CPG

CPG Marketing: Trends, Challenges & Top Brand Strategies

David Morneau

By David Morneau
12 min READ | Oct 11 2022

Are you looking to learn more about Consumer Packaged Goods Marketing?

You’ve come to the right place. This article is the ultimate guide to everything you need to know about this growing marketing field.

You’ll learn about the different types of CPG marketing, how to target your audience and the most effective channels for reaching them.

Read on and start planning your successful CPG marketing campaign today.

What Is CPG Marketing?

The Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry relates to everything that customers use on a regular basis that needs to be replenished.

Think toilet paper, shampoo, beauty products, cereal, and other items you typically find on grocery store shelves.

CPG marketing refers to the promotion and selling of these consumer packaged goods.

These products have a high turnover rate, as people constantly need to restock their supply. Therefore, your marketing team must continuously stay on top of trends, preferences, and consumer behaviors to stay ahead of the competition.

In addition to traditional advertising methods, CPG marketers rely heavily on data analysis and consumer insights to make strategic decisions and improve sales.

Examples of CPG marketing activities include:

  • Online advertising
  • Display advertising
  • Paid search
  • Billboard advertising
  • TV ads
  • And more

Apart from paid strategies, you can also devise organic CPG marketing plans, such as:

Why CPG Marketing Is Important

CPG marketing is important because it solves five fundamental problems that CPG brands face. Contact centers are the perfect solution to these problems, providing brands with the customer service and support they need to thrive.

1: Fierce Competition from CPG Industry’s Giants

Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, etc., are increasing their profits exponentially. Simultaneously, DTC brands penetrated this environment to “steal” some customers from these mammoth companies above.

2: High Costs of Production

The price of ingredients is rising, and so is the cost of packaging materials. The losers in this situation are small businesses and online retailers that don’t profit enough from their retail sales.

3: Scattered Attention and Ad Fatigue

E-commerce is becoming trendier by the day, so people have plenty of websites to choose from. Besides, people see at least 4,000 ads/day, with continuously fragmented attention now that social media is in the picture. Thus, your customers see ads on podcasts, social media, YouTube, the TV, streaming platforms, and offline. To combat ad fatigue efficiently try leveraging technologies, such as creative automation, that will help you create engaging ads effortlessly in no time.

4: Weak Brand Loyalty

50% of your customers would leave you on the spot for another company that seems like a better option.

Why does that happen?

  • Switching costs are nil for your potential customer.
  • Consumer-packaged goods are somewhat similar nowadays.
  • Shopping behaviors can be unpredictable, and the COVID-19 pandemic only weakened that frail brand loyalty.
  • CPG companies don’t sell directly to consumers but to other businesses. As such, the relationship they have with their audience is weaker.
  • Some generations (even younger ones like Gen Z) are always looking for discounts and promotions.

5: Higher Cost of Customer Acquisition

It is now harder and more expensive to acquire new customers than a few years ago, at least with paid marketing. The advent of user-generated content and influencer marketing weakened people’s already frail trust in branded content.

Plus, they likely strained many marketing budgets.

But that only means you have to focus on the right strategies and platforms.

Top Platforms for CPG Marketing

The best strategy for CPG marketing entails conveying the right messages to the right people at the right time and place.

Thus, you’ll be able to make faster decisions regarding resource allocations and marketing efforts. The sources to consider include:

  • Consumer engagement from different social media platforms and consumer journey
  • First-party data
  • Sales information
  • Channel preferences
  • Shopping experience
  • Retail media networks like AWS, Roundel, or Wal-Mart Connect
  • Consumer-loyalty websites that offer potential customers coupons and discounts, virtual try-on features, and other tools

Furthermore, you should base your campaign strategy on two pillars:

  • Reach
  • Customization

With that in mind, here are the best platforms to consider:

Paid Search Advertising

Paid search advertising is a type of digital marketing that allows you to place ads on search engines like Google and Bing. When someone searches for a keyword related to your product, your ad may appear at the top of the search results.

Paid search advertising can be a powerful tool for driving brand awareness and increasing sales; that explains the massive $5.2 billion ad spend within the first three quarters of 2021.

A well-targeted ad campaign can ensure that your brand appears at the top of search engine results, making it more likely for consumers to see and click on your product listing.

And with the ability to target specific demographics and refine campaigns based on real-time data analysis, paid search advertising allows for a level of precision and flexibility that traditional advertising methods simply can’t match.

Here’s the downside:

Paid ads can be expensive, and you must continuously monitor your campaigns to ensure they are performing well.

But investing in paid search advertising is worth considering if you want your CPG brand to stand out in a sea of competitors.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that involves working with content creators. Thus, you can:

  • Reach a wider market on multiple social channels – sometimes even niche markets that wouldn’t normally consider your products
  • Target your audience with specific and highly persuasive messages
  • Gain valuable insights from your influencers
  • Sell more products
  • Optimize your marketing spend

Remember: There are several types of influencers, and you don’t have to pick the largest ones to succeed.

Choosing influencers depends on your company’s size and goals. Besides, studies show micro- and nano-influencers hold more sway over their audience because they’re more engaged in direct conversations.

That happens because they have a smaller following, meaning fewer people to talk to.

And that means more time to get in touch with everybody thoroughly.

Why does influencer marketing work for CPG?

It’s no secret that people trust their favorite influencers. Whether fashion bloggers, beauty gurus, or reality TV stars, these social media personalities have built a dedicated following of consumers eager to try the products they endorse.

This makes them the perfect vehicle for CPG brands looking to reach their target market.

In fact, a survey by Inmar Intelligence found that 84% of respondents claimed to have made a purchase based on an influencer recommendation.

And with precise targeting tools available on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, it can be easier than ever for CPG marketers to align themselves with the right influencers and connect with their audience authentically.

So go ahead – jump on the bandwagon and see how influencer marketing can work its magic for your brand.

Content Marketing

Content marketing entails creating valuable and relevant content for your audience to attract them to your brand and ultimately drive sales.

But it’s not just about pushing products:

Content marketing focuses on building relationships and trust with your audience by providing them with valuable information that they want to consume.

Therefore, content marketing done right can help you solve the low loyalty, and high customer acquisition costs CPG marketing faces.

Here’s why:

For consumer goods companies, traditional advertising tactics often fall flat. After all, it’s hard to get excited about a household cleaner or shampoo in a 30-second commercial.

That’s why you have to stay on top of current trends in digital strategies.

But with content marketing, CPG brands can create more interesting and entertaining ways to pitch their products.

Content marketing allows for long-form storytelling, bringing the products to life and making them more relatable for consumers. A fun video series or an informative blog post can also offer added value to the consumer, making them more likely to choose the brand over competitors.

At its core, content marketing helps turn mundane everyday items into must-have products – and that’s why it works for CPGs.

In-Store Marketing

In-store marketing includes any type of marketing that takes place in brick-and-mortar stores. This can consist of point-of-purchase displays, product demonstrations, and more.

Warning: Ensure the promotion comes with something valuable for your target market. If you’re just offering a price discount, people will forget about your product when you return to the regular price.

Instead, have that promotion be a unique feature that makes people’s lives easier and that they’re only going to get at a discounted price for a limited time. That way, you’re creating both fear of missing out (FOMO) and brand desire.

In-store marketing allows you to:

  • Reach your target audience when they are already in the buying mindset.
  • Strategically place your products in prime locations at eye level or near complementary items. This display increases the likelihood that shoppers will notice and purchase the product.
  • Include special displays and promotions, creating a sense of urgency for customers to make a purchase.
  • Leverage the power of packaging and product design, elements that play a huge role in catching a shopper’s attention on the shelf.

Ultimately, in-store marketing techniques can be incredibly effective for consumer goods brands because they allow for direct interaction with potential consumers while actively shopping.

Consider the drawbacks:

  • In some cases, these strategies can backfire. For example, heavily branded displays can be intrusive and overwhelm shoppers, especially in smaller stores.
  • There’s a massive environmental impact – all those flyers and paper coupons end up in the trash.
  • With the rise of online shopping, physical stores have had to compete for limited attention and resources from consumers.

Instead of focusing on impulsive tactics, savvy retailers should focus on creating an overall positive shopping experience for their customers. This could include:

  • Investing in staff training
  • Streamlining the layout of the store
  • Offering personalized promotions based on customer data.

In short, while in-store marketing can certainly be effective when used strategically, it should never overshadow the bigger-picture goals of customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

5 Examples of Brands Crushing It with CPG Marketing

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of CPG marketing let’s look at some real-world examples of brands doing it right.

1. P&G’s Old Spice: Best for Traditional Advertising

This iconic commercial from 2010 features actor Isaiah Mustafa as the “Old Spice Guy.”

In just 30 seconds, the commercial manages to be funny, sexy, and memorable – no small feat.

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And it’s not just a one-off ad campaign. Old Spice has continued to produce humorous commercials featuring the Old Spice Guy, each more over-the-top than the last.

2. Oreo: Best for TikTok

If you need inspiration with your social media marketing and online advertising, Oreo’s TikTok account is a good place to start; their channel shows you how to create branded content that looks very authentic and relatable.

Oreo includes a slew of tactics, such as

  • Humor

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  • Asking for inputs

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  • Presenting different varieties (e.g., gluten-free)

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  • Trivia

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  • Connecting with customers’ values (e.g., the importance of self-care for mental health)

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  • Leveraging emotions

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  • DIY

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Important note: All these tactics are centered around their product. That means you should never let your CPG marketing tactics outshine what you’re selling.

3. e.l.f. Cosmetics: Best for Influencer Marketing

e.l.f. Cosmetics is a prime example of a brand that has effectively used influencer marketing to reach new audiences for its skincare products. e.l.f. ’s strategy focuses on working with a wide range of micro-influencers rather than just a few big names.

This allows them to tap into different niches and target specific demographics. e.l.f. has also been very strategic about the type of influencers they work with, choosing those with engaged and authentic followings.

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Not only does this approach save money, but it also results in higher engagement rates and more genuine-looking content.

What’s more, e.l.f. has successfully ridden the COVID-19 pandemic wave. When CPG brands were decreasing their marketing efforts, e.l.f. created a remix, “Eyes. Lips. Face. Safe.” to raise awareness of preventative measures against COVID-19.

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This strategy worked because:

  • It involved a slew of celebrities, the tally of Holla FyeSixWun and Grammy® Award-winning songwriter iLL Wayno.
  • It had open access to the public. People could and still can create their own version of this challenge to be included in the e.l.f. community
  • People can still download the video on Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play.

4. Charmin: Best Success Example for Undesirable Products

Charmin is an excellent example of how unsexy household products can become memorable, increase sales, and get tons of UGC.

In 2014, Charmin created the #tweetfromtheseat campaign, encouraging people to share their “bathroom experiences” on social media. The campaign was a huge success, explaining why Charmin used this hashtag for years to come.

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What made this campaign so successful was its use of humor, which is a great way to break through the clutter and get people’s attention. Charmin also did a great job creating branded content relevant to its product.

Finally, the campaign encouraged social media users to generate their own content, which helped to create a sense of community around the brand.

Side note: Notice how Charmin uses Twitter comprehensively to create engagement, join or even create conversations:

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5. Sephora: Best Customized Online Experience

Sephora offers a compelling example with their:

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  • Virtual try on

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  • Personal shopper service

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These tactics work because they:

  • Make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for.
  • Provide a personalized experience that feels custom-made for each individual.
  • Save time and hassle by doing the work for you.

What’s more, Sephora has successfully integrated these services into its mobile app, making it even easier for customers to get what they need.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, CPG marketing is about connecting with your customer base. It’s about finding ways to make your product relatable and memorable. And it’s about using the latest technology to provide a personalized experience that will save your customers time and hassle.

By following these tips, you can create a successful CPG marketing strategy to reach your target audience and boost sales.


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