I’m the holy grail for most CPG brands. I’m the millennial xennial mom, the primary shopper, the master of the list – when I make a list. Part-time Instacarter, part-time aisle walker, my shopping habits change as quickly as my 4-year-old’s mood.
The CPG landscape is evolving just as quickly. A new shopper behavioral segment is created with the introduction of every time-saving app, service or retail innovation. Do brands have to build a strategy against each and every segment to see sales dollars? Definitely not. In fact, Catalina reports that 2% of shoppers represent 80% of a typical brand’s sales volume.1 But brands still have to create relevancy among their best targets to even hope to get their attention or, better yet, into their virtual or physical cart.
Being relevant to a consumer used to be as easy as being on-shelf. Today, the path to brand choice starts well ahead of the weekly shop. Advertising and promotional strategies are table stakes, no question. But first, look at the data. Understand why customers are choosing your brand or a competitor’s. There are likely multiple reasons or needs, all with different motivations. Even if your brand or product is a one-size-fits-all solution, the message to consumers shouldn’t be.
With a diversified messaging strategy comes the task of effectively delivering Message A to Consumer A so it impacts behavior. Therefore, where messaging can be more nuanced and targeted in digital channels, ad dollars are shifting accordingly. And while media outlets like Ad Age are reporting that shift, they are also predicting a swing back to traditional mediums where the reach and impact has been proven more effective.2 Then there’s the evolution of shopper marketing tactics from in-store to online that continue to disrupt marketing strategies even further.
The takeaway here is an omni-channel approach. Each touch-point serves a different purpose for the marketer and the consumer, so diversify the mix. Be intentional with the message and be prepared to be nimble and optimize based on the results. Change is happening fast.
If the strategies work, Consumer A becomes Customer A, and a resonance strategy comes into play. Customers must be treated differently. Only 11% of brand buyers remain loyal after 12 months,1 so keeping them engaged with the brand is critical. Instead of continuing to push brand benefits and product attributes, start pulling buyers’ participation. Ask for their email addresses, but by all means don’t flood their inboxes or monopolize their social feeds. It’s not about frequency here, it’s about checking in now and then with beneficial and relevant information. If they see value, they are likely to contribute to the conversation.
When I said I was the holy grail of CPG consumers, you thought I meant my purchase dollar value, right? I’m much more than that. I’m a wealth of first-party data. Brands want me to keep buying their products, sure. But where I have the most value is my potential to feed information a brand can leverage to engage with more purchasers like me, optimize a stronger message, deliver it with more impact and grow a dependable customer base to gather even more data. The retailers already have that data. Apps like Ibotta have it. With the disruption happening in the channel, it’s imperative that brands have it too. Because the data will show where those ever-changing shopping behaviors are headed next.
1 “Volume-Driving Strategies in a Sea of Choice and Change” by Catalina.
2 “STUDY: CPG NOW SPENDS MORE ON DIGITAL THAN TRADITIONAL ADS, BUT SHOPPERS DOUBT THEY WORK” by Jack Neff, Ad Age.