In recent years, many more CPG companies have adopted cutting-edge digital tactics to reach out to consumers. Many rely on playful, digitally enabled interactions: a toy company’s social media campaign might invite consumers to upload and rate photos featuring the product, for example, with the promise that top-rated fans will receive personalized 3D-printed figures, cashing in on cultural fascination with this new technology.
Some digital-savvy segments have responded well to these campaigns. Yet these consumers are also among the hardest to impress with technology alone. What looks innovative today can look gimmicky tomorrow. At worst, digital marketing teams can invest significant time and expense only to create “shiny toys” that serve no strategic purpose and deliver little value to customers and consumers.
Moving from flashy to strategic requires CPG digital marketers to ensure their activity is greater than the sum of standalone campaigns. By working closer with sales and product development teams, and applying analytics to make insight-driven decisions, digital marketers can deliver relevant experiences that drive engagement with the most valuable consumers. They can also leverage scale and apply their experience across the organization to create greater impact across the consumer journey.
Value over coolness
As consumers become ever more familiar with high-tech marketing campaigns, we believe success will be determined not by which CPG company is the “coolest,” but by which gives consumers the greatest day-to-day value. This starts with knowing consumers better. And, to do so, digital marketers should connect with consumer insight and analytics teams to gain a greater understanding of consumer preferences, expectations, and common pain-points. Easing these pain-points – or delivering above and beyond in critical areas – can create a deep new level of engagement.
If an infant formula brand is targeting young professional parents, for example, consumer research might identify unmet needs around feeding a newborn. Rather than building an app that only serves ad content, building one that helps young parents manage their sleep better will create more value. Such tactics forge personal relationships and create loyalty with consumers. In CPG, this is an increasingly important differentiator.
Sharing critical new capabilities across the business
Marketing campaigns are only one piece of the puzzle. If digital-savvy marketers look beyond standalone campaigns to the wider consumer and customer experience, they can play an increasingly influential role in driving success across sales and product innovation.
Lines have already started to blur in trade marketing, where traditional tactics and newer digital and eCommerce ones are coming together to create a seamless consumer experience. This trend is forcing tighter collaboration between sales and marketing than ever before. For the front office, this will mean heightened demand for the best resources in the most strategic areas – no matter what function they come from. By contributing their skills in this space, digital marketers can go beyond raising awareness to driving consumption.
We consume content on so many different screens, and in so many contexts, that the cost of production, translation and execution is growing at a disproportionate rate. And, as mentioned above, there will be growing demand for key capabilities from other front office teams.
As a result, we are seeing marketing leaders learning how to harvest the successes from each brand and function, while leveraging a factory model to control and manage more commoditized work. This frees up strategic resources to continue to take on the top challenges, while building a new level of executional excellence at the core.
In the digital world, competition for consumer value is brewing. The CPG leaders of tomorrow will be the companies that can leverage digital across the organization to drive meaningful new consumer relationships.