A global pandemic doesn’t leave time for hesitation. So for the last two years, Consumer Product Goods (CPG) brands had to hustle, quickly redefining the way they operate to face shared challenges.
They adopted the new CPG playbook: Blow everything out on Amazon, manage supply-chain issues, and grow direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales. E-commerce stopped being "relegated to “innovation" or ancillary budgets and became a priority to meet quarantined consumers’ demands.
But now that everyone has reached a point of maturity with the practices that became mandatory over the last several years, how can CPGs differentiate their brands again? More urgently, how can they stand out as progressive marketers?
With the bombardment of news facing marketers on looming data deprecation, there’s no better time to refocus and take advantage of this new world. It’s time to build a new marketing foundation and get creative again.
Here are five things CPG marketers need to focus on to get ahead of the competition in 2022.
1. Build More Data Partnerships
To prepare for 2023’s mass exodus of third-party data — from the elimination of cookies to Apple’s already in-place mobile-measurement limitations — CPG brands have all been told to build more first-party data.
But one big thing people aren’t talking about is the power of building new data partnerships. By leveraging the right media and partners, CPG brands can gain access to unique people-based insights, refine creative strategies, and measure results.
What is an example of a smart partnership? If you are a pet-food brand, you can find second-party data sets of devoted dog parents by partnering with animal content sites like The Dodo, a mecca for animal lovers.
Luxury brands should gravitate toward audiences built by the New York Times and its engaged, well-off base.
Start having conversations now about what kinds of partners already have access to interesting data about your customers that you can link up with directly rather than having to rely on dwindling third-party sources.
2. Embrace New Forms of Measurement
Brands in e-commerce — which became a priority in the COVID-19 pandemic era — are used to having robust information about their direct sales, largely due to information transparency, cookies and proprietary data from platforms like Amazon.
With much of this data seeing holes, what is a brand to do? Luckily there are modern, AI-enabled measurement tools that can capture online and offline media spend and tie it back to online and offline sales alike.
We have developed custom algorithms that take into account all CPG sales and marketing data for a fraction of the cost of an old-school marketing-mix model.
Equally important, several new digital-first measurement tools are being developed to manage the loss of data.
New measurement tools for the cookie-less world include: Offline sales measurement marketplaces, modeled conversions, clean room attribution models, attention metrics and authenticated audience brand surveys.
If this sounds like a completely new language, start learning the basic structure now. Bring in fluent speakers. Start testing new measurement capabilities so that your brand is fully conversational in the strategies that will enable you to thrive across the new omnichannel shopping experience exploding in 2022.
3. Explore New Social Media Ideas
CPGs -- except for some leading brands -- have been more cautious about going beyond the basics in social media in recent years. Facebook and Instagram are proven to drive sales, but it’s important to remain competitive in the constantly evolving social landscape.
Pinterest and Snap have put tens of millions of dollars into their e-commerce capabilities and TikTok engages with niche audiences in a truly unprecedented way. If you prepare to scale these platforms in 2022, your brand will have more avenues for revenue and engagement, especially with younger audiences.
4. Expand Your E-Commerce Mindset
Successful CPG brands spent the last two years increasing their investment in e-commerce.
Everyone has matured their practices in order to survive, but now what was a competitive advantage is the cost of entry in 2022. So how can your brand break through the clutter?
Set up new touchpoints that drive awareness and engagement with customers with your e-commerce partners.
Yes, there are sponsored placements, but have you explored opportunities in video, social ads, and connected TV to drive awareness (and sales)? Is your Product Page as engaging as it could be?
Go beyond Amazon and start paying attention to platforms like Walmart and Instacart, which are scaling up for massive growth in 2022.
Walmart allows third-party sellers to list items online, even if they aren’t in stores. Instacart offers unique customer insights — from lifetime value to shopping frequency to basket mixes — and connects to 300+ retailers.
Most brands have matured on Amazon, so it’s time to expand to places where you can still get something akin to an early mover advantage.
5. Don’t Plateau in Audience Reach
It’s important that CPG brands avoid getting too comfortable in order to sustain growth rather than plateau.
For example, companies that have focused in the e-commerce/D2C space now need to add in brand media, which has been proven to drive sales both immediately and long-term.
These brands need to embrace advanced measurements that have a holistic approach to attribution, going beyond optimizing daily CPC and customer acquisition costs.
And they need to keep creativity at the core of their media plans, making every ad feel personalized and relevant to each individual customer.
The growth of many CPG brands during these chaotic and unprecedented times is truly impressive.
Now that we are past the point of scrambling for survival and have reached a level of stability, there is an exciting opportunity to get creative again and take the success of the last two years to the next level.
2022 is the year for growth, experimentation, and scaling new avenues of revenue.