Transformation is nothing new to consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies.
Many consumer goods organizations were already experimenting with and optimizing their people, processes, and technologies to accelerate business growth prior to 2020.
The pandemic simply expedited their respective business transformation efforts.
That said, CPG companies "face steeper challenges based on disadvantages built into their established business model," as Marketing Dive reporter Peter Adams pointed out.
Specifically, CPG organizations lack the first-party data foundation required to better understand and engage their customers and realize their desired long-term growth.
With a customer data platform (CDP) at the center of their technology stacks and transformation strategies, though, consumer goods businesses can finally 'own' their customer data and innovate in ways in which they were previously unable.
We've already noted how retailers and publishers take advantage of CDPs like BlueConic to carry out their respective growth initiatives. Here's how CPG companies can do the same.
CDP use case #1: Launch a direct-to-consumer website to act as the foundation of your DTC engagement model and help you build mutually beneficial customer relationships.
Many CPG companies are adapting their business models to lessen reliance on retailers.
That's because their retail partners traditionally outright own the transactional data for customers who purchase CPGs' products and (unfortunately) don’t willingly share that invaluable shopper data back with those consumer goods organizations.
So, how can CPGs with BlueConic circumvent these retail partners and deal with this data deficiency? By building their own direct-to-consumer (DTC) websites so they can:
Collect engagement, behavioral, interest, purchase, and other data directly from visitors
Persistently store that first-party data in dynamically updated customer profiles
Implement real-time, omni-channel, lifecycle messaging across touchpoints and channels and targeted campaigns (e.g., holiday, seasonal, and event-based campaigns)
Sell directly to their target customers (save for CPGs that must comply with laws prohibiting sales of their products online, such as alcoholic beverage companies)
Consider M&Ms. A 2021 Forrester and Marketing Dive study found the company has the best DTC website among 29 well-known consumer goods organizations analyzed.
The report noted the Mars-owned brand provides several product customization options, individualized offers, customer loyalty rewards, and interactive features on its DTC website.
Moreover, M&Ms effectively drives traffic to its popular direct-to-consumer site via its strong organic social media presence and targeted advertising efforts.
The key report takeaway? "CPGs will continue to invest in proprietary DTC platforms with the looming death of the third-party cookie and as habits driven by the pandemic stick."
In other words, consumer goods businesses recognize the depleting value of third-party cookies, the substantial value of building first-party data sets, and that they must leverage said data to create a continuous value exchange between brand and consumer.
CDP use case #2: Enhance media-spend efficiency by using first-party data instead of third-party cookies for your cross-channel, individualized ad targeting efforts.
One of the best ways CPG companies with BlueConic can capitalize on their unified (and growing) first-party data sets is to use that data to improve their targeting efforts.
Data secured via their DTC sites as well as from several other systems and sources — their ESPs, campaign tools, adtech, and ecommerce platforms, to name a handful — informs the:
Types of/specific products to promote to specific individuals and/or customer segments during each stage of their lifecycle
Ideal channels (i.e., social media and/or search engines) on which to promote products
Best times to serve ads based on customers' most recent activity (e.g., product-page views, latest purchases, items abandoned in online shopping carts, returns made)
This targeted, data-driven advertising approach ultimately leads to more efficient media spend. It also means CPGs can do away with third-party-cookie-based ad programs.
Google delayed complete deprecation of third-party cookies to 2023.
However, as BlueConic COO Cory Munchbach told Digiday, industries that utilize the impermanent data source should use the 'bonus' time to continue to collect first-party data and plan concerted, long-term growth initiatives around that customer data.
Take BlueConic customer HEINEKEN USA, for example.
The company recognized its advertising program based on deprecating third-party cookies and a soon-to-be-obsolete data management platform (DMP) had to evolve.
“An issue we had with DMP-based segments historically was that we lacked a lot of insight,” HEINEKEN USA Director of Consumer Data Strategy Bek Kennedy told AdExchanger.
So, the company began its consumer data journey with help from BlueConic to "future-proof" its data utilization, particularly as it pertained to its targeted advertising efforts.
Now, HEINEKEN USA has a more sustainable advertising approach in place that is helping it better understand and interact with prospects and customers alike.
Employ an ad strategy based on first-party data and with a CDP such as BlueConic, and you can a) deliver relevant, well-timed ads to your engaged audience to generate more revenue and b) eliminate ad waste by suppressing ads to unengaged individuals who don't merit any promotional messaging at a given moment.
CDP use case #3: Bridge the gap between the output of data science and analytics and non-technical teams responsible for engaging customers and/or driving growth.
Ensure tech users have the "most up-to-date understanding of consumer behaviors." Collect data from many sources to employ "fit-for-purpose machine-learning techniques." Use insights from said techniques to "provide corridors for the unknown."
That's what McKinsey advises consumer-centric companies to do in light of the significant changes to the commerce climate and in consumers' buying behaviors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But it's also meant to help CPG companies cope with the next big disruption, whatever form that may take.
The only way CPGs can capably leverage machine learning (and other artificial intelligence capabilities) is for data science and analytics to be democratized across the organization.
That means business users without the technical savvy and knowhow data scientists and analytics pros have need tech that empowers them to make the most of AI and ML functionality (e.g., predictive modeling) and evaluate prospects and customers with ease.
For instance, BlueConic's out-of-the-box machine learning capabilities help marketing, CX, commerce, customer services, and other growth-focused teams deploy models that calculate everything from customer lifetime value (CLV) and recency, frequency, and monetary (RFM) value scores to their propensity to buy and churn.
These models' out helps these teams identify enlightening trends. For instance, they can:
Discern which products and/or brands sell most and least often via their DTC websites
Where their high-CLV customers tend to purchase most (i.e., online or offline channels)
What attributes (demographic, behavioral) customers who churn have most in common
With user-friendly, easy-to-deploy predictive models such as these, each growth-focused team at CPGs can generate new, valuable customer insights and scores.
In turn, they get data in a format they can use to improve how they engage with customers and, at the end of the day, support a fast-moving, end-to-end CX strategy.
Learn how one of today's leading CPG companies, HEINEKEN USA, created 'golden consumer records' and transformed its relationships with customers using BlueConic.