Special K Steps Up Its DTC Marketing

Now that consumer packaged goods companies have shown they can create products and sell them directly to consumers, it’s time for them to step up their strong suit: marketing. Some of the latest moves in the business show they are doing just that.

The first example of such a move comes from Kellogg’s. As part of its Kellogg’s Family Rewards program, it is wrapping up a D2C promotion that is unique for its marketing-first approach and for its product bundling. The promotion started Sept. 20 for its Special K brand. Called the “Special K Blursday Go-Away Kit,” the company says the promotion is inspired by “simpler times” when days of the week weren’t so “blurred” together. KFR members can enter to win kits complete with Flave-of-the-Day Socks — one for each day from Monday through Sunday, with each pair of socks inspired by that day’s flavor. Winners also get a “Flavors You’re Feeling Weekly Planner” and seven boxes of new Special K flavors. The flavors were “inspired” by Twitter conversations the brand had with consumers.

The campaign is not the first time Kellogg’s has gone directly to the consumer. But it is innovative from the marketing standpoint and also hits on the theme of collecting data to sharpen those marketing campaigns once they’re done.

“There is a gold mine in DTC if one is not solely occupied in selling goods, but in authentically understanding needs,” says Michael Forhez, global managing director of consumer markets at Oracle Industry Solutions Group. “If the right questions are being asked and real listening applied, DTC could very well become the core of a new foundation for creating customer intimacy and satisfaction for a 100-plus-year-old packaged goods industry.”

Another marketing move can be seen from Clorox. Its Objective wellness brand, according to the website Glossy, is being redesigned and rebranded about a year after it was first introduced. Part of the reason for the reconsideration of the brand is to reach the millennial age range. The change comes slightly under one year since its November 2019 brand launch.

The new look is less clinical and is aimed at fixing “the pain points that we were trying to solve when we went into the rebrand: the original packaging and the original face of Objective being heavily science,” Kimberly Vandrilla, the head of DTC brand and creative at The Clorox Company, told Glossy. “At the same time, our brand is about people, and the people and the heart of the brand were missing.”

Part of the reason CPG brands are stepping up their strong suit — marketing — is because recent product launches are working. New PYMNTS research conducted with Sticky.io found that 54.6 percent of consumers in the past year have used D2C channels to purchase CPG products or nonperishable items that are used on a regular basis. CPG use is considerably high among younger consumers — 67 percent of millennials use brand-run websites and stores to purchase CPG, compared to 41.4 percent of baby boomers and seniors. Physical and digital marketplaces remain more prevalent, however, as 80.2 percent of consumers have bought CPG through these channels.

“Ultimately, opportunities lay unclaimed for CPG companies to reinsert themselves into a market that is leaving yesterday’s tactics behind,” said Sabrina McPherson, managing director and management consulting consumer products lead at Publicis Sapient, in Digital Commerce 360. “Testing for market readiness and digital maturity while verifying key components like resource allocation, budget, and overall strategy to determine appropriate stakeholders and prioritize implementation is key to successfully rolling out new DTC capabilities. With the proper planning and resources, each brand that chooses to invest will be stepping into a sort of “Wild West” adventure of understanding their market in new and more direct ways. With the advent of a post-COVID world where more consumers have made the jump to online orders, the chance to get on the front foot with fresh, scalable DTC solutions seems riper than ever.”




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