and inconsistent. Add in the complexity of managing multiple websites regionally in local languages, duplicate code, varying content management systems and clunky legacy technologies, and chaos is likely to ensue. IT teams are tasked with reducing this risk and ensuring compliance across the entire organization without limiting business or marketing’s digital experience needs and functions.
Global organizations operating in the multi-everything era need a controlled approach to manage, deliver and govern their digital sites properly, with a layer of freedom built in for digital business teams to create new digital experiences as required.

Executing such digital marketing strategies beyond the branded digital experience are also important and require a future proof platform that allows for complex technology integrations. Edelman’s report “The Year of the Consumer-Led Marketer” reviews digital marketing techniques that are prominent with major consumer brands today.

These include the increased production of product videos, the integration of social media content and analytics, and direct to consumer commerce (D2C) options where consumers can buy a product on any digital media channel beyond the brand’s main digital platform. EConsultancy’s 2017 predictions show that brand digital marketers are focusing more on live video and content for wearable devices. And while these integrations are important, let’s not forget why the branded digital experience as the hub is crucial: According Nielsen’s “Global Trust in Advertising” report, “the branded website is most trusted source of information with 70% of consumers making it the preferred source”.

Reining in multi-everything chaos

SABMiller, one of the world’s largest brewers with more than 200 brands across 80 countries, is a good example of a global organization in the CPG industry that’s been able to deliver cost-effective, cohesive and controlled digital experiences across its entire portfolio of websites by using a single content management system and multi-site digital experience management platform.

Before implementing a multi-site delivery and management solution, SABMiller let its brand teams locally manage all aspects of website creation, including production, curation and delivery. With many of its brands obtained by mergers and acquisitions, varying technologies and processes were in place across the organization.

SABMiller identified a cost savings opportunity to reduce its dependencies on expensive legacy technologies, consolidate its existing systems and improve processes overall. SABMiller needed a single, cost-effective and secure digital platform that could manage all of their digital experiences with a standardized level of control while still allowing their brand teams creative freedom locally.

SABMiller sought to work with one technology partner that could deliver a single digital experience management platform and guide them through its project. Migrating to one platform gives organizations a scalable level of control over all of its digital properties, with reduced overhead and support costs—helping the IT and digital business organization deliver better, faster digital experiences more cost-effectively.

SABMiller transitions to a new delivery model with Acquia Cloud Site Factory

After evaluating options, SABMiller turned to open source CMS Drupal and Acquia to efficiently deliver and govern digital experiences.

With Acquia Cloud Site Factory, delivery for all of SABMIller’s Drupal sites is on a single digital experience management platform. Through Site Factory’s robust multi-site console and platform approach, new modules to handle digital marketing integrations can be quickly deployed and centrally governed across all of SABMiller’s sites.

Underlying code can be shared and reused across brands saving SABMiller’s team valuable time, while still allowing the configuration, content and design of each site to be tailored locally. For example, while each of SABMiller’s global brands like PIlsner LightCerveza Aguila and Strongbow are unique, all of their sites use the same codebase, a common UI / design "archetype', and common functionality like an 'age gate' that verifies a visitor’s age prior to allowing that visitor access to the content (a legal requirement for alcohol-related brands)—making new site updates faster and easier.

Fun fact: Close to 90% of SABMiller’s brands’ web requirements are delivered through redeployment of existing code—a substantial improvement from what they were doing traditionally.

To maintain compliance across its multi-site portfolio, SABMiller implemented required components of code within every website to ensure all content meets its site requirements. Additionally, user roles and permissions can be defined across the organization to create better workflows and improve control. SABMiller’s local teams can quickly create and manage mobile ready experiences across brands, faster; while domains can be managed with a common set of technical standards. All of these efforts help reduce risk by removing error-prone manual processes, code duplication and complexity around creating new digital experiences.

After embarking on its multi-site project with Acquia, SABMiller was able to transition to a new delivery model and transform the way its sites were developed, managed and governed. Further, SABMiller can now build a new site for less than half the cost of before, while improving consistency, security and control.

Digital business teams need to reevaluate their approach to multi-site management and put a process and platform in place to support growth as their organization scales. The chaos surrounding multi-brand, multi-site management is not going away. It’s likely that as technology evolves and new applications are adopted, multi-site digital experience management will become even more complex.

Preparing for the multi-everything era now will help guide enterprises away from a chaotic tunnel and into the light of visibility, trust, and control. If you want to learn more about how SABMiller manages its multi-site digital experiences, check out the case study here.

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