Ads That Wow: How NBCUniversal Helps Advertisers Keep Fans Interested

Time to read: 5 minutes

How intelligent tech and simplified processes empower advertisers for LA28 and beyond

If delivering 100 billion hours of content to 700 million people every year wasn’t enough, NBCUniversal is simultaneously building the ultimate digital fan experience for the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

For fans, data-driven personalization will enable them to follow their favorite events and athletes while consuming content in their channels of choice.

For advertisers, LA28 provides an unmatched opportunity to reach new audiences. The Games are the latest enhancement to the company’s product portfolio, which revolutionized the industry with a single, scaled advertising offering. With greater visibility and productivity, NBCUniversal’s 1,500-person ad sales division works across departments to customize ad solutions and gain valuable insights into audience behavior, helping it generate $12 billion in annual revenue.

The change-maker behind the scenes of NBCUniversal’s revenue engine is Linda Yaccarino, Chairman of Global Advertising and Partnerships. One of the most powerful women in TV, according to Adweek, Yaccarino was the first chief in network history to combine broadcast, cable, and digital assets into one unified organization, dubbed “One Portfolio,” an approach that has become an industry-wide standard.

Here are seven ways Yaccarino and team use Salesforce Customer 360 to create a single view of their advertising customers, transform how sales and marketing work together, and lay the groundwork for a sustainable, unrivaled experience for Team USA fans.


In Their Own Words...

In this video (1:55), Linda Yaccarino shares how all the NBCUniversal content you love is powered by strategic advertising decisions using smarter data with Customer 360.

1. Unify data so sales teams work from one version of the truth.

Today, NBCUniversal’s global advertising and partnerships division easily connects advertisers of all types with their target viewers. This requires sales teams to create customized ad packages across a large product portfolio — from sports and news to affiliate cable channels, as well as the organization’s Peacock streaming service.

To deliver this single, scaled advertising offering, NBCUniversal had to:

  • Unify disparate internal teams and improve visibility into client data.
    The company implemented an integrated sales CRM solution to provide a 360-degree view of advertisers’ activity across the organization. As a result, sales teams can now manage advertising spend and performance more effectively.
  • Customize the ad platform with low-code tools to improve productivity.
    This includes unifying sales and revenue management systems to efficiently capture estimated and actual revenue in local currencies, enhancing collaboration between the sales and finance divisions.

Salespeople will soon be able to consolidate important account data, including account plans, close plans, opportunity strategy, and meeting notes, into each CRM account record using a shared collaboration tool.

“This single source of trusted value and truth is the cornerstone of everything we do," said Yaccarino.


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2. Personalize targeted client communications to improve open rates 100%.

To keep up with audiences, advertisers must move fast. To keep up with advertisers, NBCUniversal needed B2B marketing automation that would keep marketing and sales aligned to the same goals.

Working from a unified platform:

  • Allows marketing teams to quickly create automated, personalized email campaigns for potential leads based on interactions like page visits or email opens.
  • Intelligently notifies sales reps to follow up once a lead hits a certain threshold of engagement.
  • Personalizes the next interaction using insights from an account’s buying activity.

Personalized messages have improved open rates by an incredible 100%, which helps the company build a stronger sales pipeline and close more deals.


improvement in
email open rates

“With Salesforce, we’re building a unified information source to help us reimagine collaboration across our entire platform,” said Yaccarino. “This will enable NBCUniversal to continue delivering the highest level of transparency, insights, and results for our customers.”

3. Improve ad sales by aligning business goals for a faster path to value.

As new media platforms come online and audience preferences for consuming content evolve, it’s crucial for NBCUniversal to provide advertisers with innovative options that meet their needs. But these shifting trends also mean NBCUniversal needed a partner to help it define priority outcomes and a future-state vision for its digital transformation.

The company engaged Salesforce Professional Services for a strategic planning exercise to align on business goals and push the boundaries of its technology. Embracing The Salesforce Way and its core principle of human centricity, NBCUniversal has been able to boost platform adoption by 29% in 10 months, in addition to transforming ad sales and improving Salesforce end-user experiences.

The company has even created a “change champion” network that provides early visibility to feature releases, communicates benefits, and gathers regular feedback. Plus, NBCUniversal can manage adoption performance with dashboards and scorecards that identify successes and areas for improvement.

NBCUniversal has also improved its sales and marketing just by bringing trade marketing campaigns and data together in a single source of truth. Already, users have decreased effort to create email campaigns by 50%. More consistent and automated lead generation processes across multiple channels have also doubled email open rates and produced more than 1,200 leads in seven months. And by revamping deal workflows, NBCUniversal teams enjoy more efficient processes with a 60% reduction in clicks.


leads in
7 months


in clicks


open rates with
50% less effort

“Salesforce helps us democratize our data and capabilities in real time. We couldn’t accomplish that on our own.”
Linda Yaccarino
Chairman, Global Advertising & Partnerships

4. Slash RFP turnaround times with one integrated platform.

Today, ad agencies and publishers do business out of separate, disconnected order management systems. Coordinating between them requires emails, phone calls, chats, and endless busywork.

NBCUniversal knows the future of advertising will require even greater automation and the ability to converge workflows to process all deal types together. That’s why the company is making its platform even more interoperable with the day-to-day systems agency partners already use.

With expert guidance from Salesforce Professional Services and partner expert, Silverline, NBCUniversal is:

  • Partnering with media tech leaders to create a new automation layer between publisher and agency order management systems. With Salesforce Media Cloud, NBCUniversal can completely reimagine the entire workflow process, including RFPs.
  • Transforming the RFP process forever through an integration with omnichannel advertising platform Mediaocean. Instead of asking platform buyers to submit RFPs via email, they will submit through NBCUniversal’s One Platform proposal pipeline within seconds.
  • Significantly reducing RFP turnaround times so NBCUniversal sellers can respond to buyers faster and reduce manual data re-entry into multiple systems. This way, advertisers’ linear and digital campaigns can begin sooner — and they can spend more time focused on the customer.

5. Optimize ad performance and impressions with AI-powered analytics.

NBCUniversal’s agency partners also rely on data to make decisions. To serve them and optimize campaigns across divisions and channels, NBCUniversal has adopted an AI-powered marketing intelligence platform. This will allow both internal teams and the company’s agency partners to easily track ad delivery and campaign performance.

The company also plans to use a data analytics and visualization tool to analyze data across different business systems and make insights more accessible to employees.

Having a greater understanding of how ads perform unites team members around common goals to optimize impressions through targeted or broad-reach advertising campaigns.

6. Deliver the ultimate Olympics fan experience using data-driven personalization.

Traditional sponsorships create brand recognition by slapping a company logo on a product or television screen. By deepening relationships with its advertising customers and viewers, NBCUniversal can now connect advertisers and fans through more authentic, personalized experiences.

Here’s how:

  • NBCUniversal gathers data across multiple touchpoints to customize digital experiences for Team USA fans. This way, fans can more easily follow their favorite events and athletes and consume content in their channels of choice.
  • The company further personalizes content and delivers it across multiple platforms to help connect fans — including those of a newer, younger demographic — with the Team USA athletes.

This will create deeper engagement with fans in the lead-up to and during the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic games, while allowing advertisers to control their narratives.

“Salesforce is a key partner in our transformation, and we’re so excited to transform the next five Games together. For the next several years, we’ll combine fan engagement and content to deliver a personalized experience for every Olympic and Paralympic fan in the U.S. The biggest stage for athletes and brands is now the biggest engine of innovation.”
Linda Yaccarino
Chairman, Global Advertising & Partnerships

7. Simplify carbon emissions tracking across multiple corporate entities.

Meeting fan expectations also means prioritizing sustainability across all NBCUniversal properties. The company has made a commitment to become carbon neutral by 2035.

Yet, tracking carbon emissions across news stations, TV production sites, fleet vehicles, offices, theme parks, and events like LA28 is highly complex — especially for a two-person team.

Instead of using spreadsheets to manually track energy, waste, and recycling across all NBCUniversal properties, the company is implementing Net Zero Cloud with expert guidance from Salesforce Professional Services to:

  • Improve carbon tracking efficiency
  • Easily pull reports to send to its parent company, Comcast
  • Accelerate its path to net neutrality

NBCUniversal is focusing on its Scope 1 and 2 historical data first to scale back carbon emissions within its immediate reach (e.g., heating and cooling, transportation), with a plan to input Scope 3 data (e.g., vendor/partner emissions) soon after.

Using the Climate Action Dashboard, NBCUniversal’s sustainability team can make quicker, smarter decisions, track usage and trends, and report to its parent company, Comcast, in an effort to drive down emissions.

With intelligent tech and simplified processes that make it easier for partners to advertise, NBCUniversal can meet fans with more than generic ads. It can delight them with personalized content that improves every experience, from LA28 to their favorite shows and beyond.

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