To be successful in the CPG industry you need a robust CPG marketing strategy.
This sector in particular is very saturated as consumers have so many different brands to choose from.
On top of this, CPG products by their very nature, do not create a great deal of excitement.
After all, have you ever seen someone get excited about buying a pack of toilet rolls? Or rushing to the shopping aisle to pick up a box of cereal?
I highly doubt it (unless they just really love toilet roll and cereal.)
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The truth is, these products are a necessity.
This means for brands to be successful, they need to give customers a reason to want to buy from them. It’s a given that customers need to buy these products (everyone needs toilet roll) but there’s nothing motivating them to buy your product over someone else.
This is where a strong CPG marketing strategy comes into force as you need to craft the right messaging and build a compelling brand story.
This allows you to make a connection with your customers so that they care enough about your brand to choose your toilet roll (or any other CPG product) over someone else.
Continue reading to find out how you can devise a winning CPG marketing strategy to sell more products.
Why Is CPG Marketing Important?
As we said in the intro, the CPG industry is heavily saturated as lots of brands offer consumers exactly the same thing.
For example when it comes to beauty products alone, you have countless brands such as Maybelline, No.7, Rimmel, L’Oreal, Revlon, and Bobbi Brown.
Similarly when it comes to bags of crisps, you’ve got Walkers, McCoys, Tyrells, Pringles, and Doritos.
So, why should customers choose you over someone else? You need to prove how your product genuinely brings value to their lives.
Is it because your crisps are made from better ingredients with a wider variety of flavours?
Or because your toilet paper brand is committed to the environment and sustainability?
Whatever it is, give people a reason to choose you, instead of them picking up the first product they see on the shelf.
Another reason why CPG marketing is so important is because consumer habits are constantly changing.
As a result, your marketing team needs to stay on top of these trends and any changes in consumer preferences.
For example, a lot of people now shop online and have products delivered straight to the door. They are becoming increasingly disengaged in the ‘in-store shopping experience’ and simply want products easily and conveniently.
This means CPG brands need to adapt and maximise their ecommerce channels to make it easy for consumers to buy online.
What Problems Do CPG Brands Face?
What makes CPG marketing even more important is that it helps brands face some of their biggest challenges.
Let’s explore these in some more detail below.
1. Fierce competition from big CPG brands
There’s some huge brands that dominate the CPG industry and it can be difficult to get your name out there.
For example, the likes of Coca-Cola and Unliver hold a huge share of the market making it very difficult for new brands to make their mark.
That’s why having an effective CPG marketing strategy is key as it allows you to engage your target audience and capture their interest.
2. Higher costs of production
The price of ingredients is on the rise and so is the cost of product packaging which eats into any profits that CPG brands make.
This means small businesses and retailers need to sell more of their products to make a good profit.
3. Scattered consumer attention
At one time, consumers would visit a physical shop to buy their products. However, ecommerce sales are vastly increasing as more shoppers like the convenience of getting products delivered to their door.
On top of this, your consumers are constantly flooded with adverts on social media, TV, radio, podcasts, and other streaming platforms. As such, their attention is divided which can confuse their decision making process.
4. Weak brand loyalty
In the CPG industry, brand loyalty can be very low.
This is down to a few reasons, such as these products being a necessity rather than a luxury.
This means there can be very little difference between consumers choosing to buy Walkers over Tyrells or vice versa.
Consumers don’t put the same level of thought into this decision as they would if they were buying a new car for example. This means keeping customers can be very difficult as their purchasing decisions are easily swayed.
5. Higher cost of customer acquisition
It is now much harder for brands to acquire new customers than it was a few years ago.
This means brands have to be very careful not to alienate their existing customers when trying to reach out to new customers.
It’s a very careful balance between keeping up with emerging trends and understanding the needs of your current, loyal customers.
Because of these challenges, choosing the right CPG marketing channels is even more important.
This leads us nicely onto the next part of the blog – devising an effective CPG marketing strategy.
How to Devise a CPG Marketing Strategy
Now the bit you’ve all been waiting for!
As we mentioned above, the CPG industry has lots of challenges to contend with as the landscape (and consumers) continue to change.
This means brands also need to change in order to stay relevant.
Brand loyalty is no longer enough to keep customers coming back to you time and time again.
Instead, factors such as immediate availability, a range of delivery options, and offering socially responsible products is the best way to drive growth, build loyalty, and remain viable in today’s CPG market.
So, let’s take a look at how you can develop your own CPG marketing strategy for success.
Define your target audience
For any marketing strategy, whether it’s related to the CPG industry or any other industry for that matter, knowing your target audience is always step 1.
That’s because without knowing who you’re selling to, how are you expecting to make any sales?
Different groups of people respond to different messaging so you need to know who you’re talking to before you do anything else.
It’s pointless creating a social media campaign for example, if your target audience isn’t active on social media. This is money down the drain, and it could have been spent in a different area.
If you already know your target audience then great, the next step is to research their buying patterns so that you can better understand where/ why they buy.
If you don’t know who your target audience is, then you need Canny’s free customer persona worksheet. This lets you explore your ideal customer in detail by identifying their general demographics as well as their challenges and pain points.
Emphasise your brands value
As we said earlier, there can be very little difference between a consumer buying Walkers crisps or Tyrrells crisps.
On the surface, both of these brands appear very similar which means there is nothing really driving customers to purchase one product over another.
This is where your brand values come into play as they can create an emotional connection between you and your customer which drives them to buy your product instead.
For example, emphasising sustainability is a great way to capture your audience as many consumers care about the environment.
As a result, they want to buy from brands who share these values as they appreciate the fact that you are doing something to help. It also makes them feel as though you understand their wants and needs which is a very powerful marketing tactic.
Authenticity is another CPG brand marketing value that consumers respond well to.
Many consumers prefer to support small businesses over large (often seen as faceless) corporations.
Small businesses can therefore use this to their advantage by telling their brand story, for example on their product packaging.
Perhaps they’re a family run company or they’re a one-man band trying to make it in the CPG industry. Customers relate to this sort of thing so make sure your brand story is easily visible, perhaps on your product packaging.
Try a subscription model
We all know how successful Netflix has been with their subscription model with lots of brands following suit.
The same applies to the CPG industry as lots of brands have started trying this model for themselves – and with positive results.
Popular examples include HelloFresh and Dollar Shave Club.
The great thing about employing a subscription model for a CPG brand is that customers will soon need more.
This is because CPG products need to be replenished on a regular basis which keeps people coming back to your brand.
Aside from this, subscription models focused on consumer packaged goods make fantastic gifts as everyone needs these types of products. Also, who doesn’t want to receive a box of biscuits or hair care products?
When customers sign up to this type of model it means they never have to worry about buying the product again. They never even have to think about it as they’ll get a constant supply on a weekly/ monthly basis.
Because of this, customers are much more likely to stay loyal to your brand.
Invest in content marketing
Content marketing helps CPG companies build brand awareness and gain the trust of their customers.
Because everyone consumes CPG products on a daily basis, companies need to find other ways of engaging customers instead of just bombarding them with ads.
Not only is this annoying, but it also doesn’t work.
Customers have short attention spans and will simply scroll past your advert if it’s all your pushing at them.
Instead of telling them that they should buy your product, tell them why they should buy it by talking about how it will make a difference to their lives.
When it comes to devising a CPG content marketing strategy, make sure you keep the below points in mind:
- Monitor what works/ what doesn’t – Not every type of content is going to work for every type of brand. For example, you might find video marketing more successful than email marketing so you would focus more on this area.
- Promote your content – Creating content is only half of the battle as you need to get it in front of people. Instead of letting your content gather dust, make sure you push it out through social media, newsletters, or get influencers on board.
- Keep an eye on your competitors – As the CPG industry is very competitive you need to keep an eye on other brands who could be stealing your customers.
- Make a content calendar – Regularly publishing content is the best way to keep your audience engaged. A content calendar keeps you organised and maintains a publishing rhythm.
There are also lots of different types of content you can create, depending on what works best for your business.
Some examples of content marketing include:
- Blog posts
- Social media graphics
- Downloadable resource
- Case studies
Because there are so many different types of content, you need to be measuring performance on a regular basis.
This allows you to see what’s working against what isn’t, so you can be more strategic in your marketing efforts.
Up your social media game
No brand can escape the power of social media marketing.
From giving your company a personality, to bringing you closer to your target audience, social media is a powerful marketing tactic.
This is especially important for CPG brands who are trying to make a deeper, more emotional connection with their customers to drive sales. Social media offers the perfect opportunity to do exactly that as you can easily interact with customers by listening and responding to their comments.
This creates a two-way means of communication and gives your brand more of a ‘face.’ It also lets you learn more about your consumers and gives you a better insight into their habits and preferences.
Knowing which social media channels to focus on comes from identifying your ideal consumer.
For instance, if you’re trying to engage Gen Z customers then consider using platforms such as TikTok and Instagram.
Knowing who your audience is and where they spend their time online is the first step to knowing which social media channels to use.
Be wherever your customers are
As we’ve already mentioned in the blog, ecommerce sales are on the rise with many consumers using this as their preferred channel.
Online retail sales will reach $6.51 trillion by 2023, with ecommerce websites taking up 22.3% of total retail sales – Statista
However whilst this is an area you should be prioritising, it’s important not to neglect those customers who still prefer the in-store shopping experience.
Some customers prefer to see and try your product before they make a purchase which is why the physical retail model is still relevant.
It’s important to remember that your customers will have different purchasing habits/ preferences and all of these need to be catered for or you run the risk of losing customers.
By only having your product available online or in-person, you could be missing out on an entire group of customers.
Keep a watchful eye on your competitors
We’ve briefly touched on this above when we talk about content marketing, but keeping an eye on your competitors is key.
So much so that we thought it deserved its own section!
In any industry, knowing who your competitors are and keeping up to date with their marketing campaigns is essential.
In the CPG industry, knowing what your competitors are doing can give you a competitive edge and lets you identify any gaps/ weaknesses in their marketing strategy.
You need to ask yourself why a consumer might pick their product over ours?
A good place to start is their product packaging as this is what jumps out in a busy shop aisle.
When your brand of shampoo and their brand of shampoo are both sitting on the same shelf, product packaging can make all the difference.
Using this information, you need to take a good look at their product packaging and identify what’s similar/ different to yours.
Is it more bright and colorful? More serious? More quirky?
If you can identify what makes other CPG brands successful and appealing, you can use this information when designing your own product.
This absolutely does not mean copying their product, by instead, using what you have learnt to better your own product.
Think of it more as inspiration rather than a direct copy and paste approach.
CPG Brands Who Nail Their Marketing Strategy
Some well-known CPG brands have nailed their marketing campaigns by understanding how to entice the viewer.
Let’s take a look at some brands who have got this right, and you never know, you might find some inspiration for you to implement in your own campaign.
Oreo is an example of a brand making the absolute most of social media marketing.
Just take a look at their TikTok account which shows you how to create branded content that looks very authentic and relatable.
The below screenshot is an example of Oreo connecting with customers through humour. It’s a simple but effective idea which shows someone about to drop an oreo cookie into a glass of milk with the question ‘will it sink or float?’
This immediately gets people interested and makes them want to try it for themselves at home!
e.l.f. Cosmetics is a beauty brand and is a great example of a CPG company who have effectively used influencers to reach new audiences.
This is a highly powerful marketing tactic as these people have a big online following and are often seen as a trusted source. This gives brands such as e.l.f, the chance to get their products in front of an even larger audience.
e.l.f. ’s strategy focuses on working with a wide range of micro-influencers rather than just a few big names as this gives them even more opportunities to tap into.
This approach also allows them to target specific demographics as different influencers will have different types of followers. Moreover, e.l.f. has been very picky and strategic about the type of influencers they work with, choosing only those with engaged and authentic followings.
How to Devise a Winning CPG Marketing Strategy to Sell More Products
After reading this blog, you should feel more confident when it comes to devising a winning CPG marketing strategy.
As we said in the intro, your marketing strategy will be key in this industry as these products do not drum up a great deal of excitement.
To make things more challenging, there are quite literally thousands of brands for customers to choose from, making it more difficult for you to stand out.
It all comes back down to creating a compelling brand story and strong brand messaging that drives customers to buy. You need to evoke some sort of emotion that will trigger them to buy your brand of loo roll or deodorant over your competitor (which is a lot more difficult than it might sound).
At Canny, we’ve worked with numerous CPG brands to help them dominate the market and sell more of their products. We know what it takes to be successful in this highly saturated industry and we’ve got the tools to help your CPG business thrive. Simply get in touch with our team to talk about your project further!