Many people remember the days when the best ways to reach consumers were via ads in the Sunday grocery circular or television commercials, but in today’s market, consumers face thousands of marketing messages each day, making it harder to reach them. To maximize consumer connections, brands can personalize their marketing messages and capitalize on the opportunity to use owned media.
Panelists at the recent GMA Leadership Forum shared insights into how to most effectively use these marketing platforms to meet consumers where they are.
IRI: Owned media exposure boosts consumer spending
Consumers face some 5,000 marketing messages a day, so marketers are challenged to find consumers and then hold their attention, which is constantly being distracted by other things, said Molly Hjelm, omnichannel media director with IRI. One way to get the attention of those consumers is via owned media, which describes the channels that manufacturers and their retail partners control, such as apps, social media presence and websites.
“Households engaged in owned media programs tend to buy the brands featured in the programs 5% more, they tend to spend 14% more on those brands when they do buy them and they’re more engaged — they’re actually 36% more likely to stay engaged over time,” Hjelm said.
Owned media allows manufacturers to engage with consumers who have expressed interest in their brands, and consumers often give personally identifiable information to these companies to have a dialogue with them, she added. “They’re interested in hearing your brand news, they want to get emails from you — so it’s this direct line of communication that’s so rare in this environment — you know who they are, they’re interested in your brands and there’s an opportunity to not just connect with them, but to nurture their relationships with your brands.”
Maximize email programs
One company that is optimizing its use of owned media is General Mills, which interacts digitally with over a million consumers every day just on its website, said Audra Carson, head of the company’s content marketing and media platforms.
“About 55% of our total digital traffic actually comes organically through a Google search, meaning the content we’re creating is actually something they need and we’re serving consumers in a way they want, and that earns us the right that if they’re Googling something like how to cook hard-boiled eggs, and then we’ll show them an ad for crescent rolls by Pillsbury right next to it,” Carson said.
The company’s email programs generate another large percentage of traffic. “We know from our partnership with IRI that those people that subscribe to our email programs vs. those who just visit our website actually buy two times more General Mills products,” Carson said.
Start small rather than “swinging for the fences”
Brands that aren’t yet customizing their marketing messages toward consumers can start now by focusing on content, said David Cortese, president of digital technology solutions and services with Advantage Solutions.
“The ability to get everything from great product photos and lifestyle imagery to the attributes tied to those products is a very simple thing everyone can do without spending a lot of money on technology or fancy software products or anything like that, which can start moving things in the right direction,” Cortese said.
Starting small is essential, since consumer tastes change frequently, said Kate Sayre, global head of consumer goods strategy with Facebook. “You see a lot of people looking for a ‘swinging for the fences’ solution, and planning forward five years. We do six-month planning cycles at Facebook because we don’t know the future. And a lot of it is driven by the consumer. This is a new consumer behavior in a lot of these environments and we can pretend we may know what the consumer is going to do, or we can actually do small-scale testing, figure out what they’re going to do, and expand and go from there.”
Above all else, the only constant is change. “It feels like every five to seven years, there’s some disruptive, possibly end-of-days force in retail and we’ve got to pivot,” said Eric Gorli, vice president, commercial strategy with Keurig Green Mountain. “My advice to other suppliers is figure out how you can leverage the data that you’re hearing people talk about to put in place your commercial priorities, and be willing to work with all the players.”
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