The personalized customer experience: 3 ways to get started

Consumer Products Writer

Market fragmentation is one of the biggest challenges that consumer packaged goods (CPG) leaders face today. In the past, brands have concentrated the bulk of their distribution efforts on a handful of distribution partners. Today, however, the landscape is completely different. Thanks to mobile devices, consumers have a mechanism to research competitor products and prices from the palms of their hands, no matter where they are or what they're doing.

A personalized customer experience can help your brand stay ahead of the competition and keep consumers loyal. Here are three ways that CPG brands can start leveraging data to achieve this goal.

1. Use customer value data to build campaigns.

MyWebGrocer, an online grocery retailer, recently announced its Digital Experience Platform (DEP), which connects CPG manufacturers with comprehensive audience data, according to Consumer Goods Technology. The company built this capability in response to a recent report from Nielsen, which studied the growing online grocery marketplace. One quarter of shoppers surveyed said they order grocery products online, and 55 percent were willing to do so in the future.

Often, CPG leaders lack direct access to their customers' cross-platform buying activity. MyWebGrocer's DEP offers new and otherwise untapped insights. Marketers can then use this data across other marketing channels, to build personalized, tailored experiences.

2. Outsmart banner blindness with tailored ads.

It's an understatement to say that the digital advertising landscape is overrun with noise; there is a high degree of inefficiency in the digital media space. In a series of user experience studies in the 1990s and 2000s, researcher Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman Group consistently found that consumers are likely to ignore anything that resembles an advertisement. This trend is, in part, due to the fact that digital audiences are often looking at webpages within a particular layout or context.

Personalized advertisements address this challenge directly by allowing marketers to tailor their messages to very specific audience objectives. As a result of this approach, consumers are more likely to pay attention to what a brand has to say. With this rationale, CPG leader Kimberly-Clark Corporation, maker of Huggies baby products, has incorporated personalization into the brand's core marketing program through campaigns like "#CountingTheDays." Relying on an omnichannel model, the company consolidates consumer data across its brands to learn about and reinforce purchase habits.

3. Craft a personalized customer experience offline.

Brick-and-mortar stores will always play an important role in consumers' shopping experiences. That's why CPG brands are building omnichannel data into their personalization strategies. Kraft Foods Group, for instance, ran a campaign using shelf flags in Walmart stores to connect shoppers with online recipes, according to G/O Digital. Using a mobile application, consumers could upload images of their receipts for the chance to win prizes.

This campaign had implications beyond brand building; the goal was to drive individual consumers towards specific, personalized calls to action that could help Kraft learn more about their preferences, shopping habits and needs.

The bottom line for CPG brands wanting to create engagement is to inspire as many interactions as possible. Prioritize learning above targeting to forge genuinely close relationships. Digital audiences see a lot of marketing, but what they're actively seeking out are brands that value consumers' time and attention. Know your audience's wants and needs to create personalized experiences.

How do consumer products companies build brand loyalty? It starts with creating targeted, personalized and timely marketing messaging. Learn how in our solutions brief.