How To Keep Up With The Digital Natives

It wasn’t too long ago when most people associated the term “digital natives” with kids. But these early “natives,” those who were born in 1985, are approaching 30 and are already a significant consumer segment for CPG products.

Are CPG companies adapting their offerings to appeal to digital natives? According to a recent study from the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the answer is no. The report says that while many companies have established a digital presence – a website, social media sites, and some digital advertising – most have yet to fully embrace digital. So what is a CPG company to do?

Here are some tips, along with examples of CPG companies who are doing their best to keep up with the digital natives:

Watch What the Large Digital Companies Are Doing - Closely watch new initiatives by large companies who live in the digital world to get a feel for macro trends. Same-day delivery services are a great example. Large players like Amazon, Google and Walmart are broadening their offerings to additional cities; that is a good indicator that the service is gaining traction.



Keep an Eye on Consumer Startups - Startups tend to be a good reflection on how digital natives are thinking, particularly since many of them are started by young people. A few years ago, Dollar Shave Club came out with an innovative subscription service for razor blades. Not willing to give up too much market share in this lucrative space, Gillette now offers a similar service.  

Be Where Digital Natives Live...On Their Mobile Devices - Digital natives seem to be surgically connected to their mobile devices so you need to make sure you’re reaching them on that platform. Having a strong mobile presence is critical to gaining the attention. From your content to your promotion. Kraft’s iFood Assistant app and Clorox’s myStain app are examples of mobile offerings that combine practicality and convenience.

Think About Making Connections, Not Building Awareness - Marketing to digital natives is less about building awareness of your product and more about making a connection with them. Nature Valley took an innovative approach to connecting with their target audience with Natural Valley Trail View, an online site where they leverage Google Street View technology to let users explore the trails of national parks.

Use Data To Make Quicker Decisions - In the digital world, data can be your best friend but it gets old very quickly. It is important to have a measurement infrastructure that enables marketers to be agile and make decisions quickly.

Take these tips seriously and before you know it, you will be hanging with the cool digital natives on your block.

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