Even as the consumer packaged goods category experiences a windfall from pandemic-driven buying habits, CPG marketers face a steep challenge in balancing the priorities of traditional retail marketing and ecommerce. Thankfully, success in both endeavors depends on more effectively understanding and reaching consumers.
While many CPG brands now account for these major shifts in consumer shopping habits, the most successful CPG marketers seek to better understand and respond to these trends within the context of their own product mix. Enter a new type of competitive intelligence for many CPG marketers: A channel-agnostic approach to interpreting the consumer market signals most relevant to their own product mix to fuel smarter marketing decisions.
While a wide array of market intelligence signals could be useful, three categories of datasets have already proven to be particularly helpful for CPG marketers:
- Retail analytics
- Marketing data
- Customer insights
CPG marketers use this type of data to track and monitor online retailers selling their brands and those of competitors. It empowers them to nimbly react to the rapidly changing market. With the right retail analytics in place, marketers can predict trends before they happen and act on those insights to make successful and profitable decisions.
Reviewing online sales and traffic data, for example, can uncover powerful insights. Marketers increasingly monitor for sales spikes and dips in near real time, track the performance of promotions, and estimate traffic levels to product pages and brand stores. By analyzing this data, marketers can forecast and plan for seasonality and promotions, proactively implementing the right offers and marketing programs. They can also beat competitors to the punch by picking up on sales trends before they do and encourage early shoppers with ads and other promotions.
Monitoring the “digital shelf” also helps marketers keep sales on track and better manage its retail sellers. Oshiya Savur, head of U.S. marketing and education in the luxury division at Revlon, told Forbes the company focuses heavily on channel conflict management, such as inventory that appears on gray-market sellers, or price matching among retailers on Prime Day.
Mining competitive intelligence data in retail analytics also helps CPG marketers advertise more effectively and efficiently. They can identify and exploit advertising gaps where they’re beating rivals, expanding those results while discovering areas where they need to improve to compete more effectively.
This type of data delves into performance insights derived from advertising practices. As CPG marketers shift more of their media mix to digital channels and focus less on the types of brand marketing they have historically deployed, many benefits of performance advertising become available to them. When armed with the marketing data provided by advertising analytics, CPG marketers can make informed decisions about how to allocate ad budgets, set efficient media bids and optimize messaging to improve and maximize their return on investment (ROI).
To master digital marketing, CPG marketers must build relationships with customers to aid them in their purchase decisions and provide them the right information at the right time. They must engage them at key inflection points across channels with personalized messages, rather than static, outdated banner ads, to reinforce their value and carefully shape their buying criteria. Robust marketing data fueled with unique consumer signals gives CPG marketers the ability to target consumers with the right personalized message to drive sales.
Analyzing marketing data like media engagement and creative intelligence that include likes, comments and clicks, for instance, enables CPG marketers to optimize their programs to call on the best elements that drive consumers down the funnel from awareness to consideration and, finally, to purchase. Knowing which ads and messages perform the best, they can also blend insights to build new variations of messages for any audience or marketing channel.
This type of data helps CPG marketers understand the customer journey and better market to them throughout the funnel. According to a recent Harris poll on gaps in customer experience, a majority of consumers expect brands to know their buying habits and preferences to better anticipate their needs. Without a personalized experience, some consumers say they would stop doing business with certain companies, so creating personalized content shows a level of care along the customer journey that meaningfully enhances their experience and build brand loyalty.
Consumers’ new expectations for brands require not just a fundamental understanding of how and why consumers purchase, but a granular level of data down to the customer journey level and specific to their own product mix. According to Nielsen, “Two critical issues that advertisers need to determine in executing their online advertising are which audiences to target and which sources of data to use to reach those audiences.” Marketers can access a wide range of data to define and identify audiences from a vast array of sources.
Certain CPG product categories, for instance, rely on life stage data – married/single, parent/child-free, retired, etc. – to impact every marketing decision. For example, the percentage of new mothers a publisher garners will dictate if a diaper company chooses to invest and at what level. Similarly, tapping into customer-specific data like historic purchase behavior provides access to one of the strongest signals of a consumer’s future purchases. Customers exhibiting purchase behavior aligned with a CPG marketer’s products can be more strategically targeted with ads.
As market shifts continue to create challenges for CPG marketers, it’s imperative to understand data’s essential role in overcoming ecommerce obstacles. Knowing how to effectively activate critical datasets helps you make smarter advertising decisions for ecommerce success. Understanding seismic shifts in consumer behavior won’t suffice. Brands that contextualize data and trends to better understand the business impact can make a big impact and accelerate growth.
Kate DuBois is General Manager, Market Intelligence, Kenshoo