FMCGs must mirror financial brands in using data, says Kellogg's European digital director

Traditional FMCG companies must understand the value of data as much as financial services, according to Kellogg’s European head of digital Matt Pritchard.

Speaking at Social Media World Forum in London, during an interview with The Drum in front of an audience, Pritchard described FMCG brands as being “late to the party” when it comes to realising the value of data and trailing other verticals including travel and financial services.

Over the last decade retailers have “owned” the data-gathering process through their loyalty schemes, but now FMCG companies must look to develop their own single customer views to extract the same value from data, Pritchard stated.

“We must learn from the retailers’ loyalty bases. Our challenge is - how do we learn from them how can we plug into their data sources and make them our own.

"It will be very difficult to convince consumers in the UK and France in particular, where loyalty schemes are the most advanced, to start collecting points directly with the manufacturer as they are used to doing it with their retailers. So it’s the start of this journey,” he said.

Kellogg’s will begin this process with its brand My Special K, its most advanced in terms of data gathering. “With My Special K we offer a free weight-loss programme which is calorie controlled and not linked to the product in terms of purchase. That data given by those women, for example what they are trying to gain and where they are on their journey is used for the purpose of being an all-day partner with them on their shape management journey throughout the year.

“As an industry we have a long way to go but we are starting to make those first steps – aggregating first party data with other data sources. This will become more and more important – it’s all about data-driven precision marketing,” he said.

Pritchard believes harnessing data presents a way to “shake up” the market. “In the UK no-one can beat Tesco in terms of bricks and mortar footprint, but you can work with an individual who is just as good as Tesco at search and if we have a way to deliver that product then a small shop in Mansfield can be just as effective an opportunity for us to get product through.

“If you look at FMCG companies over the years we started off with all our brand sites and promotional sites – traditionally we were probably guilty of putting the brand at the centre and saying it’s all about us – I think we are starting to learn that it’s not."

The company will focus on driving these changes with its Special K, Crunchy Nut and Krave brands.

Mobile is another core area Kellogg's will continue to develop, with particular focus on coupons as it looks to pursue its goal to "take the transactions to the shelf edge". The FMCG giant is working with Google and other parties to lobby the big four supermarkets in the UK as well as the top three in France to accept downloadable, scannable mobile coupons, according to Pritchard.

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