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How To Become a Marksman With Your CPG Marketing Strategy.

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CPG Marketing Strategies

Whether you’re a new CPG brand or an established category leader, this article will help you understand CPG marketing in this new economy. We discuss the latest strategies, trends, and challenges for consumer packaged goods brands with examples of winning CPG marketing strategies.

Having worked alongside internal CPG marketing teams at the world’s leading brands and external brand marketing agencies, we provide you with a unique look at what’s working when marketing consumer packaged goods. Let’s dig into marketing for the CPG industry.

What is the Current State of CPG Marketing?

While every CPG industry magazine leans heavily on direct-to-consumer topics, the category is trending more for information than it is for brands that are winning in the marketplace. Sure, direct-to-consumer is still a low-risk model for mom and pop brands promoting their consumer goods.

Covid-19 gave brick-and-mortar CPG retailers the push necessary to make them more relevant to online shoppers. This rapid increase in ready for pickup orders required heavy app and website development investments. This completely changed the way retailers promoted packaged goods.

Here’s a look at a few ways national retailers use their online presence to drive location sales.

  1. Synchronized loyalty programs
  2. Free samples at the point of pickup
  3. Recommended items

Case Study: Bob’s Red Mill

Bobs Red Mill CPG Marketing Strategy

We’ve previously talked about Bob’s Red Mill online marketing strategy and all of how they are doing things right. Yet, with all of that success, they have eliminated their direct-to-consumer model and completely focused on retail partnerships. Despite heavy direct-to-consumer investments, Bob and his team believe they will capture more market share by aligning with the new way the CPG industry drives sales to retail stores.

This doesn’t mean Bob’s Red Mill needs to give up on marketing channels that contribute to online brand awareness. Instead, they can now turn visitors into customers through coupons, email marketing, contest sign-ups, and recipe focused content marketing.

Lean On Data To Understand Your Consumer

Whether you take a D2C or B2B approach, you need consumer data at your fingertips to create the most effective CPG marketing strategy. All CPG categories have enough competitors that it requires us to understand our target consumer fully. Your marketing plan must have a detailed understanding of the potential consumer you hope to reach, a key insight about them, and the only way you get there is through primary consumer research.

Here are three ways (you should use all of them) to better understand your ideal consumer and how to find this information.

Existing Consumer Insights

There are two primary ways to find existing consumer data. The first and least often used method is using the traditionally used tools for search engine marketing. Using tools such as Google Analytics and Ahrefs gives you insights into what consumers are searching for. It also helps you determine when they are searching for them and what questions they have about the topic.

Example: Let’s say you are considering how to market your natural ghee product. Looking up the matching search terms for Ghee tells us that the most commonly asked question, outside of what ghee is, is understanding if ghee is healthy. While we might assume that most people recognize ghee as healthy, we now see that there is a need to showcase the health benefits of ghee within our advertising.

Keyword Research For CPG Marketing

The second way we can access information about our consumers is through consumer demographics and customer intent data. For this, you will need to open up your wallet to access online reports and ai tools that provide details about the consumer and their buying intent.

Creating Consumer Insights

CPG brands, big and small, should develop their own consumer demographics and buyer intent data. While we offer consumer testing for CPG brands, you can get started using social media and your existing email list to learn more about your consumer.

Example: Let’s say we are a healthy snack vending machine company. To create a more intelligent intent-based marketing strategy, we created a Facebook group poll to determine which healthy snacks parents prefer.

Those with an existing email list can create simple surveys. But since you are entering people’s inboxes, you want to ensure your message is clear and drives them to take action.

Testing Consumer Insights

Do you believe everything that everyone tells you? Of course not. It’s human nature to say one thing and do another. Often, we have the best intentions, but our decisions shift in a different direction. We can say the same about existing consumer insights and the data we collect through our own effort.

The fact is that consumer intent differs from purchase intent. To determine the validity of your CPG insights, put your consumer insights and research to the test.

For example, if you’ve determined that moms believe healthier gummies make for a great snack, test their performance in several vending machines before committing to a large run. We want to prove product-market fit before making significant capital investments.

How does consumer intent differ from purchase intent?

Consumer intent is a subjective conclusion consumers come to when asked a specific question about preference or purchasing. Purchase intent is the uninterrupted act a consumer makes, concluding what product they will choose to purchase.

CPG Product Development Strategies

With this data in hand, it’s time to move to product development. This is, of course, assuming that you have yet to develop your product. If you are creating your CPG marketing strategy post-production, consider this for future products or when improving a formula.

Your product design is one of the secrets to success in CPG and is at the core of your marketing strategy. David Ogilvy is famous for saying, “Great marketing only makes a bad product fail faster.”

If the product strategy is the initial marketing effort for a CPG company, then it’s essential to look at innovation and new product development strategies through this lens.

  • Considering adding ghee to your natural cookie recipe? How does that impact your marketing?
  • Are you thinking about adding cane sugar to your low-calorie drink? How does that impact your beverage packaging design?
  • Does your protein bar require refrigeration? How will that impact your retailer relations?

These questions will impact your future advertising and marketing efforts, so they must be discussed with your product development and marketing team.

A Note On B2B CPG Marketing

What comes first? The consumer or the store buyer? You cannot separate these two forms of selling in a CPG marketing campaign, like the chicken and the egg. But with so many CPG startups knocking and asking for access, B2B CPG marketing is a must if you want in the door.

What is a B2B marketing strategy?

A B2B marketing strategy is a committed effort where you allocate time, money, and resources in a structured way to target the desired retailer. A successful B2B marketing strategy should make the retail purchaser feel as if they have no choice but to take an interest in your brand. This includes strategic selling by brand managers, print advertising, and digital marketing for consumer packaged goods.

CPG Advertising Strategies

They say it takes money to make money, including increasing consumer demand through advertising. While some of your marketing efforts will be organic, others require a committed ad spend. In this section, we will look at strong advertising strategies by CPG brands.

Digital Advertising

When you look at Rebel Ice Cream’s minimalistic packaging design, it’s easy to see why they would choose to advertise that strips away the graphic influence. While many brands have shifted their advertising budgets to the latest social platforms hoping to attract a potential customer, Rebel is using good ol’ Google ads.

At approximately $2.00 per click, Rebel is getting valuable audience data insights they can leverage through advertising platforms.

CPG Marketing With Google Ads

Print Advertising

In marketing, there’s an understood principle that we should enter the conversation going on in the customers mind. This ad is proof how Pure Leaf recognizes the battle consumers have about unsweetened tea being hard to stomach and sweetened tea being high in sugar. In this case, compromise is the answer of how to carve a niche in this established beverage category.

Sometimes the winning CPG advertising campaigns come through with the simplest of messages. This is the case with Pure Leaf’s ad campaign in HGTV magazine.

Print Ads in a CPG Marketing Strategy

On-Shelf Advertising

Reaching into the SmashBrand swipe files, here’s a look at a Yucatan packaging design that increased purchase intent in multiple nations. It’s a compounding effect because when you increase the likelihood of a consumer making a “yes” purchasing decision, the retailer gives you more shelf space.

Yucatan became more relevant to millennials and could influence consumer behavior by creating more “party-friendly packaging.” We determined that this was a purchase driver by most guacamole consumers through consumer data.

Yucutan Packaging Design

Marketing Doesn’t End At The Point of Purchase

While social media may have influenced the initial purchase, it may also be the reason for losing the next one. It is wrong to assume that we earn brand loyalty after a single or several transactions. CPG shoppers are constantly on the lookout for the next best thing. So create your marketing strategy to reinforce a consumer’s intent past the point of the initial purchase.

Want To Outperform The Competition?

SmashBrand is a packaging design & consumer testing Agency that helps consumer brands win on-shelf. If you are a brand in the CPG market looking for a design team to provide predictable retail performance, we can help. Book a time to discuss your project with our team.