7 tips for Digital Marketing in FMCG

Some FMCG brands still struggle with effective Digital Marketing and that’s often despite large budgets, international reach / penetration/ usage and great customer insight.

However it doesn’t have to be like that!

…Here are my 7 tips for Digital Marketing in FMCG:



Great marketing starts with great insight that lead to great ideas.

Find out who your audience is and what they are interested in.

Listen (as what people tell you isn’t always what they actually want), ask and engage on relevant platforms.

‘Tell’ activity can still work however it has to be well targeted and engaging; programmatic wallpaper or repurposed offline TV ads are NOT the way to truly engage.

Seek out partnerships; not only with the likes of social networks but other Brands / Suppliers to extend brand association, reach and relevancy

Analyse activity with ‘Useful’ Data (forget Big Data for now!) and act upon it immediately rather than at the end of a campaign to improve both online and offline awareness, engagement and sales.

Finally think BIG = how can digital marketing help digitally transform your business?!



1/ Conversation and Communities

Effectively communicate and develop communities (where/when appropriate).

Traditionally FMCG brands were built with large TV and print advertising driving footfall to retailers that was often supported by coupons or special offers.

Instead also use Digital to connect across a range of platforms. E.g. use YouTube pre rolls and programmatic display for awareness and the start of engagement, ‘Content Design’ for building content around user need, PPC/SEO to surface the messaging, personalisation / active design on site to surface user focused content + user experience and then channels such as ECRM and social media to engage, delight and stimulate referral.

Where I currently work my team has successfully done this type of cross platform engagement around mother’s day and father’s day across PR, Bloggers and digital / social media promotion. Another example is that of Costa Coffee who ran a 7 week ‘nations favourite coffee conversations’ campaign (#nationsfavourite) that hooked in prizes and real world discounts, with social engagement/paid promotion and was supported by radio and wider online channels. KPI: 90,000+ competition entries + the unknown benefits of brand uplift, data capture and driving footfall in store.


2A/ Digital isn’t an island

Ensure integration of Digital Marketing across channels.

As an example PaddlePop (Indian ice cream brand) drove awareness, engagement and sales via a multi-part movie on Cartoon Network, experiential roadshows, online games and through the line media. Another example is Oreo with its integration and engagement across Broadcast, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Oreo.com in particular.

FMCG brands should also think of the 2nd screen; how can they engage across platform(s) during adverts, events or sponsorships?

…As an example E4 and Kellogs Krave did this with their Chocovault. The ‘crazy’ week long quiz campaign saw Kellogg’s partnering with E4 to target cereal kraving 2nd screen millennials (#kraveweek). If people tuned in to E4 from 10pm every night and entered / answered an ad break promoted question relating to the programme via the Krave Facebook’s page they could then win prizes.

It’s also great is you can engage across online and offline and this is something I have done in my current role e.g #doorstepchallenge and  #loveatfirstlight

Let’s face it though; if you aren’t a marmite and are instead a verrucae cream people are unlikely to want to engage with you on a regular basis. However if when needed you are there to help the user (think of micro moments that matter) then you will be remembered by the user and are in prime position for sale.

2B/ Also think of how Digital Marketing can help you digitally transform your organisation e.g. from my current life 


3A/ Social – engage, recognise and reward

Truly Engage online.

As an example Red Bull utilise a great Hero Hub Help strategy that includes: Stash – real world scavenger hunt, events (virtual and real), games, video, Web TV, 121 comms across social (including paid support), etc. Skittles also does this well via UGC campaigns e.g ‘upload to the rainbow’ and ‘mob the rainbow’.

Also use discounts as many people ‘like’ companies on social channels, in part, for the offers. Dr Pepper (Facebook), Starburst (Facebook coupons), Mentos (one day ‘flash sale’) and Frozen Mex / El Monterey (Facebook coupons + Twitter + blogs) do this well.

Innocent have also done something nice in this space with their UK campaign for “Buy one get one Bee” in buying their product to help Bee’s thrive / hives across the UK. Starbucks ice cream was a good way of asking those on Facebook to share Starbucks new ice cream with a friend (and as a result they also received discount coupons). Nivea also did this well via their ‘Q10 Fit Club Challenge’ via their 8 week quiz campaign on Facebook (engagement via competitions, refer a friend fitness gear discounts, tailored motivational and fitness videos).

Social can also be good for involvement from a product development perspective e.g. Walkers crisps, Vitamin Water and Vivel (Indian brand) in crowdsourcing for their next product as voted by you.


3B/ #Socialisnteverything

…And by Social isn’t Everything I mean let’s not sell our soul to Facebook et al. Facebook et al offer great opportunities for rich forms of interaction and data mining however as we are increasingly seeing it isn’t free (for the company I work for only 7% of posts are seen without paid social support).

Let’s not risk our brand strategy by betting all on Facebook et al as ultimately Facebook fans are their fans and the data is there’s (Facebook own and control the platform and data and only give some of that data back to the companies concerned whilst also using it to aid your competition in targeting ‘your’ users). There is still mileage often in owned FMCG estate such as brand websites.

I would argue that companies should start to develop their own data platforms much more. I.e Think of a DMP (Data Management Platform).

FMCG brands should develop their own independent data platform for a wider picture of consumer and shopping behaviour.

Clearly you need to be thinking of your owned estate to extend brand comms however you should also think of your owned / data integration platform as a way of gathering consumer and shopping behaviour to better inform both online and offline marketing activities.

To do this you can enact your own quant/qual studies (I was involved in such a study for Co-operative Bank that aided Research Online Purchase Offline [ROPO] understanding) and also knit together platform data e.g. youTube brand uplift, the new Facebook beta online/offline interplay studies, your own shopping data and how that can be cross matched with online profiles, ECRM engagement, etc.

As mentioned above Skittles are good at this as they offer entertaining interactive (brand ) experiences that mainly involves Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and to a lesser degree, their own site + ECRM. This interaction not only engages their community and aids recall however it also yields important customer data and can help them identify brand advocates that they could then explore further with for the development of product, communication and shopper initiatives.


4A/ Mobile

Absolutely engrained in many of the above however worthy of specific note.

Now I could talk about Millennial Media in app advertising based on location/usage/profile, WEVE for MMS engagement or the plethora of native advertising opportunities now available on mobile however I’m just going to keep it ‘simple’ and call out reciprocity

Shoppers are generally making smaller, more frequent trips across a number of different retailers, with convenience and locality being key drivers of purchase.

Mobile offers the opportunity to create more shopper loyalty in the form of habitual purchasing via greater shopper engagement on an ongoing basis to counter the above ‘lack of brand loyalty’.

If you can create a value exchange with the shopper via reciprocity e.g shoppers give their  time and data by receiving useful news, offers and engaging with brands by perhaps taking a photo of a till receipt to earn rewards from the brand purchases made.

Where I currently work, card member data is key and really does aid decision making and targeting with the result being better products and offers for the consumer. Engagement can also extend to product reviews and testing new products that in turn gets direct user feedback in an agile fashion rather than via staged committees as some product feedback sessions can turn in to. The user not only receives better products and an improved user experience but has an assurance that their loyalty is being rewarded over time regardless of the shop they choose their brands from.

An example of this was from Stella Artois via their ‘Houses of Stella’ campaign (an immersive quiz during the run up to a number of events). The campaign gave Stella Artois rich audience data / preferences from more engaged consumers and the consumers received offers and the opportunity to win tickets to their most preferred events.

4B/ Let’s also not forget that usage differs globally e.g. in several African countries mobile is the only way people can get online and in China WeChat is THE app to rule them all whereas in the Western world it is largely unknown.


5/ Reach and Brand perception

Engrained in the above however worthy of specific note again.

Reach is really important to FMCG for awareness, recall and sales. Several segments of society e.g. certain Millennials do not watch TV via the traditional route anymore and instead use mobiles to  view the likes of YouTube or Netflix for VOD. Therefore go where the consumers are with the likes of sponsorships, engaging programmatic display, paid social promotion/ native ads and YouTube pre roll ads as they allow you to grow awareness, perception and engagement on the channels your target audiences frequent.


6/ Sell stuff

Let’s not forget that sites such as St Tropez actually sell products. Therefore not only can you do all the above I’ve mentioned however you can also use the likes of programmatic display direct response, affiliate marketing, in app advertising, PPC product listing ads and SEO campaigns to stimulate awareness, traffic and sales.


7/ Digital Story Telling

Something we are engaged in where I currently work with our new branding, community model and membership proposition and something brands such as el Jimador via their ‘Tackle The City’ campaign are also trying to do.

…Mexico’s tequila brand el Jimador launched a photo contest showcasing consumers’ photos inspired by the fusions outside of its country’s borders. The monthly changing themed campaign saw ‘Mexology’ showcased with the best entries being featured on a visually engaging social hub. Entrants were incentivised with prizes and offers that saw 60,000+ entrants.

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