The most effective advertising techniques for CPG brands create top-of-mind awareness when the consumer is in the store. By establishing personal and engaging connections, brands can stay at the top of consumers minds when they discover a need for a product. These techniques are often technology-focused, yet they provide a human-centric experience that gives a brand personality.
Technology provides brands with several opportunities to create messages that resonate with consumers. Mobile video, in-store apps, programmatic marketing, and emerging platforms offer ways to target the right individuals as they’re in a purchase mindset and drive them to specific products in the store. These five effective marketing techniques help brands connect with consumers in ways that increase interest and drive sales.
#1: Branded Storytelling on Social Media
Creating a compelling narrative for a campaign can help humanize a brand, and keep it top-of-mind for consumers when it comes time to shop. Like in any story, these campaigns need characters, a plotline, and a satisfying ending to keep consumers intrigued with the premise. Most importantly, these stories need an emotional component that drives affinity.
Purina provides an excellent example of the effectiveness of branded storytelling with their Service Dog Salute, in which they set a goal to raise $500,000 to support Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. To engage consumers, Purina provided a price matching option to donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of various products.
To drive awareness, Purina partnered with BuzzFeed on a content campaign that told the stories of real armed forces veterans, and the service dogs that supported them. The touching stories shared how each pair found each other, and included details of their lives together. By telling the stories of these veterans and their pets in a real and engaging way, Purina was easily able to drive campaign interest and reach its goals.
The cleverest tactic in Purina’s strategy was involving real people. This is a critical component of any charitable campaign, as the consumer wants to see who they’re helping when they spend their money or donate. By telling the true stories of these veterans and featuring them in their advertising, Purina created a human connection which is crucial in brand storytelling.
#2: Programmatic Marketing Through the Internet
Programmatic marketing is an absolute must for any marketer that wants to keep pace with the rapidly moving digital landscape. Most marketers recognize this trend, as it's estimated that programmatic ad spend will reach $69 billion by 2020, and these purchases will account for over 90% of the digital ad spend category. Marketers choose programmatic because it offers a wide range of benefits, including:
Mass marketing access:
Google gets an estimated 40,000 searches per second, which presents a lot of potential for ad buys. Whether brands are paying to be in the sponsored section of the search results or gaining real estate in the sidebar of a popular website, these numbers are promising. Through programmatic marketing, brands can reach millions of consumers with a single search.
Programmatic marketing offers the opportunity to pick and choose who sees certain ads, meaning that brands can control the delivery of the message to ensure that it’s viewed by the most engaged audiences. Marketers can break the delivery down by categories such as gender, interest, and socioeconomic status to ensure they only reach those most likely to purchase their products.
Streamlined ad buying and tracking:
Prior to programmatic marketing, marketers had to request proposals, negotiate prices, and manually insert advertisements. All of this took time and money. Additionally, they had to follow up to ensure there was a reasonable ROI on their purchases, and that they didn’t waste money on the wrong platforms. With today’s tools, marketers can manage their payments and automatically purchase ads based on digital bidding options. They can also access at-a-glance reviews of ROI and monitor for issues like ad fraud in reporting.
Programmatic ad buys give marketers the best of both worlds. They can reach mass audiences but only pay for views where users are engaged in their ads. As such, it’s incredibly important that brands look for ways to leverage programmatic marketing across the internet to improve brand recognition and conversion.
#3: In-Store Marketing via Mobile Apps
One of the most effective advertising techniques is in-store marketing that encourages consumers to engage with products. With a mobile shopping app, like Shopkick, consumers are incentivized to scan product UPCs in exchange for rewards points (or kicks). This drives shoppers to seek out products at-shelf, which significantly increases purchase potential.
This was something Kellogg’s learned when they chose to contact Shopkick to assist in a new product launch. The brand was rolling out its Nutri-Grain Bakery Delights Crumb Cakes and wanted a way to boost awareness of this new product, and stay top of mind by engaging with consumers along the entire path to purchase. Shopkick first built pre-shop consideration and educated consumers about the new product with engaging in-app content. In-store, Shopkick incentivized shoppers to interact with, and ultimately purchase, the featured product by rewarding them throughout their shopping trip. This integration of digital and physical experiences provided strong results for the brand. Overall, they saw a 35% purchase conversion rate and a 5 to 1 ROI through this strategy.
In-store engagement is a particularly strong tactic for a new product launch as it gets consumers to seek out the product in the store. Handling the product creates a sense of ownership which drives them to buy. Rewards then offer greater brand affinity that can make them a loyal purchaser down the road.
#4: Partnering With Emerging Voice Platforms
The voice ordering market is expected to reach $40 billion in sales value by 2022, meaning now is a wise time to optimize product listings for audio content. Smart speakers are the primary drivers of this use, but other wearables like smartwatches or even smart appliances will likely play key roles in the growth of this market.
Brands should look to the providers of voice platforms to enhance their marketing potential before these platforms become saturated. Increasing brand awareness and reputation on voice search platforms is crucial, as product reviews will drive the search results in these mediums. Some brands have even chosen to roll out voice-centric apps to increase recognition in this space.
For example, Campbell’s added in an Alexa skill to their Campbell’s Kitchen app to optimize on the growing voice trend. Consumers attempting to follow an online recipe are often challenged by using screens, as their hands are full and scrolling on a screen is not conducive to preparing a meal. By making recipe instructions hands-free with voice interaction, Campbell’s improved the customer experience and heightened the impression of their brand. That positive affinity carries over to their reviews, which increases their visibility in the search results.
Now is the time for brands to use voice to stand out through digital marketing. As these platforms are still emerging, they’re not yet saturated, meaning brands have several opportunities to gain market share as the voice market grows.
#5: Co-branding to Reach Larger Audiences
Some products naturally complement each other. Whether it’s chips and salsa, shampoo and conditioner, or sports games and beer, there’s a natural segue that brands should take advantage of. Cross promotions may involve teaming two of a brand’s existing products together, or even crossing paradigms and working with an entirely new partner. An example of this strategy can be seen in Budweiser’s partnership with the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team.
The partnership involved an AR experience tied to live games. During these games, attendees could use their smartphones to play virtual basketball games only available by scanning the scoreboard. Consumers at home could also enjoy the exclusive event by scanning Budweiser specific merchandise, providing them with a similar in-game experience. The branded opportunity helped engage consumers in the Budweiser brand and provided added value for game attendees.
Cross-branding doesn’t need to occur on a major AR level, either. Brands can simply place products next to each other on store shelves, or offer common partnering options via e-commerce platforms. The key is discovering these trends when they’re still emerging and then capitalizing on them in time to reach consumers.
In-House Creation or Partnerships for the Most Effective Advertising Techniques
When leveraging the most effective advertising techniques for CPG brands, a mix of in-house development and digital partnerships will be critical. Brands should consider what they’re willing to develop on their own, and then use strategic mobile app partnerships to fill the gap.
Target serves as a prime example of this kind of mix. The retailer develops its in-house apps to improve the customer experience, such as augmented reality apps to help consumers pick furniture and cosmetics. They also provide e-commerce platforms for consumers who prefer to shop online, and blur the line by allowing those consumers to use those e-commerce apps to schedule curb or in-store pickup of orders. The retailer uses digital options to improve its supply chain, enhance customer service, and supplement in-store shopping.
At the same time, Target also participates in third-party rewards programs to reach consumers who might not use the brands other services. This relationship is reciprocal, as the rewards program encourages consumers to visit Target, both through rewards they get for walking through the door, and gift cards they can earn by gathering kicks. The partnership also creates a virtual greeting that encourages users of the app to visit the store.
For brands that find it too expensive to manage their own rewards, third-party shopping apps provide a solution. As CPG brands often can’t connect their rewards to a store’s POS system, they may suffer from limited participation, as consumers don’t want to carry additional cards or enter details on websites later. Third-party apps cut out the barriers that hinder participation by allowing consumers to use their smartphones in the store to gain rewards.
The most effective advertising techniques leverage both available and emerging options in technology to improve the customer experience. Brands can provide consumers with rewards, reach larger audiences, and improve their branded experience overall by leveraging mobile marketing. There are many effective advertising techniques brands can use to gain market share, but these five represent the best to implement with the highest potential ROI.