Many CPG companies have experienced this exact situation. They know how effective their media mix is at driving incremental volume, yet not much thought is given to planning the timing of these activities in the future.
The result: Deep promotional offers, such as BOGOs, sometimes overlap with campaigns from a multitude of vehicles, both conventional and unconventional. At first look, this might not seem to be a problem. “Isn’t more advertising better?” someone might ask. It depends.
Advocates of the 360-Degree marketing approach (formally known as Integrated Marketing Communications) believe that in order to best influence consumer behavior, said consumer should be totally immersed in the advertising message. This is accomplished by coordinating efforts in Advertising, Promotion and Trade into one seamless, harmonious plan. The operative word here, however, is “coordinating.”
We are not trying to say that an immersive experience is ineffective. Rather, in some ways the elements in your marketing plan are like a blend of ingredients in a favorite meal: their proportions need careful, selective coordination in order to balance each other and add to the efficacy of your mix. Too much or too little of an element can ruin the mix.
We’ve found that even though promotional activities may be very effective in driving volume on their own in a given space of time, they don’t always work well when used all at once. Net-Net, simultaneous execution of all vehicles (both trade and media) often dampens the impact from each individual vehicle. The result is that the overall interaction between the elements in the mix is less harmonious, which, interestingly enough, defeats the purpose of the 360 approach.
Why does this happen? There can be several factors involved. Sometimes, this has to do with field and account managers who are responsible for trade* but have difficulty knowing when other media activities are planned. Sometimes they also do not know how much volume is being driven both by the brand as well as any halo impacts from other campaigns within the portfolio, which makes it difficult to plan at a higher level of accuracy.
What can be done? Here’s where MFA comes to the rescue, proverbially speaking. Check back next time for our second installment: Marketing Mix Clutter, Part II
*in-store promotional activities
-Written by Shyam Venugopal, Daphne Smirniotis and Roger Pier