Chobani Shows How To D2C When You're Not D2C



The Challenge

Sell more product.

The Execution

Although Chobani is not a direct-to-consumer brand, it turned to D2C brands that provide value and moved away from the idea that marketing is all about the brand channel, Eddie Revis, senior director of marketing strategy and media, said at MediaPost’s Marketing:CPG conference in September 2018. (Here’s a link to the video presentation.)

It adopted DR and performance building, balancing its total investment across the upper and lower funnel into one approach. For a commodity, there are infinite customer journeys. “We asked ourselves, ‘How do we find an adaptive solution?’”

If the brand knows a consumer is listening to music on Spotify, it could be an opportunity to reach them. A year ago, it built a data management platform in-house, which helped evolve the team’s thinking. For example, they know people spend an average of 18 minutes a week in a grocery store and they spend 10 hours a day online. “Why would we not be trying to influence you online than in store with kid yelling at you,” Revis asked, rhetorically.

Using internal data and studies, Chobani looked at the effectiveness of TV and digital to change up its marketing mix. As the category changes so rapidly, marketing was one way it could start to drive business. There was the opportunity. “I have a team of 11 now, we reorganized with sales,” he said. The change allowed the team to own more direct relationships. There is so much value in having key partners, building a team in-house, and walking away from agencies. “We owned all the insights.”

Chobani works with one partner very closely. On the surface, that may sound complex but it is very easy with a direct relationship. By doing so, it mitigated the complexity of a partner like Facebook or Google, allowing the team to focus on getting the job done.

There is value in owning something end to end, including having the opportunity to do analysis, get insights, and enact re-engagements. It makes for streamlined, more effective work, leading to better creative and making a stronger impact on the category.

Revis’s team does all its own packaging design, content, and tech stack, allowing for open communication with the same information, working from the same place to the same goal. All the data does is fuel more insightful discussion. “We lead audience first.”

For the brand’s Flip, which include dry ingredients that flips into the yogurt, the platform built across indulgent, variety, and functional segments. “We got crazy with creative, played with design, copy, and layout.” For indulgence, it’s snackers eating because they love it: “Indulge yourself.” For variety, “Never get bored.” For functional: “All day, every day.” 

Key takeaways

  • Look at your contracts, who owns them and where that information is going. Use those insights in developing user and behavior campaigns.
  • Go really big. Learn what you need to do next. 
  • Hire people who don’t look like you or think like you. Hire eager, excited people who want to build something new. 
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