With the explosion of mobile technology and social sharing, Consumer Packaged Goods brands can no longer justify sticking to traditional marketing channels with the reasoning that “selling to customers via third-party retailers means a lower need for direct consumer interaction”. More CPG industry leaders are moving into the mobile sphere, and it is important for CMO’s of CPG brands to keep up with the mobile evolution. As a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill IMC program, I have been studying successful brand engagement strategies via mobile platforms, and two recent articles do a good job of highlighting key points a CMO needs to know for leveraging the mobile platform to better engage consumers.
The Shopkick app. Source: MobileMarketer.com
While Consumer Packaged Goods brands have started experimenting with the mobile sphere, many are faced with the challenge of directly reaching consumers who are used to engaging with retailers via the mobile platform, not CPG brands. CPG brands piggyback on third-party apps for mobile boost offers a common solution used by CPG brands to tackle this challenge, by first partnering with third-party apps, which work with multiple brands to provide product and promotion information and are more likely to be downloaded by masses of potential consumers. While brands like Clorox have rolled out brand-specific apps designed to engage particular segments (in this case, female viewers of The Bachelorette via a mobile check-in platform), the key to any mobile strategy is to provide relevant content that allow brands to “continue the conversation started on air or in print in a meaningful way with their target audience, up to and including driving a specific, desired action”.
Similarly, in 7 ways CPG brands can leverage location-based marketing, the potential of mobile platforms for CPG brands without physical retail stores is discussed from the perspective of targeting potential customers on the go. By utilizing location-based marketing to drive traffic to authorized retail stores, mobile networks to serve geo-targeted ads, or location-based lifestyle and shopping apps, CPG brands can offer exclusive content to geographically relevant shoppers, thereby creating value for customers. Furthermore, location-based data gives CPG brands valuable insight as to where and when their customers shop, as well as the products on their shopping list and being scanned real-time--serving as a viable source of sustainable, targetable customer database.
Based on my review of these two articles and various examples of mobile strategies for CPG brands, there are three actionable items that CMO’s of CPG brands can implement in their mobile brand strategy:
1. Identify target consumer and relevant app type — If the goal is to reach a broader spectrum of potential consumers and increase top-of-mind purchase saliency, then partnering with 3rd party apps that already have a steady client base will be most effective. If the goal is to increase consumer loyalty from a particular segment, then developing a brand-exclusive app with value-added or utilitarian service to the target segment will effectively attract the targeted users.
2. Tailor mobile content to customer interest and medium — For a specific demographic segment and brand-exclusive apps, tips on identified lifestyle activities will provide the most value to promote engagement (such as BandAid’s animation app helping children forget about their “booboos”, or interest-based functions like Clorox did with The Bachelorette check-in). For a broad spectrum of audience on third-party apps, information on product and promotional deals will provide useful product information that increases the product’s relevancy.
3. Use location marketing to close the gap between brand engagement and product purchase — By targeting customers within physical proximity, mobile apps can serve exclusive information on product features, promotional events or product launches to prompt “likely shoppers” toward purchase. CPG brands should utilize the data collected from location targeting to better understand the location, shopping intent, and type of product their customers are looking for, in order to provide constant customization and product updates.
As digital and social media have become part of daily life, consumers’ opinions and ideas about brands and products are constantly being influenced and reinforced. In order to stay competitive, CPG brands need to tap into the mobile sphere to increase customer engagement and reinforce purchase intent. By monitoring real-time how consumers are searching and shopping for relevant products and serving location-optimized, relevant product and promotional information, CPG brands can target the most relevant consumers on the spot and tip the scale in their favor when consumers are faced with a sea of competitive products.
Jennifer Tan is pursuing a Masters degree in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) at Northwestern University, with a focus on brand strategy and interactive/digital marketing. Prior to the program, she has worked in marketing and communications in the cloud computing and litigation technology industry. She has a passion for discovering insights from qualitative and quantitative data, and hopes to utilize her skill set in a job in Strategic Planning after graduating in September 2014. She would love to hear your thoughts and continue the conversation via Twitter at @jenntani or via LinkedIn.