Case Study

Mars

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19

months to launch 55 brand sites

40 %

reduction in maintenance costs across all sites

20 %

combined cost savings

Highlights

Situation

Mars realized it needed to develop a unified strategy for providing customers with more engaging digital brand experiences.

Challenge

The company wanted a way to quickly develop new brand experiences but was concerned about consistency, maintenance, and costs.

Our Solution

Acquia Cloud Platform, Acquia Site Factory, Acquia Personalization, Acquia Content Hub, Acquia BLT

 

Results

Mars has brought consistency to its digital platforms while simultaneously achieving:

  • On-time launches for 55 brand sites in just 10 months
  • 20-40% reduction in brand site development time using the starter kit instead of developing from scratch
  • 40% reduction in ongoing maintenance costs across all sites on the platform
  • 20% total combined cost savings

The Client

Mars produces some of the world's most beloved and well-known brands. Mars Wrigley is the world-leading manufacturer of chocolate, chewing gum, mints and fruity confections, and its iconic products like M&M’S‚ SNICKERS, ORBIT, EXTRA, and SKITTLES are enjoyed in more than 180 countries. Likewise, Mars Food has 13 favorite dinnertime brands produced across the world and available in more than 30 countries.

The Situation

With a desire to grow digital demand and reimagine how consumers could interact with its brands, Mars realized it needed to develop a unified strategy for providing customers with more engaging digital brand experiences. Currently, Mars brand websites are hosted on multiple legacy and other content management (CMS) platforms. 

The Challenge

Mars wanted to develop a platform and a set of processes that would allow the company to create new brand experiences rapidly. But concerns about ensuring consistency, supporting ease-of-maintenance, and controlling costs proved challenging. 

The Solution

Mars worked with digital partner EPAM to realize its vision of the “starter kit,” a constantly growing toolkit of shared components that provided all Mars brands with a well-defined process and consistent starting point for building brand and campaign pages. This infrastructure, which included shared core functionality, flexible and configurable front-end display components, as well as a library of pre-built integrations, allowed internal development teams and third-party agencies to easily launch, manage, and enhance Mars sites.

Starter kit-based sites begin with out-of-the-box features common to all Mars properties (e.g., navigation structure, content localization, and search). With a shared, configurable theme, site builders can easily apply brand-specific design guidelines into each property, maintaining the individual identity while benefiting from a consistent structure. A library of similarly configurable front-end components like carousels, accordions, newsletters, and reviews provide a robust set of building blocks for site builders. Additional features and components in the starter kit include:

  • Integration with Smartling for translation services
  • Product data and nutritional information drawn from Salsify PIM
  • Where to Buy functionality from PriceSpider, Commerce Connector, and Smart Commerce
  • CRM integration with Salesforce Marketing Cloud
  • GDPR, CCPA, LGPD and cookie consent management with OneTrust
  • Product reviews from Bazaarvoice
  • Social media feed integration with Juicer
  • Mars Lighthouse DAM integration for extended media management capabilities
  • Emulsify for creating design systems with reusable components and clear guidelines for teams
  • Content delivery network (CDN) from Cloudflare to achieve high performance and security of each website


Acquia Site Factory provides the underlying infrastructure to drive the entire portfolio of sites from a single codebase managed by the platform development team. It enables users to implement and test updates and code in one place before applying them across all sites, streamlining the process and reducing maintenance costs and downtime. Site Factory also provides the interface to empower separate site construction teams to easily create, build, and manage new sites independently without needing developer intervention. With Site Factory’s cloning feature, creating new websites by copying existing configurations eliminates manual efforts and the risk of human error. The Site Factory management dashboard also allows for a clear overview of all sites hosted on the platform and simplifies the corresponding access control, governance, and reporting.

The team’s development and deployment processes relied heavily on the Acquia Build and Launch Tool (BLT), which provided a standardized development workflow while ensuring developer work met coding standards and passed automated tests before being committed. Additionally, the teams used Acquia Content Hub to manage content shared across sites, further ensuring consistency and removing the need for repetitive content changes across multiple sites.

Mars partnered with Cognizant to scale the starter kit platform and build, deploy, and operate their CPG brands’ digital properties. The goal was to evolve the starter kit platform to support, enhance, and maintain the Mars Wrigley, Food, and Pet Nutrition promotional and brand sites, all on the Acquia Site Factory platform. The aim was to deploy more than 200 brand and marketing sites on Site Factory, while also achieving:

  • Faster time to market for website launches
  • Scalable performance to ensure future rollouts
  • Right-sized traffic entitlements
  • Optimized security

The Results

Mars’ starter kit platform achieved its primary goal of bringing consistency to its digital systems, processes, and experiences across multiple markets, elevating them to match the standards of the company’s world-class brands. And by using shared technologies, reducing duplicate efforts and streamlining technologies and services, the company has been able to reduce costs. In essence, the new platform empowers Mars to select vendors and tools that best align with its goals while ensuring continued compliance through automation and efficiency. Specifically, Mars has realized a:

  • 50% reduction in development time by assembling brand sites with the starter kit instead of building/developing from scratch 
  • 40% reduction in ongoing maintenance costs across all sites on the platform
  • 20% initial overall cost savings, which is expected to increase continuously as the platform scales with additional sites


In the last seven months, Cognizant has deployed more than 35 new features into Mars’ starter kit platform. Mars can now launch full-fledged brand sites with key capabilities within three to four days:

  • Simple sites can be launched in two days
  • Medium sites can be launched in three to five days
  • Complete sites can be launched within eight to 10 days


With the starter kit platform on Acquia Site Factory, Cognizant has launched about 55 brand sites in 10 months, hitting deadlines and ensuring Mars’ security and accessibility compliance standards are all met. Plus, Mars is able to deploy sites more frequently without any impact to platform stability or performance. Cognizant has also helped Mars integrate the platform with a customer data platform (CDP) for unified data collection, making it available for brands to create targeted and personalized marketing campaigns.

Overall, Mars has been able to bring its entitlement consumption down, improve site performance and speed, and maintain compliance and brand governance, even while empowering external agencies and team members to use the platform independently in a self-service manner. And as a result, its customer experience has been elevated thanks to improved accessibility across mobile and web.

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