As AI and automation continue to revolutionize advertising, FMCG marketing is in a position to reap the full rewards of these new technologies. Digital marketing has raised the bar even higher with automated marketing tools such as customized data collection, automated email distribution, and more creative content.
When it comes to consumer engagement, FMCG brands can benefit from implementing this dynamic and highly-personalized approach in ad campaigns.
Marketing Challenges Faced by FMCG Brands
Retaining and Growing Sales
One of the biggest challenges for FMCG brands is the ephemeral nature of the products themselves. Since they're consumed or used quickly, companies often don't get feedback on how well their products work or how popular they are with consumers. In fact, a recent study by Kantar Worldpanel showed that most buyers of FMCG items only buy a brand once, which means that customer bases are in constant turnover.
Trends vs. Product Innovation Cycles
Consumer trends can change quickly -- so quickly that product development can't keep up. By the time FMCG products move through R&D, testing and marketing cycles, there's a chance that consumers have moved on to competitor products that are more trendy and appealing.
Price and Promotional Management
Thanks to the competitive nature of the industry, customers have come to expect a regular influx of coupons, promotions, and discounts on FMCG products. This makes it necessary for companies to consistently manage these promotions, as well as strategically target their customers with competitive prices during optimal buying cycles.
With better personalization, data collection, demographic targeting and email distribution, FMCG companies can anticipate consumer trends more accurately, speed up R&D, testing and marketing cycles, and manage promotions more efficiently.
Automated Marketing Strategies Can Benefit FMCG Brands
By harnessing data collection through automated strategies, businesses can boost the personalization of their content by segmenting their target audience.
Statistics show that email marketing continues to deliver the highest ROI -- and personalized audience segmentation (through analytics and data collection) remains one of the top email marketing strategies.
One way to enhance and optimize segmentation is to implement an automated email marketing strategy that sends emails to specific target audiences at optimal times.
Through this type of personalization, FMCG brands can develop a one-on-one relationship with customers before they even visit the stores. Likewise, promotions, coupons, embedded videos and other innovative strategies can also be implemented to increase audience engagement.
For example, online pet supplier Doggyloot collects data and then segments its audience according to the size of their pets. This way, the company's email and programmatic ads are customized and placed to reach pet owners within those segments. As a result, miniature poodle owners only receive email notifications (or see ad placement) for small-sized dog biscuits and other products catered for smaller dogs.
In another example, coffee retailer Boca Java segmented their marketing lists according to the amount of bags their customers ordered. The company sent emails offering a 17 percent discount on three-pack coffee combinations to three audience segments: customers who had previously bought two, three or four bags. By doing this, marketers discovered that consumers in the two-bag segment responded more than other segments -- and this gave them insights for future ad strategies.
More Examples of Automation-Powered FMCG Campaigns
Coca-Cola's "Share a Coke"
According to the Kantar Worldpanel study cited earlier, Coca-Cola continues to be the world's most popular FMCG brand -- and not surprisingly, the soft drink giant was one of the first companies to embrace automated technology in its marketing strategies. Examples of these strategies include the "Share a Coke" campaign, in which the company, after leveraging data collected by marketing automation, replaced its logo on its cans with 250 of the most popular millennial names. In another campaign, Coca-Cola utilized algorithms to create more than two million unique Diet Coke bottles.
Feeligreen's Skin Cream Usage Data
In 2015, cosmetic startup Feeligreen produced a handheld device that consumers could use to apply a variety of nourishing skin creams. The device was controlled through an app that -- with user permission -- automatically collected data on how often it was used. This information was sent back to Feeligreen, and the company rewarded the user with tips and recommendations for better skincare.
FMCG companies worldwide are significantly increasing their usage of automated data collection to engage their target demographics better.
For example, Conagra, which owns some of the most popular food brands in the U.S. (including Hunts, Marie Callender's, Orville Redenbacher's and Peter Pan), now spends two-thirds of its advertising budget on data-driven ads and has begun partnering with tech industries to create digital ads with more personalized content.
As automation technologies continue to develop, the FMCG industry can begin to deploy more consumer-centric strategies. These strategies will empower brands with more effective feedback gathering, customer engagement, and retention.