2020 has been a watershed year for consumer goods companies. They proved themselves to be more vital than ever by providing consumer essentials during the COVID-19 crisis. From packaged food to hand sanitizer, CPG companies kept not only individual households running, but also the global economy.
The pandemic has put many brands in a position they didn’t expect. But those brands now have an opportunity to reset and renew the business.
Over the past year, we saw many consumers buy online directly from CPG companies -- many for the first time. And they expect to continue their digital purchasing going forward, according to our latest consumer research. What does this mean for brand marketers?
A new way of engaging with their consumers has begun. There is a golden opportunity to reinvent the consumer experience so that it is more relevant.
However, many CPG brands are constrained by their infrastructure. Only 33% of CMOs strongly agree their company’s processes and operations are flexible enough to allow them to apply data-driven insights in real time. COVID-19 exposed and amplified these constraints, showing that a step change is needed.
The goal for marketers is to help consumers manage the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, and then to help them get where they want to be next. The big question is, how?
There are three steps marketers can take to get started on this journey:
Apply technology. Technology is the linchpin for speed, scale, relevance -- and data. You need to be using technologies like predictive analytics and robotic process automation to acquire consumer insights and translate them into relevant experiences quickly and at scale.
Lead with insights. Look to create a single, consistent, continually updated view of the consumer based on both internal data and external insights. All strategy and action should flow from this evidential source.
Think skills, not roles. The best brands have risen to the top through innovation, experimentation, and a learn fast/fail fast approach. To develop this kind of capability, you need a culture that supports taking risks and encourages people’s natural creativity. Start by mapping the skills of your workforce. These maps will expose gaps and guide decisions about where to hire, contract or share critical talent with ecosystem partners.
The recent pandemic reinforced how critical digital, advanced technology and analytics capabilities are. For CPG marketers, the focus for the coming months and years must be on developing digital experiences, creating an environment for innovation, and acquiring the skills the business needs for the future. This, ultimately, will be the source of future growth and success in the post-COVID world.