CPGs lag behind when it comes to engaging the millennial consumer, says former Kraft CMO, Deanie Elsner

The consumer has changed, and consumer product goods companies (CPGs) lag behind when it comes to creating infrastructure that can navigate the new landscape, according to former Kraft Food Groups chief media officer (CMO) Deanie Elsner.

Elsner left Kraft earlier this year amidst a marketing facelift orchestrated by the company's new chief John Cahill.

Speaking to The Drum at an event in Austin she discussed just how much the industry has changed in the last decade.

“Externally, there’s this tremendous transformation happening across the communication landscape, the retail landscape and it’s all being driven by the consumer,” she explained. “It’s this new millennial consumer who is really behaving and operating very differently than any consumer prior to them.”

This has led to an urgent need for companies,which previously had a great understanding of the consumer and their needs, to radically restrategise.

“Historically they’ve had a set of tools and capabilities and a methodology by which to manage their brands,” she said of these companies. “Today, a lot of those tools and capabilities don’t work the way they used to. As a result, their dollars aren’t as effective.”

However, not all brands have floundered. Financial brands like American Express and the insurance industry overall have “really put data at the forefront of their infrastructure,” which ultimately helps them reach the millennial consumer in a genuine, effective manner, according to Elsner,

CPGs however, are lagging behind in this arena. “They’re going to have to look to other industries to get the perspective and rules of the road, and then figure out how they incorporate those into their playbooks to really navigate this new space,” she suggested.

Elsner has not yet revealed what her next steps will be within the industry.

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