SAP Provides Sweet Results for Ferrara

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Ferrara is the well-known maker of many popular candies, including Brach’s, Chuckles, Red Hots, SweeTARTS, and Trolli, just to name a few. Yet as popular as its products are with customers, the company had few interactions with the end buyers.

“Our challenge was that we wanted to be more engaged with our customers. Like a lot of [consumer packaged goods] companies, we primarily work directly with retailers and distributors. We really wanted to have a relationship with our customers,” says Dan Bartelsen, director of IT business partner, e-commerce, and digital marketing at the Chicago-based company.

Ferrara was looking to build these relationships when Bartelsen joined the company two years ago. “They really wanted to modernize the technology stack when it came to consumer engagement, so one of the first things I did when I came in was to evaluate the technology needed to take Ferrara to the next level,” he recalls.

Though the company had plenty of technology, the tools it had didn’t meet all of its requirements, according to Bartelsen. “Leadership knew we needed to be more of a digital company, so they brought me in along with the tools we needed to do that.”

Ferrara began soliciting proposals in the summer of 2021 and eventually chose SAP, a company with which it already had a relationship. “They had a tech stack that did everything that we needed. Since they were already a partner of ours, the synergy and integration with some of the existing tools we had was a bit easier.”

The company started implementing SAP Customer Data Cloud, SAP Customer Data Platform, and the SAP Emarsys customer engagement platform in November 2021.

“They all do something different, but they work together,” Bartelsen says.

The three solutions went live in January. Some integrations were needed to ensure that all websites had the necessary forms, that the data could come into the platform as expected, and that current customer data could be added.

“We needed to make sure that all the customer data gets moved in a safe and secure manner,” Bartelsen says. “We weren’t really engaged with the customer until we brought in this technology.”

Better engagement has led to a 30 percent open rate for company-generated email, which Bartelsen says is much higher than the industry average of 10 percent to 20 percent.

Ferrara also had success in getting customers interested in its marketing, with 59 percent opting in to receive company communications. “And our database of customers has grown significantly,” Bartelsen boasts.

SAP also ensures that email marketing messages comply with consumer privacy laws. “We need to be 100 percent compliant. We can’t make any mistakes. This was really important when we chose the platform,” Bartelsen says.

There are other benefits for Ferrara: “One of the biggest things about having this solution is that we have a way to engage with consumers that didn’t exist before at a very low cost. We’re also learning what type of content our consumers want to engage with,” Bartelsen says.

SAP’s technologies have worked especially well with Ferrara’s Trolli brand. Company research showed that gaming aficionados were also fans of Trolli, so Ferrara developed gaming-centered sweepstakes and promotions around that brand rather than using blast email marketing. As a result, Ferrara has seen a 300 percent increase in Trolli brand fans.

The next step, according to Bartelsen, is to expand sweepstakes, promotions, and other marketing efforts leveraging the SAP technologies across Ferrara’s entire portfolio of brands. 

The Payoff

Since installing SAP Data Cloud, SAP Customer Data Platform, and SAP Emarsys, Ferrara has seen the following results:

  • email open rates of 30 percent, well above the industry average;
  • a 59 percent increase in contactable consumers; and
  • a 300 percent increase in Trolli brand fans.

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