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How to manage analytics for one of the largest companies in the world

Meet Conrado Abreu, Market Intelligence Manager at UnitedHealth Group with more than 6 years of experience in healthcare. Conrado is leading the market intelligence area under Marketing and Communications, responsible for analyzing the business environment, competitors, and customers in order to identify potential threats and seize opportunities to drive sustainable growth.

How did you get into Marketing Mixed Modeling (MMM)?

I joined UnitedHealth Group (UHG) in 2013 and at that time I was working with digital marketing, PR and different sports projects. I had started to search for new opportunities and for new things to learn, and that was when the opportunity to work with a marketing team at UHG came up. The timing could not have been more perfect. Prior to this I never came in contact with data, analytics or MMM.

How did you start working with MMM at UHG?

I was curious about market intelligence and marketing performance and learned that this was somewhat of an unexplored territory. We started working with marketing intelligence sales inside the digital marketing team. We knew we had to prove it was worth investing in, so we started with something that we knew the company needed – how to measure marketing performance.

When we started our first projects around measuring marketing performance, I could instantly notice challenges in the sales and marketing process. It was impossible to tell precisely what the contribution of marketing was since we didn’t have any direct sales. That’s why I thought about solving this problem with Marketing Mixed Modeling (MMM). With the help of MMM we started to be able to optimize our budget and understand our ROI. With MMM we could finally get a clear picture of how marketing was generating revenue and contributing to the company.

“With MMM we could finally get a clear picture of how marketing was generating revenue and contributing to the company.”

How are you working with marketing mix modeling today?

At this point, we are planning to get back with this kind of project in 2020 – as we had different investment priorities in the last couple of years. For us, MMM can really help us understand how we can optimize our marketing efforts and deliver better results for the company. We have a big challenge to develop how we work with MMM considering the complexity and size of our industry, and the current modeling approaches.

What is your best success story using MMM?

The biggest win for us was being able to see if the investments were in the right place or not, check the effectiveness of our investments and make the right changes. We could balance the spending between different activities after analyzing the ROI. If one brand was not generating the expected results, we could either redirect or increase the investment to get the targeted return.

With MMM, we got an ally to prove we are generating x dollars in profit due to one activity and that we are delivering value to the company.” This is a great way to get people from the organization on board with our strategies and engage them.

“MMM is great to get people from the organization onboard with our strategies and engage them.”

What is your best tip to others that want to start using MMM?

I think, if you want to start using marketing mix modeling, instead of asking for more budget, you start by taking a small part of the media budget. Many large enterprises have big media budgets. By using MMM you can argue that you will be able to optimize the media investments. You will actually do better with less money. So start to finance your marketing mix modeling with a small part of the media budget, that’s my best tip.

“Start by taking a small part of the media budget, and optimize the outcome”

How does UHC plan to work with MMM in the future? 

We will definitely get back to MMM this year. It’s something that we really want to do but we need to figure out the right approach on how to use it.

“Most important, analytics will allow us to deliver more value for the end user, which leads to more success for our company. It’s all connected.”

We are involved in several different markets and different products. Using MMM for each market and product is going to be both time consuming and highly expensive. So, we will focus on specific opportunities to obtain the best results.

Most important, analytics will allow us to deliver more value for the end-user, which leads to more success for our company. It’s all connected.

In order to do that, I believe modeling if one of the best approaches to provide actionable insights around marketing effectiveness. Again, our insights should help us to deliver more value to the people we serve, generating sustainable results for the company.