You probably don’t think of Mars Petcare as a center for startup incubation.
It owns a lot of brands you can buy at a local grocery store, including Pedigree and Whiskas. But in 2000, it bought Royal Canin, a pet food brand focused on health care, and, more recently, a string of veterinary clinics.
So, while Mars Petcare originated as a provider of packaged pet products – one with little direct insight into clients – it now had a direct line into pet owners. The trick, however, is bringing those products, services and insights together.
That’s where Leonid Sudakov – the US president of Mars Petcare Connected Solutions – comes in.
“All of our core businesses will have to go through a true transformation in the next decade to future-proof their brands,” Sudakov said.
That means establishing a direct line to consumers – not only to send messages them, but also to sell to them.
“Where my division is really engaged, is how do we become a real force for good for the future of our category?” Sudakov said. “How do we become the partner of choice for every disruptor, whether that’s a person with an idea, a startup trying to scale or someone in the core business trying to do something different?”
For instance, in 2016, Mars Petcare acquired Whistle, the so-called “Fitbit for dogs.” In so doing, Mars Petcare gained insight into the activities of dogs across the nation.
Sudakov, who owns a cat, four donkeys, four horses and four ponies, spoke with AdExchanger at the IAB Leadership Conference last week about orienting these very different departments around a single goal.
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