Big data - five fascinating factors for FMCG

Here at Hive, we spend a lot of time with FMCG brands and there is one BIG question that keeps cropping up:

"How can FMCG brands use Big Data to deliver brand value in terms of affecting incremental sales and loyalty or through better consumer brand engagement?"

I (Keran Turakhia, Hive's New Market's Director) recently attended the I-media summit for FMCG brands, which highlighted some key observations on the market, the changes and the opportunities.

These five fascinating factors shed some light on the Big Data conundrum for FMCG brands:

One: The paradigm shifts in advertising

MEC Global’s chief data officer described the changing data landscape in terms of two paradigm shifts in how advertising campaigns are scoped and purchased.

a. First party data and its importance

Brands and their media agents used to rely mostly on 3rd party data sources to inform an advertising campaign. Now they almost always start with 1st party data owned by the brand.

b. The "bottom up" approach

Traditionally, media campaigns were specified using a top down approach. This is now being inverted.

The “bottom up“ approach looks directly at a brand’s customers, separating them into target groups and devising specific campaigns to individually engage each group.

Two: Advertising: generic, relevant or creepy...?

Digital advertising experts, Celtra, pointed out the need become more relevant but to also recognise the line that should not be overstepped.

They categorised advertising campaigns into three types:

  • Generic
  • Relevant
  • Creepy

Making your advertising campaigns more relevant clearly increases digital ad engagement. Celtra’s stats published 4% lift in digital ad from a "dynamic relevant creative". Up to 33% increase in ad engagement when things like expandable banners are used.

Relevancy is all about taking a generic advertising message and making subtle but important changes to be relevant. e.g. Simple data with the ad that changes according with the date, language, location, time of day etc...

Mobile data and transactional data along with simple methods to create relevancy segmentation can prove powerful tools to this process.

Three: Where is the value in "big data"?

Most data experts accept that Big Data has no value unless it can be linked to show a tangible value to either influencing and generating an incremental purchase or increasing brand engagement.

Whereas online retailers can trace digital comms to purchase, off-line channels have no comparable measurement metrics. Measuring on clicks or Facebook likes are only being used because they exist and many experts have expressed concerns on the limitations of these measurements.

More accurate ROI traceability to the value delivered from a comms activity is an area where the industry has to improve. Tracking a digital communication to the brand engagement and ultimate sales value it delivers is the holy grail.

To this end, there is an increasing need for Marketing Managers to think beyond the “fluffy stuff” and become scientists. They need to understand analytics and how to work with Big Data.

And it also has to start at the top. As Pierre Woreczek said "How many companies have a Data Director on the board…?"

Four: Reaching your target consumer at that "magic moment"

Brands can no longer expect to command consumers' attention through their traditional media spend. Brands have to become increasingly inventive to find those "magic moments" that will engage a consumer to their brand.

It is no longer realistic to expect to divert a consumer's attention towards a traditional advert. Instead brands need to try and align comms with what a consumer is already doing.

Homeserve's Marketing Director gave a very good live example of how their brand have communicated a relevant message using unconventional media - Ebay!

Homeserve provide emergency insurance and domestic repairs for boilers and plumbing. In a competitive market, they needed an innovative approach to connect with prospective consumers at the relevant moment. Driving a tangible ROI was essential so taking a blanket approach via traditional media such as TV was not an option.

Instead, Homeserve studied what consumers do when their boilers break. They made two discoveries:

  • Consumers went on Ebay to search for cost of new boiler.
  • The most searched item on Ebay in their space was a radiator bleeding key.

Do what did Homeserve do...? They started selling branded radiator keys on Ebay for 1p!

This well informed and incredibly cost-effective move has ensured that Homeserve are successfully engaging consumers in their brand proposition at that 'magic moment' when it is most relevant!

Five: The changing face of media

Traditional media channels are just some media channels. Everything is a form of media if it can engage a consumer to the brand message. The ‘magic moment’ example above illustrates that perfectly.

TNS, global leaders in market research pointed out that much of their data and insight is gained from social media responses. No marketer can rely on traditional push media techniques...

"9% of people admit to looking at their smartphone during the act of making love"

The digital world has without doubt changed. This is exciting and daunting but when you hear things like "9% of people admit to looking at their smartphone during the act of making love" you realise that engaging consumers to your brand message is a challenge that cannot be underestimated!

The answer? Big Data can unlock subtle and surprising clues about your customers. So, if you are forensic in your analysis, open minded in your strategy and relevant in your delivery, Big Data can deliver value for FMCG brands.