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Expert Column: Digital’s Impact on the CPG Marketing Landscape


Digital’s impact is all encompassing and unavoidable. As previously reported by Progressive Grocer, a recent report produced by The Boston Consulting Group, Google and Information Resources Inc. (IRI), for the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association warns of the tipping point of digital media that the CPG landscape is quickly approaching.

The marketplace will likely become a “1-5-10” market, with digital’s present 1 percent share of CPG sales increasing to 5 percent by 2018, and speeding to 10 percent soon after. To avoid going the way of Blockbuster and Circuit City, a renewed focus on adaptability and innovation are paramount for grocery retailers and CPG brands.

Adapting to digital innovations requires much more than just introducing a fresh website, signing up for a Facebook account or creating a branded app. How can companies keep up with the inevitable shift toward a digital-first future?

  • Step away from traditional media
  • Utilize data to gather shopper insights in real time
  • Bridge the gap between online and offline

Here’s how three CPG companies are minding the omnichannel marketing gap:

Moving From Traditional Media to Content-Led Strategies 

CPG giant Kraft Foods spent $683 million in 2012 on measured-media efforts. One of the key facets of its omnichannel strategies is the development of great online content that leverages its brand equity. Kraft utilizes data and social trends to shape content marketing efforts, which has led to an equivalent of 1.1 billion ad impressions per year and a four-times better return on investment than traditional advertising. Kraft also trails thousands of attributes of the 100 million-plus annual visitors to its websites and uses the data to drive programmatic media buying. 

Harnessing the Power of Data

By taking a multi-pronged approach, the company behind brands like Orville Redenbacher, Chef Boyardee and Marie Callendar’s successfully harnessed the power of data to mine for insights from its most vocal advocates and critics on social media. Through these insights, ConAgra found that consumers desired to be part of the decision-making process. Leveraging social listening tools gave ConAgra the capacity to receive online feedback in real-time without squandering money or time offline on focus groups and market analyses.

Linking In-Store Promotions with Mobile and Social

Like many businesses, food and other, Tyson sales struggled after the 2008 recession. Shifting its business model to include a range of channels to reach consumers both online and offline was key to moving past sluggish years. For the launch of a recent product, Tyson focused its marketing strategy on retention and loyalty, rather than going after new customers. A focus on storytelling was created through a profusion of social actions like an influencer campaign, Twitter parties and more. The brand paired this with mobile initiatives like geo-targeting in an effort to link in-store and digital marketing efforts. The result? Triple-digit growth in sales.

In conclusion, integrated omnichannel strategies that pair a seamless shopping experience with visually compelling online content that consumers trust will bring success to companies in the future. This strategy becomes especially effective when backed by improved targeting made feasible by data collection. Companies that are stagnant in acclimating to today’s digital consumers will likely see the chopping block.

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