Consumer goods brands: Give your own channels more time and love again

In the digital world, brand reach means everything. However, many marketers fail to recognize the importance of their own communication channels. However, this is where users look for product information.

The market for paid media, i.e. paid advertising, is an unrestrained growth machine in the digital world: According to Statista Digital Market Outlook As of July 2019, the current expenditure forecast for Germany this year is around eight billion euros – plus 36 percent over the next four years. This is noticeable, among other things, in the fact that the marketing departments of consumer goods manufacturers, also known as Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), whip their creative agencies from one campaign to the next, while the media agency claps loudly in the background. Because in the race for customer attention, the saviors of marketing are non-skippable pre-roll, story ad with swipe-up, selection ad on Snapchat or expandable medium rectangular banners. But what comes after the jump? Right, usually your own channels.

Don’t neglect your own channels

Brand managers should not get this wrong now: Media is important! Very important, in fact. But the part of the purchase decision path on which customers walk on foreign channels ends with phase 1 – attention. However, when it comes to information, purchase consideration and loyalty building, the brand’s own channels come into play: website, shop, blog, app , customer club and newsletter. For example, Unity Media found out in a survey that almost every second German receives newsletters on the subject of beauty and care. For topics related to food and nutrition, it is even more than half.

In general, the Internet, with all the services and sites to be found there, is an information and entertainment medium – that will not change either. Many users find out about all kinds of topics there. Usually – as is very nice to observe with food – even directly at the manufacturer. In order to win over customers, the owned touchpoints, i.e. their own contact points such as the brand website or newsletter, of the respective brands must convince directly and without compromising in terms of content and design.

Investments are worthwhile

Many brand managers still shy away from the high costs of their own channels. If you look at the classic performance indicators soberly, you can understand this reluctance: To show around a million people the new packaging design of a shower gel, you only have to invest a four-digit amount on Instagram – including production costs. The investments for regular website maintenance, on the other hand, are much higher – with often lower visitor numbers. What most marketers forget, however, is the quality of the contact. This means the intensity of employment with the brand and the products, which in turn contribute to the purchase decision.

More efficiency through the right channel focus – paid and owned

Are ten three-second views on Facebook now worth more than a four-minute session on your own product pages? Is a like with the advertising influencer less relevant than an additional newsletter recipient?

The answer is: It depends – for example on the objective, the content or the costs of a campaign. In any case, it is extremely important for FMCG brand managers to develop a strategic solution for the use of their own and external touchpoints, to implement them stringently and to link the two with one another:

1. Understand target group behavior

In order to be able to correctly classify the behavior of the users, brand managers should first analyze which channels are fundamentally relevant for communication with their customers and then define these firmly for the further strategy. It is also important to understand what users use these channels for in everyday life – for example, to contact customer service or give feedback to the brand. Furthermore, it should be taken into account how the visitors are made aware of the channels and whether there are typical “suppliers” such as newsletters. These insights then form the basis for all further concepts and measures.

2. Assess and prioritize channels

The next step is to incorporate the defined communication channels into your own strategy in a meaningful and valuable way – regardless of whether it is Facebook and Co., influencers, brand websites or newsletters. Reach and linked marketing goals play a decisive role when choosing a platform. And last but not least, it is important to consider the costs of operating and maintaining the defined channels.

3. Make the relevant channels fit and keep them in shape

Then those responsible should develop a content strategy. The focus is on how which channel is used by the users. This is crucial for the design of the individual content and measures. Only content that addresses the wishes of the user but is also “on brand”, that is, contributes to the brand goals and takes corporate identity into account, ultimately works. Whether this is the case is ideally checked with a stringent monitoring and tracking approach. This not only ensures efficient use of resources, but also fast response times. In addition, the information collected in this way provides further pointers for continuously optimizing the strategy.

Tried and tested tools and methods exist for all three steps: For the analysis of target group behavior , it has proven useful to use profound persona concepts in order to recognize all aspects of individual groups of people and to draw useful conclusions. In order to prioritize the channels, those responsible can fall back on detailed touchpoint role analyzes. The next step is to convince the target group with good content, an excellent user experience design and sensible personalization. If these points are met, there is nothing to be said against a generous media budget.

On the way to greater reach, FMCG marketers should not only concentrate on – admittedly – reliable paid formats and concepts, but also make their own channels fit for the future. Because only the combination of paid and owned will lead to long-term success.


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