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CPG brands score on mobile's hypertargeted marketing promise

As more consumer-packaged marketers build up their mobile know-how, big brands are ditching traditional mass marketing approaches for smaller scale efforts that single out specific groups of consumers.

CPG brands have historically relied on mass marketing tactics with big budgets akin to TV and print advertising that hit the majority of consumers. However, the appeal with mobile is significantly different for CPG marketers around influencing purchases at the point-of-sale, which is causing some to scout out specific demographics of consumers who are increasingly spending more time within mobile applications and sites.

?Mobile is still the most personal advertising vehicle in the world, and sophisticated brands are really starting to understand that,? said Tim Jenkins, CEO of 4Info, San Mateo, CA.

?So they love the idea of serving the right ad to the right person at the right time, and you?ve heard that a thousand times, but CPG seems to understand that better than most, and they are starting to use mobile effectively, and they are also able to tailor their message based on the time of day or what you?re doing or where you are,? he said.

?For example, if you are home at night and you?re couch shopping, it?s a very good time for a brand to highly engage with you with a video versus when they see that you?re now out and about during the day and maybe within two miles of a grocery store. You?re lower in the funnel as far as they?re concerned and it might be better to hit you with a specific offer that would drive you in-store and to the cash register. It?s very difficult to do that with mass marketing.? 

Finding the right users
CPG brands are increasingly turning to mobile not only for brand building, but also driving sales.

In fact, new research from InMobi finds that mobile ad spend from CPG brands grew 175 percent in 2013.

Two new CPG campaigns from Coca-Cola?s Powerade and Post?s Grape-Nuts cereal are perfect examples of this new school of thought.

Post?s Grape-Nuts has partnered with ParksByNature Network with a national cross-channel campaign called ?What?s Your Mountain?? that encourages consumers to get outside and active in state parks.

Grape-Nuts digital banners will run within the Pocket Ranger Official State Parks and Fish & Wild and the Pocket Ranger TrophyCase apps. The apps help consumers plan their visits to state parks with trail and landmark information and social content.

Additionally, the campaign includes Web and a product sampling program that will distribute 850,000 packs of products to state parks across the U.S.

It is the second campaign that Post has run with the company, and highlights the need for CPG brands to align specific products and launches with similar mobile app demographics.

?Grape-Nuts Fit cereal helps users reach their healthy lifestyle goals by offering power-packed nutrition through a medley of flavors and textures, including lightly crunchy nuggets, crispy granola, puffed barley and cranberries,? said Mangala D'Sa, brand director at Grape-Nuts, St. Louis, MO.

?By partnering with PBN mobile, Grape-Nuts is able to reach active users all year as they enjoy the outdoors at America?s state parks,? she said. ?Mobile supports in-park initiatives and events in ways most impactful for each event and allows co-promotion across social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.?

Reaching mobile fitness
Similarly to Post, Coca-Cola?s Powerade brand is leveraging a new tool from fitness company Endomondo within the company?s mobile apps.

Powerade is one of the first brands to use Endomonda?s Brand Pages feature that lets the brand set up challenges and content that is specific to fitness enthusiasts.

For example, Powerade is currently challenging consumers to track how far they can run in 12 minutes. Four women and four men will win a Powerade prize pack or one year of premium membership to Endomondo.

Powerade also plans to leverage some of its assets from the FIFA World Cup and Olympics into the Endomondo partnership.

Powerade has been working with Endomondo on a number of different campaigns over the past couple of years.

In 2012, the sports drink brand sponsored a new app feature called the Powerade hydration meter (see story). 

?Endomondo has been hosting a number of Powerade challenges during the past year, both global ones and national ones in some select countries like Australia and Spain,? said Mette Lykke, CEO of Endomondo, Copenhagen, Denmark.

?We found that users were very engaged in these and we used that realization as inspiration for the Brand Pages,? she said.

Exercise apps tend to have a large group of daily active users and by continuously running different in-app campaigns, Powerade is able to hammer in its brand message on a regular basis.

Targeting repeat purchases
In addition to narrowing down a campaign by app or site category, CPG brands are also increasingly leveraging past purchase history to hit specific groups of consumers.

Marketers can leverage data to identify mobile consumers who use a product to then tailor an ad campaign towards.

The data comes from the frequent data accumulated by retailers, which is anonymized. Marketers can then build specific audience segments off of that data.

Consumers opt-in to the data from frequent shopper programs with retailers and through the mobile apps themselves. 

For example, a brand can target only consumers who have eaten a specific type of cereal in the past three months. Cereal brands are also some of the marketers that have the highest ROI since they have a high frequency of purchase, according to 4Info?s Mr. Jenkins.

The marketer can then target the households where these mobile consumers are across multiple applications.

?Mass marketing was primarily what they had available to [CPG marketers in the past], and the reason that they?ve wanted to move away from that is that they have started to understand how much waste is involved there, so they wanted to go after a much more highly-targeted audiences as a way to reduce waste, and also really be able to more specifically refine their messaging to that particular target audience and really start to understand whether or not that was going to drive better sales lift than your basic mass marketing approaches,? Mr. Jenkins said.

?When you?re able to target that finely, you also have a much better ability to attribute the effect of the advertisement to the sale itself,? he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York