Finding Agnostic Consulting Partners Crucial to eCommerce Growth: Elisa Pogliano, Mattel

Endless Gain

Digital and eCommerce sectors have seen unprecedented growth over the last few years. Thriving in such competitive landscapes is indeed challenging for online retailers today. However, digital and eCommerce experts who have achieved breakthrough growth for their companies show the way and guide on which opportunities to seize and how to adapt to challenges.  

This month, Elisa Pogliano, Digital & Media & DTC eCommerce Senior Director at Mattel, shares her views on the fast-evolving digital and eCommerce trends.  

Elisa and her team oversee the full-funnel strategy—from Digital Engagement to Performance Marketing, CRM and Websites—at Mattel for the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East & Africa).  

Her department includes an eRetail Capabilities team to support and grow joint businesses with retailers—who manage the assets, agency partners, and technology providers—to enable the best possible display of Mattel’s brands and products on their websites.  

Elisa also heads a DTC team to manage Mattel.com web shop, which they have launched recently across the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.  

Prior to Mattel, Elisa worked in P&G UK for a decade, leading its sales and commercial strategies. Her first eCommerce role was in 2007 where she managed the Tesco.com business. In 2013, she headed the UK eRetail team, working with Amazon, Ocado and all the Bricks&Clicks retailers. 

How does Mattel optimise the use of marketing channels to stay customer-centric?

At Mattel, we have been on a multi-year digital transformation journey in the EMEA region. We started to see an acceleration when we set up the current full-funnel Digital & Media organisation.  

Before that, we had two teams with separate reporting lines – one focused on upper-funnel digital brand activations and the other on eCommerce and driving sales. And my observation is that many FMCG companies still keep these teams separate today.  

Based on my experience, I believe bringing these functions closer together in the organisation is a must to foster a more integrated mindset and approach. 

The next step for Mattel EMEA was to establish best practices for each marketing channel and to identify the channels best suited to different audiences and communication objectives. As a company that speaks both to kids and adults who buy toys for them (and increasingly also for themselves!), it’s important to think strategically and leverage diverse data sources to balance marketing spends across different audiences and platforms. 

We also made significant investments into building our first-party data and segmenting our audience in meaningful ways, and this informs our communications across all channels.  

The launch of DTC eCommerce will give us more immediate and richer insights from our customers, and we strongly believe that this will also benefit our joint business with our retail partners. Further, it will enhance o

ur understanding of the customer journey and of what resonates the most with each audience, which we can apply to all our marketing plans. 

What trends have you observed over the past 12-18 months in the digital landscape?

Aside from the acceleration in both eCommerce sales and digital media consumption due to the COVID-19, I notice an increased fragmentation of customer journeys and platforms.  

As the walled gardens tighten their privacy rules, customer acquisition costs will soar, and the ability to measure performance marketing channels will diminish.  

So, I think investing in first-party data will increasingly become a focus area. 

What are some of the biggest challenges you think eCommerce brands are facing right now?

Currently, eCommerce businesses are comping a very high base from the 2021 lockdowns. With economies re-opening and relaxation of rules, shoppers are returning to bricks & mortar stores.  

While we are unlikely to see the same eCommerce participation seen during the lockdown, a shift in customer behaviour is evident and here to stay. Hence, the long-term trend seems to be positive.  

Another challenge is the proliferation of technology vendors, platforms, and SaaS solutions, which can increase complexities exponentially. Digital & eCommerce leaders will find it increasingly tough to balance the need to take care of the business today with the sense of FOMO and the very real risks of being left behind if they don’t constantly keep up with innovations in the sector.  

I think finding the right agnostic consulting partners is becoming indispensable. Otherwise, scouting for innovation partners can quickly become a job in its own right!  

What do you forecast are going to be key opportunities in digital for companies in the next 12 months?

I think social commerce could be powerful in enabling the key platforms to step up their game. At the moment, EMEA is behind Asia in this space. Even though there is a lot of noise and hype around the subject, we need to see more progress towards truly inspiring and seamless customer experiences.  

I am also excited about the Metaverse and how the various emerging platforms in this space – such as The Sandbox or Decentraland – will develop when it comes to shopping. For example, I could see the play-to-earn model being applied to both digital and physical goods. 

This is the post of the CRO Insights Series where we speak to digital and eCommerce experts to prepare for digital transformation. Check out our previous interviews with Giovanni Pollarolo of AYBL Group, Simon Bagel of The White Company, Michael Parker of Frasers Groups, and others.