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Multi-channel consumer engagement tips for CPG brands

Consumer Products Writer

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The need for a multi-channel consumer engagement strategy is stronger than ever. Consumers want the latest news about products and promotions, but they are often overwhelmed by the amount of information delivered to them via myriad channels.

In their quest for the best deals and shopping opportunities, consumers often subscribe to product updates on social media, email and mobile applications. This dynamic creates an opportunity for CPG marketing teams, but also another challenge: Attention spans are fleeting, and it's getting tougher for brands to reach their target audiences, especially for CPG brands that may not have direct relationships with end users. According to Media Post, a new survey shows only 19 percent of consumers remain loyal to brands.

It can be challenging for CPG brands to reach their target audiences and inspire brand loyalty, but a multi-channel consumer engagement strategy can help. Here's how companies can use big data analytics to reach their target audiences, improve loyalty and increase engagement.

Digital content

CPG leaders like Coca-Cola and Red Bull have launched digital magazines and content portals to share entertaining or informational resources with consumers, according to Sprout Content. These content strategies allow companies to create a dynamic presence across social media, mobile, niche online communities and other communication channels. The resulting web traffic then enables CPG brands to gather data about end consumers to create more tailored and engaging marketing campaigns.

Volkswagen recently launched its free Real Racing GTI smartphone application, which allows gamers learn about the brand's cars, get a feel for the driving experience and share results with fellow consumers. The automobile manufacturer can use the data gathered as an asset to inform future campaigns and consumer-targeting initiatives.

Online content is more than a tool for building brand awareness: It's a mechanism for gathering data and learning about consumers' interests and buying habits.

Geographic targeting

E-commerce may be growing, but brick and mortar is still an irreplaceable part of the CPG success equation. That's why brands are launching geographic targeting campaigns: to better reach their audiences in the moment, when interest levels are likely to be high.

For example, candy brand Sour Jacks ran Facebook mobile advertisements in New York last summer to reach consumers in the proximity of a movie festival in Hudson River Park, according to AdWeek. The brand started with geo-fenced advertisements in a 50-mile radius of the festival ground and then condensed the targeting parameters to one mile the day of the festival. The goal was to encourage get more people to attend the event and then convince festival-goers to visit the Sour Jacks booth.

This approach helped Sour Jacks bring more precision to its top-of-funnel campaign strategy. Rather than targeting a large number of individuals, the company used data to build on its multi-channel consumer engagement strategy, using mobile location data and social media to forge real-life connections.

Ease of purchase

Every day, consumers learn about new products and services through digital channels. Thanks to market fragmentation, their attention spans are divided; just because they hear about a great new product doesn't mean they'll remember to look for it in the store a week later. CPG leaders can counteract this challenge by making it easy for consumers to complete a transaction. People should be able to move from discovery to purchase with a few clicks, taps or swipes.

For exactly this reason, select social media platforms are making it possible for brands to sell products directly from the site. For instance, Pinterest does this through a feature called Buyable Pins. Brands need to make it as easy as possible for potential buyers to complete transactions, and big data and analytics can help them determine which products will be most successful on certain social sites.

Multi-channel consumer engagement is a must for the CPG world today. It's important for companies to build up digital audiences and listen to consumers, thereby learning about their target market's preferences and enabling purchase optimization. Improve the end-to-end consumer experience by understanding how to make the most of real-time data. Learn more about IBM's Consumer Products Industry Solutions.