FMCG brands can use data to build customer intimacy at scale: Kelloggs CMO

For an FMCG brand like Kelloggs, one of the biggest challenges is distinguishing between claimed behavior and actual behavior.  While those two things are often hard to reconcile, Kelloggs’ CMO John Broome says the payoff is the marketers Holy Grail.

According to Broome, who will be speaking at the ADMA Global Forum in Sydney next week, ultimately an FMCG brand wants what a service provider has with their customers, a direct relationship and the understanding of actual behavior that comes from that relationship.

“And to do this with scale,” Broome told Which-50. “This is beginning to happen now. I am no expert but I sense we are not far away from a revolution in this space. Mass scale will be key. I don’t want to talk to 20,000 consumers. It has to be 2 million or more.”

While data is recognized as important in high involvement, high-relationship products and services its importance at the other end of the customer spectrum is often missed.

“FMCGs succeed by growing penetration,” says Broome. “It doesn’t matter that my product only costs $10. For every new consumer I recruit I know they will buy my product three or four times. That means the revenue opportunity is more like $40. If data can help me drive penetration then it’s just as important for low involvement categories as it is for high.”

He nominated programmatic buying as an area where data had been especially effective for Kelloggs, “…particularly on tracking down hard to reach teens and millennials on the Nutri-Grain campaign.”

“Then the question becomes how best to engage? For these targets, I agree, there’s no point in serving up a standard 30 sec TV ad. Instead we’ve designed content that is engaging, real and authentic yet sufficiently ‘on brand’ that it doesn’t require it to be over branded. And a true success measure of this is the number of shares and completions we’ve been seeing alongside the total number of views.”

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Kelloggs has a variety of data sources it can call on as it develops its strategy including syndicated retail and home panel data along with its own consumer databases.“The future lies in having access to real-time direct consumer data so that we know who is buying what and when. Then linking this to what people are engaging with is also important. This is beginning to emerge and is what I am particularly interested in.”

Risk taking

Broome also spoke of the importance of risk taking to marketers.

“I’ve been encouraging my team to operate to the 70/20/10 model for a couple of years now so we’ve had some good examples of our brands operating in the 20 per cent and 10 per cent risk space of this model. It’s important to recognise that things don’t always work out as well as they should, but as long you learn from each experience then you will only get better.”

He gave the example of the ‘Midnight Spooning’  digital activation campaign on Crunchy Nut last year as something that didn’t work to full expectation.

“It drove great reach and massive engagement but didn’t drive incremental sales because we learnt that it appealed more to loyal users who are already buying than non-users who are not.”

However that needs to be balanced against the successes.

“Alternatively  the Unstoppable stories on Nutri-Grain which involves us moving away from our traditional Ironman space have been a tremendous success driving incremental sales and stronger brand equity from the 4 million plus interactions with consumers through digital.”

“Other companies that I think are demonstrating courage are Coke with their ‘coloured cans’ campaign and the recent new food offering from McDonald’s with its How very unMcDonald’s message. Bold & brave.”


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