Sacrifice is the most important skill for CPG marketing now

CPG marketing used to be about leading the development of a TV campaign and a year-long media plan, running it, then next year, doing it all again. TV was a very forgiving medium. It did everything really well: awareness, emotional benefit, compelling product demo, clear call to action and sales went up. What’s not to like?

In today’s world, budgets and consumer habits have pushed many brands away from TV to digital and social. The challenge is that these are not as forgiving. The consumer is so time-pressed and overstimulated that if you don’t tailor your message just for them, then they won’t even see it.

The beauty of digital and social is that your production and media costs are much lower, your ability to precisely target is much better, and you get almost immediate feedback on what’s working and what’s not. The point being: If you are willing to invest the time and effort, be disciplined and sacrifice with both message and media, and measure and optimize continuously, then it will be worth it.

Here are a couple simple tips to get you started.

  1. Really define your target audience(s) – You need to get past basic demographics. Not precise enough. Think sacrifice. What are the interests and needs that REALLY define your audience?
  2. Determine the phases of your customer’s journey – Today’s journey is more circular in nature, but the basics are the same. Be aware of additional phases, triggers and entry points.
  3. Establish clear objectives and KPIs – Align them with the phases of your customer’s journey to enable efficient optimization throughout the campaign.
  4. Allocate your budget based on those KPIs – Set your media budgets to focus optimizing to your KPIs. Awareness can be a KPI and conversion can be a KPI, just not with the same media dollar. Budgeting by KPI will help you efficiently manage your spend while ensuring you hit your goals.
  5. Determine reporting ahead of time – Use the KPIs you established to drive reporting. This will allow you to make the necessary adjustments along the way.
  6. Think like a conductor, not a soloist – A successful campaign isn’t just having a strong strategy, it’s also about how you implement that strategy as a team.

Here’s how GKV used this approach to build a successful campaign for Bridgestone:

Background: Bridgestone is known for its tires, not its golf balls. Their balls are technically the best (hit longer and straighter), but Titleist casts a huge shadow. To get Bridgestone Golf noticed, the CEO made a big bet on Tiger Woods, so we made a big bet on Tiger Woods too. We had a lot we needed to accomplish and not a lot of money as some of it went to our messenger.

Approach: With sacrifice in mind, we decided to forgo TV. It required too large a budget and only reached a sliver of one of the two segments that we cared about. We knew what success meant for each of them, and it was not the same thing. We identified their customer journeys and built our digital video, banners, emails, website and social content to move them along that journey. KPIs were set. Budgets allocated. Pixels placed. We turned it on and the wild ride began.

Results: There were lots of discussions, lots of changes and, most importantly, lots of golf balls sold.

I find no small amount of irony in the fact that this article is about sacrifice, yet it advocates a much more complex version of CPG marketing than before. Unfortunately, the complexity of marketing is not a choice. What is a choice is doing it effectively. That’s where the sacrifice comes in.

P.S. Another word for sacrifice also begins with an S. It’s strategy. Need help with Sacrifice and Strategy? Give me a shout.

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