The fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry has generated reliable growth using a traditional value-creation model for over 45 years. However, a behavior shift among consumers has forced an industry that has enjoyed success using the same plan for almost half a century to revisit its marketing strategy. Rebuilding your brand with a younger audience requires new approaches. A new focus on organic ‘two-way’ digital marketing will get consumers talking about you, instead of just listening to you talk about yourself. That means you will need a blueprint for a digital marketing strategy.
FMCG companies will have to overcome four key threats:
2. Digital Technology
3. Small Brand Revolution (Challenger Brands)
Better technology will enable FMCGs to maintain a healthy base with access to and a better understanding of advanced analytics. You must continue to learn how to revisit your media spend and focus on revenue growth management by using big data to improve demand forecasting. That includes artificial intelligence (AI), advanced analytics, and algorithms to improve retailer fill rates.
However, big data can also be used to create look-alike digital audiences and keep up with responses to negative online reviews to protect your brand. Data management platforms can help you use individual, device-level brand messaging, introducing opportunities to break into a precision digital marketing model.
Content is vital to your digital marketing efforts because it improves search engine optimization (SEO). An SEO strategy enables consumers to find you when searching for information online. It will drive consumers to your website to help build brand awareness, using keywords most commonly used for online searches. It also builds brand credibility and, when done well, brand loyalty.
Start focusing on user-centric content, such as consumer stories or case studies, to get consumers talking about you amongst themselves. This word-of-mouth approach leads to the consumer-driven ‘thumbs up’ recommendations that help you drive sales. It requires a community-based approach to create content that encourages loyalty. That will help you begin to build a new, stronger community that will grow with you into the future.
A good example is Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter.com. This forum is a community for moms where information is shared, while subtle ads for Johnson & Johnson products are promoted on the side. It is an entire website dedicated to providing much-needed advice to new moms and offers a place for moms to share stories across many different categories.
Purposeful marketing is at the heart of creating content, allowing you to become more relatable to consumers. Don’t just describe your products. Take a stand and create meaningful conversations with your audience. Supporting fair trade, using non-GMO ingredients, or taking environmentally friendly initiatives speaks volumes to today’s consumer. Discover what your consumers care about and show them you care about it as well.
Content for FMCG can include:
Social media is part of your content strategy but requires a strategy all its own. Using social media platforms adds to your SEO efforts, while also playing an important role in keeping ideas fresh for consumers.
You can use social media for organic purposes, allowing consumers to find you through ‘likes’ and searches, or you can choose to place ads across the various social media platforms. Going organic is usually best as it helps you maintain the ‘human aspect’ that today’s consumer appreciates. Bear in mind that people tend to find social media ads annoying or use ad blockers to avoid having to look at them. So let people find you organically. Are the little guys winning because they use ad campaigns on social media? No, they’re winning because they understand what their target wants. They use a real personality to talk to consumers, which keeps them engaged.
Success is more achievable when you integrate a digital strategy across all channels. An example of success using multiple pages is Cavin’s Milkshake. Its organic efforts used clever tie-ins to school memories that would resonate with consumers. Its Facebook page used humor and familiarity to trigger an emotional response with its #JustHighSchoolThings campaign. It used school characters from geeks to cutest couples, creating social media content that attracted attention organically.
Cavin’s Milkshake also used Instagram to build its brand. It's the perfect platform for visual impact. The company remained topical and used images, memes, and artwork to engage with its followers. And its hashtags helped to create a campaign using #CavinsSuperstar. Each month, it featured a follower who was asked questions about why they loved its milkshakes. The clever approach here was not only improving their human touch by using a follower, but also asking questions that encouraged them to participate in a conversation.
Working hand-in-hand with your social media strategy, influencer marketing enables you to tap into the large followings of everyday consumers who know how to rock social media content. They are the go-to for brands that need to reach a larger audience in a natural and engaging manner. Influencer marketing is useful for FMCG brands because it gives you access to channels trusted by consumers. It adds credibility to your brand because influencers hold sway and can offer things to their followers, who will trust their recommendations.
Back to Cavin’s Milkshake, it used influencer Richa Choudhary to target moms. She wrote a blog, used the milkshakes in recipes, and also posted on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. She even did two videos! All this helped change the perception of the brand among her followers and increased brand awareness.
The beauty of influencer marketing is that you can look for influencers with varying follower bases. You can also choose to pay for major influencers or use platforms such as BuzzSumo to search out influencers who might be interested in sharing your posts and content. You need a new mindset that allows you to forge new partnerships with less traditional allies to help build your brand.
You have to switch your perspective and set your sights on two-way conversations. Instead of preaching to consumers about why they need your brand, invite comments and discussion. The trend for FMCG digital marketing is to establish a brand presence that is consumer friendly. However, this can generate a large influx of consumer interaction, which may become difficult to manage.
Chatbots can assist in engagement as they use AI to converse with customers. Chatbots are a social media extension designed to ‘talk’ with consumers and answer queries. They can ‘man’ social media pages to respond to comments and questions in real time, helping you to keep up with consumer expectations.
A personalized consumer experience is the key to digital marketing. With the new technology available to collect and sort data, you can provide the intimate customer experience consumers expect today. Using data to understand how consumers shop enables you to target them one on one. Data breaks down not only what they like, but how they want to be reached, so you can use that approach to speak to them directly.
Drip email marketing enables you to provide personalized communication through an automated system. You set the parameters, including how often you wish to communicate. You can start with a welcome email, add a further communication if the consumer visits your site, and then another if you have e-commerce and they leave something in their cart. Each email is precisely written for their personal needs, so they trust you to guide them to a sale. It is a nurturing, hand-holding form of marketing, leading consumers to make purchases.
FMCGs also need to embrace e-commerce to maximize success in omni-channel and e-marketplaces. They can reinvent themselves to grow profitability. Most FMCG products use ads to push for brick-and-mortar purchases at larger retailers. However, because challenger brands are available online, you could be losing purchases when consumers can’t find you. Look into opportunities to get your brand online with major players, such as Amazon and even Facebook, to increase sales.
Retargeting is also an excellent tool if you plan to use some form of e-commerce. Retargeting, which is available through Google AdWords, collects information on visitors to your site. It remembers their visit and continues to bring your products and information to their attention while they move around the internet. This helps encourage conversions and keeps you top of mind.
Your marketing efforts require a strong and quick shift towards digital marketing. Without it, you will miss out on rebuilding your brand to meet the changing needs of consumers. You will also completely miss the mark on talking to younger generations. Strong content, creative social media, partnerships with influencers, and email campaigns will help you reconnect. Consumers will see you with fresh eyes.