Commentary

CPG Brands And The Fight Against Fragmentation

Once upon a time, digital was viewed a complement to TV, but today the amount of time people spend online is beginning to mirror the amount of TV viewing time.

As a result, it seems the second half of 2014 has sparked multiple conversations around consumer fragmentation. Marketers continue to nail down strategies that account for multiple media and consumers’ interaction (or lack thereof) with them.

And now CPG brands are joining the race to de-fragment audiences and extend their reach beyond, but also earn a spot among some of the most creative cross-channel strategies. And where most of them are starting to focus is developing engaging stories that build across these dividing channels.

It’s not rocket science that ad content has to be created with a device in mind, but brands have to look beyond that and think about consumer behaviors (and desired outcomes) from these efforts. It’s also essential to ensure that ad platforms are able to reach people wherever they are, and tell the marketers how content is performing, respectively.

Because when it comes to the fight against fragmentation, data is a marketer’s biggest ally. CPG brands, especially, can be afforded a wealth of data to help them make incredibly informed decisions about their audiences (demographic), locations (geographic) and purchases (shopper and interest levels). Not to mention behavioral data collected from the digital elements of ads themselves — click-throughs, engagement rates, viewability and so on. Data that just can’t be had from a non-interactive TV spot.

But that doesn’t mean that CPG brands should throw the TV strategy out with the bathwater. TV and digital each have their respective place in the marketing ecosystem, and together can pack a more powerful punch in terms of converting passive viewers into active shoppers. Many CPG brands already have deep investments into TV, and should continue to let it work it’s magic when it comes to brand awareness and storytelling. But if it stops there, fragmentation will continue to run rampant. Using digital to extend the story to specific targets based on user-level data can result in a high-converting experience. 

And that’s really what we’re all after here, isn’t it? Converting viewers into loyal customers. And to do that, it’s necessary to deeply understand the path to purchase — who is getting through the funnel, and how — and why. Which is why media plans must not only account for every channel, but their relationship to consumers, and to one another. Awareness is only step one and more and more CPG are realizing that the bottom of the funnel must also have focus and alignment in order to meet KPIs. 

So when it comes to planning and buying, where does this leave the budget? With this realization about funnel-stage marketing, many CPG brands are shifting TV dollars to digital, sometimes upwards of 20%. And this shift will continue to happen, if cross-channel data can show CPG brands they are winning the fight against fragmentation by capturing data and using testing and optimization to continuously move the browser-to-buyer needle. 

Cross-device capabilities presents limitless opportunities for both brands and agencies, but there needs to be a fundamental understanding of consumer behavior as well as an intelligent business strategy linking together the different channels at play. CPG advertisers can now combine consumer insight, great creative, compelling content and intelligent metrics to produce targeted, optimized cross-device campaigns. But understanding the fragmented consumer is step one.

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