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How consumer goods companies can accelerate their first-party data strategy
January 3, 2023
The Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on consumer behaviors put new pressures on consumer goods companies to increase their agility and respond to consumers’ rising expectations for a seamless, personalized customer experience across channels. At the same time, these same companies were already facing new and expanding consumer privacy regulations and the demise of third-party cookies, which they’ve relied on to target audiences and measure digital marketing and media performance for decades.
As a result of these developments, the use of privacy-compliant, first-party data has taken on even more importance in shaping the customer experience. With greater access to consented and actionable first-party data, companies can target the right audiences, personalize the customer experience, and provide value back to the consumer while also improving the efficiency of how their business teams operate.
Historically, first-party data was not a priority for consumer goods companies that did not have a direct relationship with their consumers, such as CPG brands. Since their products are traditionally sold through retailers, restaurants, and event venues, most of these businesses were lacking the valuable, individual-level behavioral and transactional data that other industries use to better understand and interact with customers.
But that is quickly becoming an outdated characterization of CPG and other consumer goods companies. The most forward-thinking consumer goods companies are realizing the first-party data opportunity (partially out of necessity) and breaking new ground to form direct relationships with consumers.
Here’s are three inspirational examples of consumer brands that prioritized first-party data innovation and transformation during the pandemic that you can use as inspiration for your own business.
Tecate: Reimagining the festival-going experience
While some companies paused event sponsorships indefinitely due to the pandemic, Tecate, one of the beer brands under Heineken USA, quickly pivoted to a new approach that leveraged digital channels to create value for customers and drive revenue growth. Known as Mexico’s most authentic beer, the company launched a virtual concert series in 2020 known as ‘El Patio,’ which brings several live music acts together for an engaging online consumer experience.
Despite being the smallest Heineken brand, compelling digital experiences like this have helped Tecate generate the highest number of web visits, while giving consumers valuable incentive to opt-in with contact information. In turn, Tecate has been able to build unified profiles for each attendee — data it can now use to both build new audience segments, and activate those segments in new and existing consumer engagement programs.
Belgian Cycling Factory: Building a new direct-to-consumer channel seemingly overnight
For many consumer goods companies, Covid-19 served as a catalyst for embracing direct-to-consumer (DTC) models. Belgian Cycling Factory took this to a new level. As a manufacturer of premium high-end bikes, Belgian Cycling Factory sells most of its bikes through a network of dealers and bike shops across Europe. Because they are so reliant on in-store foot traffic to move product, the company knew they needed to establish a DTC strategy in a hurry when its dealerships were forces to close their doors during the pandemic.
Within one week, the company was able to build an e-commerce store and use it to collect consented first-party shopper data, deliver personalized experiences, and ultimately direct consumers to a local dealer to make an online purchase. In this way, the company was able to support its dealers while developing direct relationships with consumers at the same time. Moreover, Belgian Cycling Factory was able to run analytics on the first-party data they collected and use it to provide local dealers with insights about market demand in their region. As a result, the dealerships are able to stock their showrooms accordingly – driving more revenue for both the dealers and Belgian Cycling Factory alike.
Mattel: An innovative digital experience for loyal collectors
Like Belgian Cycling Factory, Mattel didn’t have a strong DTC relationship prior to the pandemic. With most of its products sold through toy stores and big-box retailers, the company needed to come up with a creative way to grow, scale, and meet their consumers where they are.
So, they launched a new digital channel for its high-value collector/enthusiast consumer base, known as Mattel Creations, to enrich their engagement and deepen their loyalty. The pilot was so successful that Mattel has since expanded Creations into a full-blown e-commerce channel that’s not only created a direct relationship with consumers, but also opened up a whole new source of revenue for the company.
While consumer goods companies have long relied on third-party data to reach their consumers, the game is now changing. With third-party cookie deprecation, ever-evolving privacy laws, and more and more consumers shopping online, consumer goods brands are getting smarter about first-party data. Like the examples above, that means shifting the focus to providing valuable experiences they love. Only through this equitable exchange of value will consumer goods companies get the first-party data they need to transform their customer relationships and unleash business growth in the new landscape.