(Tampa, FL) October 31, 2018 – Wall Street is taking notice of consumer behavior in the packaged foods industry. CNBC reports the S&P 500 increased 14% over the last 12 months, while packaged foods and meat companies in the index are down more than 11% over the same period.(1) Top-tier brands like Kellogg, General Mills, Campbell Soup and J.M. Smucker all hit 52-week lows.(2) However, the dynamic of grocery shopping has changed. Consumers are disproportionately buying perimeter store items, causing a 3.8% rise in sales over the last four years(3) and causing digital communication avenues like social media to permeate the consumer path to purchasing, influencing awareness, product selection and loyalty. “The mistakes that products make is that they want [their audience] to engage with the product as opposed to some sort of emotional or community connection that’s relevant,” said Marc Rappin, Chief Marketing Officer of The Advertising Research Foundation in a recent B2B If You Market podcast.
To assist business-to-business (B2B) brands in engaging with their target audiences, Marc Rappin stepped into the arena on Episode 27 of the If You Market podcast “How to Make Engaging Campaigns for Boring Products,” hosted by MountainTop Data CEO Sky Cassidy and JOTO PR CEO Karla Jo Helms.(4)
One of the illustrious case studies mentioned was Proctor & Gamble’s (P&G) Super Bowl stunt in 2017. Terry Bradshaw, former quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers and NFL Hall of Famer, appeared to be on live TV from the Fox broadcast booth with a stain on his white button-down shirt, the result of a spill. The “spill” was a pre-taped stunt that teed up another commercial late in the game with a clean shirt. The commercial ended up increasing Tide’s sales by 22%.(5)
Why It Worked:
- Consumer Truth: Embarrassing stain blunders are a part of life and are legitimate fears everyone faces.
- Product Relevance: Tide’s product is a clutch stain solution.
- Creative Execution: An NFL legend demonstrated authenticity and a unique twist to a stressful scenario.
“There isn’t much relevance between laundry detergent and professional football,” Rappin said. “A good part of a live audience didn’t necessarily realize that it was an advertiser stunt because how closely are you watching the four and a half hours of pregame before the Super Bowl anyway, so a whole lot of people thought that it was a real stain.”
Yet B2B brands do not have the same luxury as CPG companies in opening their wallets for Super Bowl ads and gravitate to social media as a digestible option for marketing their products. Helms emphasized General Electric’s “geeky” social media efforts as the “most exciting-boring brand” built a tech forum linking industry minds to join a GE-held conversation around energy, health, transportation and consumer products. ”I like to think if you’re joining a community and if the people in the community aren’t geeked out about it then it’s not even really a community,” Cassidy said.
Today, GE is resorting to using faces of the company to humanize their brand as their Instagram feed shows manufacturers working on their product.(6) “It really goes along with the old adage, if it isn’t written, it isn’t true,” Helms said. “If it isn’t shared, you don’t have social proof.”
Going Offline for Engagement via Experiential Marketing
Engagement marketing, sometimes called “experiential marketing”, “event marketing”, “on-ground marketing”, “live marketing”, “participation marketing”, or “special events” is a marketing strategy that directly engages consumers and invites and encourages them to participate (engage) in the evolution of a brand or a brand experience. (7) The key is being creative.
A 2017 Nielsen study revealed that “Creative is still king” in sales contribution for advertising—strong creative equals a strong sales lift.(8) In Episode 30 of the If You Market Podcast, titled “The Resurgence of Experiential Marketing, with Laurel Mintz,” the Founder of Elevate My Brand, a digital strategy and live events agency in Los Angeles, California, stresses the importance of a creative digital and offline events for B2B companies. She also gives insight on how event results should be measured. (9)
“One of the first things in terms of defining those metrics is just having that conversation. What has been historically done in this space? What has worked? What hasn’t? What has the conversion been?” In June 2016, Elevate My Brand facilitated an interactive road tour for Paw Patrol, an animated series broadcasted on Nickelodeon. The three-month, 21-city tour began in Round Rock, Texas and stretched up to Syracuse, New York before its conclusion on Labor Day weekend. The tour featured an 18-wheel semi-truck PAW Patrol Headquarters that included games, a life-sized Lookout Tower and photo set ups with characters from the show. Also, they partnered with a non-profit organization, Canine Companions for Independence, who set up a site with activations such as a Puppy Cuddle Corner for kids to pet dogs, and temporary tattoo stations.(10)
The Measured Results:
- The tour reached 100,000 people nationwide
- 3 million impressions from earned media opportunities
- 26,000+ total emails lead to a 32% growth of the Paw Parents database, with over 8,600 new emails added
An important tip Mintz advised for B2B Companies to conduct for experiential marketing is to organize a budget with a six to 12-month timeline depending on the size and scale of the event and be realistic of what a $10,000 budget can offer in comparison to a $1 million budget. “If you don’t have a budget in mind for an event, you’re not ready to have a conversation about an event yet. I’ll say that across the board for digital and experiential.”
The If You Market podcast is a 45-minute conversation about B2B marketing—new trends, best practices and established tried-and-true. Each episode features a conversation with one expert guest discussing topics like: content marketing, account-based marketing, social media, marketing automation, PR, etc.
The podcast airs on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and Tunein Radio.
About Marc Rappin
Marc is a member of the Executive Leadership Team at the Advertising Research Foundation, a non-for-profit industry organization that is dedicated to advancing the science of marketing and advertising for its members and the industry. He has been at the ARF for five years holding positions of Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Revenue Officer. Prior to ARF, Marc’s career spans 30+ years in Account Management and Business Generation roles at creative agencies within WPP, Interpublic and Omnicom networks. Marc’s track record of successfully translating data/analytics into ideas generate behavior-changing brand experiences across a breadth of industries, from CPG, telecom, financial/insurance, pharma, B2B to Sports Marketing and across all channels including online/social, direct marketing and advertising disciplines.
About Laurel Mintz
With a J.D./M.B.A from Rutgers University, Laurel’s background has uniquely prepared her to run a successful agency. Inspired by the innovative consulting work she executed early in her career with prestigious brands like Le Bec Fin, Public House Restaurant Group, Bassett Furniture and Julie Hewett Cosmetics, Laurel knew she wanted to play bigger. Almost a decade later, Laurel has created an agency family serving both startups and blue-chip global brands like Verizon Digital Media Group, PAW Patrol and Zendesk. Laurel sits on the Board of Directors for NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) and the UCLA Restaurant Conference. She is also is a mentor for The Women’s Global Leaders Initiative and a partner to Women’s Founders Network and advises LAVA (Los Angeles Venture Association).
About the If you Market They Will Come Podcast
Meet If You Market podcast host, Sky Cassidy—an accomplished B2B marketing guru. And his co-host, disruptive PR evangelist Karla Jo Helms. Together they talk with industry experts to analyze marketing and public relations tactics from a perspective of data leveraging in marketing, entrepreneurial insight, and a measure of crisis management.
Sky Cassidy is also the CEO of MountainTop Data. MountainTop Data, based in Los Angeles, CA, provides data and data services for B2B marketing. Karla Jo Helms is the CEO and Anti-PR Strategist of PR agency, JOTO PR DisruptorsTM, based in Tampa, FL. Visit them via http://ifyoumarkettheywillcome.com/category/if-you-market-podcast/
- LaVito, Angela . “Big food companies are trying to reverse the curse of the center aisle,” CNBC; July 14, 2017.
- Henrich, Jay, Little, Ed, Martinez, Anne, Kandarp, Shah, and Sichel, Bernardo. “Agility@Scale: Solving the growth challenge in consumer packaged goods,” McKinsey & Company; July 2018.
- Staff, Writer. “2017 Top Trends in Fresh Foods “Information Resources Incorporated,” 2017.
- Cassidy, Sky. “How to Make Engaging Campaigns for Boring Products, with Marc Rappin,” If You Market podcast; September 10, 2018.
- Dua, Taylor. “Legendary ad firm Saatchi & Saatchi is trying to bounce back from a disastrous gender blunder last year,” Business Insider; June 30, 2017.
- Coffman, Liz. “Nothing to See Here? Social Media Marketing for Businesses That Aren’t Photogenic” Entrepreneur; October 3, 2018.
- Staff, Writer. “Engagement Marketing,” Wikipedia. 2018.
- Staff, Writer. “WHEN IT COMES TO ADVERTISING EFFECTIVENESS, WHAT IS KEY?” Nielsen; October 9, 2017.
- Cassidy, Sky. “The Resurgence of Experiential Marketing If You Market podcast; October 23, 2018.
- Staff, Writer. “PAW Patrol,” Elevate My Brand. 2018.