Smucker overhauls marketing to spur growth and better target consumers
- J.M. Smucker, owner of Folgers, Jif and other consumer packaged goods brands, is shifting its marketing strategy. This includes moving its marketing staff to specific business units, where they can create ads that target specific groups of shoppers with certain interests or beliefs.
- Geoff Tanner, senior vice president of growth and consumer engagement at Smucker, said consumers are demanding more from companies than just a good product. They want a personalized experience, as well as a brand that stands for something, has a point of view and is active in issues that the shopper finds important.
- "We need to evolve our brands. We need to evolve how we talk to consumers. We need to be jumping into the desire for personalization, customization,” Tanner told Food Dive. "Historically, brands were built around trust ... and brands delivered promise of product quality, of a specific experience. In today’s world, that's not sufficient."
Smucker's decision to shift its marketing strategy is part of the company’s plans to drive growth and boost brand awareness among consumers who spend much of their time online. The company is hoping that simplifying its marketing structure will help internal teams and agencies work more efficiently and develop more relevant creative.
For example, if Smucker wants to target a specific audience who might be interested in its 1850 by Folgers premium coffee, the company may focus on individuals who are passionate about coffee or are trailblazers and entrepreneurs — a nod to James Folger who started the brand 168 years ago.
Tanner said Smucker is doing more to incorporate data into the creative process in a way that allows the company to identify consumer segments and tailor messages to a specific audience, then change and adjust those messages if needed.
A growing number of consumers, like millennials, are interested in trends like clean labels, health and wellness, more adventurous flavors, and snacking, he said. It is up to the company to not only reach this audience with a product reflecting one or more of these traits, but do a better job communicating to shoppers that they exist in Smucker's brands.
While mass channels like television remain the most cost-effective way, the future is increasingly tied to precision marketing, which is inherently linked to online activities, with which consumers are spending more time and buying more of their groceries, said Tanner. Nielsen and the Food Marketing Institute predict that online shopping will reach $100 billion by as early as 2022, and that 70% of shoppers will at least occasionally get their groceries online by that time.
"That’s how big brands can appeal to a broad audience: By having different messages to different groups who experience a brand differently and use products differently,” Tanner said.
Smucker isn't alone. Other consumer packaged goods companies are rethinking their marketing strategies to save money, assume greater control over creative, embrace emerging technology and adapt to consumers' changing behaviors and expectations.
P&G cut its marketing spend and saw sales increase while Unilever, which owns Knorr, Ben and Jerry's and Hellmann's, is bringing more marketing functions in house. CPG brands haven’t fared well of late, in part because millennials prefer fresh, natural food options and shop online more.
Smucker has responded by becoming more innovative and agile in developing and marketing brands, including looking into mergers and acquisitions and using consumer insights and data for its brand-building initiatives. Smucker expects organic sales to grow 0% to 1% for the fiscal year, ending April 30, which is down from a previous forecast of 2% growth.
- The Wall Street Journal J.M. Smucker Revamps Marketing Strategy to Keep Up With Changes, Spur Growth
- Marketing Dive 74% of multinational brands are reviewing their agency arrangements
- Marketing Dive Smucker looks to innovation and marketing to build brands
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