Big Data

Big data is one of those scary words that has been bandied around for a little while, and is now arguably overused.  By adding the word ‘big’, something that was pretty complicated before, now sounds a whole lot worse and less manageable.

However, as we’re on the threshold of one of the most exciting times to be in marketing, this isn’t actually the case.  Especially for the FMCG industry, where the dynamic changes in consumer media consumption are leading to a reappraisal of how best to win the hearts and minds of consumers.

Kiwi eyeballs are turning away from TV sets to other screens in the house, to now watching different forms of content. And audiences that once watched one of three to four major channels are fragmenting even further. Accordingly, marketers require new solutions and for the FMCG space, (so long reliant on TV as a core component of the mix), this has massive repercussions.

Millennials, in particular, are behaving very differently than the generation that preceded them.  For example, a staggering 90% go online daily via their smartphone and for many this is their preferred communication device, whether it’s Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube or Netflix, all of which have disrupted traditional viewing behaviours.

Sitting behind all of this change, measuring it, providing insights and opportunities, is Big Data. It comes from many sources, some private, some public, which depending on your relationship with the user, could enable you some access.

Database marketing has always been something that FMCG companies have been reluctant to get into, mainly as it’s hard to identify the customer and understand their sales behaviour.   But this wealth of data, and new ways to work with it, is opening up a world of opportunity for FMCG marketing, just at a time when traditional media channels are delivering diminishing returns.

The Big Data opportunity for FMCG marketing can be categorised into three stages.

  1. Taking control of your own Data (whether big or small)

Even if you don’t have a transactional customer database, you still have access to lots of data that will give you insights into your customer’s world and a basis for sharing your content and messaging.  This will include competition databases, email databases, social media followers and online registrations.  Additionally, you will have access to other non-customer data such as website stats, sales SKUs and channel mix information, by product.

What this gives you is a basis to develop specific contact strategies by product to drive engagement and purchase, allowing you to identify those most engaged and likely to be brand advocates for you.  A focused database building strategy can be built on all of this.

  1. Leveraging the supermarket loyalty programmes

Supermarket loyalty programmes, (which are growing in popularity thanks to New World’s Clubcard), provide new and exciting ways to reach your customers, the people that purchase your products or adjacent products. You can use this as a core strategy pillar to drive people back to engage with your brand and buy more.  Access to supermarket data is getting easier, and the data is getting better – combine that with a great strategy to leverage your brands and you can drive both real engagement, and increased sales.

  1. Owning the relationship and category share of mind

The world of Big Data is supported by systems and platforms that can give you better access than ever before to engage with your customers, even if you don’t control the sale.  Your customers can engage with you online, with exciting relevant content, and in-store via their smartphone (a device, let’s remember, that is a video camera, location tracker, messaging portal, information resource – in other words, a powerful tool in their pocket you can be creative with).  It’s fair to say that the opportunity to create an end-to-end relationship with the consumer, despite not ringing up the sale, is already there.  And it’s Big Data that will help you do that because you will understand behaviour, leveraging the technology in a way that wasn’t possible before.

Getting there isn’t simple, but it is easier than before. You just need fresh thinking marketing teams and the right partners on the journey. And the result will be new, effective and measurable ways to tell your brand story and engage people to buy your products time and time again.


Ben Goodale, Managing Director