Social consciousness and consumer psychology continue to shift in 2022. Your CPG company’s target audience is likely more aware than ever of how brands make them feel — especially since they’re being bombarded with marketing messaging 24/7 from all angles.
As a result, one of the most valuable assets your CPG company can have today is a meaningful connection with your consumers. You can foster that connection by paying attention to the four trends — all related to reaching consumers effectively — elevated here.
Being aware of these trends can strengthen your customer relationships. But it can also position your business for growth as foresight into what’s next translates into dollar signs.
1. Comfort Your CPG Brand’s Consumers to Keep them Coming Back
As mentioned, consumers today are in tune with how brands make them feel. And you can’t reach them effectively — let alone on a personal level — without understanding this trend.
“Make customers feel good and make everything a little easier for them” should be your mantra in 2022. Consumers want to be reassured and comforted post-pandemic and amid the complexity of their daily, digital-driven lives.
If it makes sense for your CPG, you can create new products that relieve consumer stress — like ashwagandha gummies if you’re a supplement brand. Otherwise you can also simply alter how you’re speaking to your audience to make the customer journey more zen.
Keep this trend in mind as you review the next three trends. No matter how you decide to leverage these trends to reach and grow your audience, you must offer reprieve and comfort.
2. Leverage Artificial Intelligence to Customize Consumer Connections
As companies look to form deeper, more delightful connections with their target audiences, it’s no wonder artificial intelligence-driven research is increasingly popular.
AI marketing leverages customer data through machine learning techniques. This enables you to anticipate consumers’ next moves and therefore customize the customer journey, making it more resonant. Additionally, the insights AI marketing produces get at consumers’ personality types and psychographics — not just surface level demographics.
AI marketing is powerful beyond improving how you relate to consumers. It’s also able to distill heaps of data almost instantly. If a human had to sift through that amount of data and extract actionable information, it would take months. Or even years.
Consider a case study that proves the potential of machine learning. Consumer goods company Unilever put AI marketing to the test. Using AI data centers from across the globe, they discovered a link between ice cream and breakfast. The company then developed a range of cereal-flavored ice creams for food and beverage brand Ben & Jerry’s, taking advantage of their newfound insights into consumers. And giving consumers something they didn’t even know they wanted. Bonus: Breakfast for dessert sounds pretty comforting!
You might be thinking: AI marketing isn’t new in 2022. And that’s correct. What is novel is its availability to more and more companies. When machine learning software first emerged, only the largest, wealthiest companies could afford it. Now it’s becoming more widely accessible, making it the perfect time for your CPG company to explore the tech (if you haven’t already).
3. Use Your Data to Inform Your Storytelling
In 2022, CPG brands have access to an unprecedented amount of consumer data. There’s AI marketing, as discussed, but also market research, syndicated data, and the goldmine that is your owned first-party data. It’s great and powerful for making those meaningful consumer connections — but only if you actually act on the data you have.
We’re seeing an increasing disconnect between creative marketing/brand teams and analytical data/research teams. The teams are too siloed. Consequently, the raw insights data experts have aren’t always getting translated into marketing strategies and narratives consumers respond to. Those consumer/brand connections aren’t being made.
Don’t sit on quality data. Remember, you need to understand your customers to cultivate those all-important relationships that keep buyers coming back to your brand.
4. Make the Customer Experience Seamless for Overwhelmed Consumers
The customer journey looks nothing like it did even a few years ago. Way back when, it started in the store, or maybe with a mailer. Today, there are seemingly endless entry points for customers to access your brand, including:
- In store
- On your website
- Via social media
- With apps like Instacart
- Through your own apps
Despite the complexity of the customer journey, your task this year is to streamline the experience across all these platforms (and more) for your target audience. Don’t let them feel the complexity you see in the customer journey. You must meet shoppers on the channels and at the times that work for them to achieve meaningful connections.
You have the data necessary to cater to your customers as individuals. Again, don’t let that data go unused.
Meaningful Customer Relationships Are Possible with Foresight
Advances in technology like AI marketing, the near-instant availability of consumer data, the after-effects of a global pandemic — there’s a lot shaping the marketing landscape for CPG’s in 2022.
Being in the know about these shifts means you can be proactive instead of reactive: responding to your customers in the right place with the right tone to create mutually beneficial relationships.