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Why CPG brands love Facebook

Campaigns on the social platform get results, according to Erin Hunter, global head of CPG strategy at Facebook, assuming they involve great creativity and speak to shoppers in the right voice.

Hunter shared her views on broad changes reshaping how CPG marketers ply their trade and offered some specifics regarding Facebook effectiveness this week during a presentation at the IRI Summit. According to Hunter, 2013 saw the media industry achieve the most significant milestone of the past 60 years when the time people spend on digital devices surpassed time spent watching television. The last time such a structural shift occurred was in the 1950s when television surpassed radio, according to Hunter.

Marketers quickly jumped on the shift and created “soap operas” to leverage the platform and growth sales of their brands.

“CPG companies have a history of turning technology into growth for our industry,” Hunter said.

Fast forward to 2014 and the transformational change taking place with how brands engage with shoppers and seek to activate purchase behavior. The competitive landscape is very different and characterized by low growth in developed markets. The barriers to entry for upstart competitors have diminished and store brands are on the rise even as CPG companies’ costs are rising, according to Hunter. Adding to the dynamics of the marketplace are non-traditional retail channels, CPG brands unable to break from dependency on promotions and digitally empowered consumers who engage with brands on their terms.

“We live in an omnichannel world,” Hunter said.

The implications for marketers is that the future is less about strategies based on demographics and more about targeting based on real people and real information, according to Hunter.

Using herself as an example, Hunter explained typically demographic models would likely peg her as a mom with two kids, between 35 and 49 who makes households decisions about groceries. In reality, she and her spouse have no kids and her husband makes all the grocery decisions.

“I don’t want to see ads for grocery products, I want to see ads for motorcycle helmets,” she said referring to her personal interests.

The integration of data sets now make such targeting possible so that CPG marketers can discern between buyers who also purchase competitor products, loyal buyers and potential brand switchers to more effectively allocated marketing dollars.

The key to winning in this new landscape, according to Hunter, is for brands to ask themselves, “What are you adding to her day to amplify her experience?”

Oftentimes that can involve engaging with shoppers via Facebook, which is a modern-day gathering place for more than a billion people. Brands need to make sure they are integrating into shoppers’ lives appropriately, speaking in the right voice and talking about subjects where they have credibility, according to Hunter.

Ultimately, it is results that matter and modern technology is allowing brands to understand the effectiveness of campaigns like never before. Hunter likened the situation to what happened when brands began allocating a larger portion of marketing budgets to trade spending because the ROI was readily apparent.

“That is where we are at today with digital and there is a big opportunity for us to work together and amplify what is going on in the store,” Hunter said.

 

 

 

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