How To Nail Your CPG Marketing in 2021

Guest Post: Shauna Armitage

Need some help planning your 2021 marketing campaigns? I've got a tool for that! Read to the end to find out more.

One big goal of a budding CPG brand has always been to get into well-known stores. This is a win on several levels: it validates your brand and gives you an avenue to generate sales that might have previously seemed unattainable.

While many of us still shop in stores, the plethora of delivery options available to us has become much more enticing since the pandemic has struck—and for some of us, wholly necessary.

What does this mean for CPG brands? Simply put: it means that brand awareness and customer loyalty are more important now than ever. It means the way we market to consumers in 2021 has to change, and here are some of the tricks and trends you need to know about.

Make a hard pivot to digital

Traditional marketing has taken on a new meaning over the past couple of years, but smart marketers are going to lean even harder into digital strategies in 2021. Think: social media, influencer marketing, advertising, email marketing—to name a few.

You may have been engaging in some of these practices already, but you have to ask yourself: to what end?

Digital marketing ROI has been notoriously difficult for marketers and founders to track, but you will be able to see if it’s doing any of these three things for your brand:

  1. Generating brand awareness
  2. Driving warm leads
  3. Making sales

Your first task in the new year should be to identify which strategies are doing these three things for your business and dive deeper into them. (And to eliminate the strategies that are just fluff!)

This is not to say that you must abandon your regularly scheduled marketing or growth strategies, but the companies who scale in 2021 will be the ones that dared to take new approaches to their marketing.

Focus on the customer/brand relationship

The way consumers purchase today has changed. Gone are the days of leisurely strolling through a store and coming across new products and brands. Today, consumers make purchasing decisions for one of two reasons: convenience or connection.

For example, Amazon is pretty damn convenient. It’s got every product under the sun, many affordable options, and can be delivered to your home faster than you can locate your good pair of pants that seem to have gone missing since you started working from home amidst the pandemic. The convenience of Amazon has put many long-standing retailers out of business and put many others in jeopardy.

However, you and I both know that we will spend two times or three times the amount of money on a product from an e-commerce store and bypass Amazon altogether if we feel like that company shares our values.

High-quality. Sustainable practices. Family-owned. Female-founded. Made in the USA. These are all examples of values that drive our purchasing decisions as consumers, and it’s these values that form the basis of the customer/brand relationship.

As more people are shopping from home than ever before, in 2021 we must use smart digital marketing strategies to illuminate these values and nurture the relationship with each and every customer.

Build campaigns, not content

Now is the time of year when every marketer wants to teach you how to build and distribute your content. You can learn about what to say, where to say it, and even how to repurpose it! But again, take a step back and think about how being a content machine actually contributes to your bottom line.

If it does, great! Full steam ahead. However, most of us will need to focus our energies on developing strategic campaigns. 

How are campaigns different from regular ol’ content? Simple: content planning is about developing and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage, sometimes with the intent of getting customers to take action.

Campaigns, however, are strategically built around themes that connect the brand and the consumer and focus on achieving one or more of our marketing goals—building awareness, driving leads, making sales—in a more direct way.

Brand-to-brand collaborations

One of the hottest marketing trends that we expect to continue in full force is the brand-to-brand collaboration. Have you ever heard the phrase, “A rising tide lifts all boats?” Well it’s true!

We all have a lot of competition out there, but that doesn’t mean that every person or company in our niche is our competition. In fact, there are likely many, many brands who successfully sell to your target market that your brand actually has synergy with rather than being in competition with.

So what does that all mean? It means now is the time to start networking! Find new companies or reconnect with ones you used to have a relationship with and find ways to cross promote, build campaigns together, and ultimately give both of your audiences a reason to become highly engaged.

Deliver an experience

Connection plays a huge part in a consumer’s purchasing decision, but our profits often lie in customers purchasing from us again and again. So while developing and nurturing a connection is important, we still must focus on creating an unbelievable experience for our customers.

There are many ways to do this, but a few places you can start include:

  • Your packaging
  • The unboxing experience
  • Adding small, personal touches
  • Unexpected perks like free samples or add-on products

Think about a time when you received a package from a company that has a hand-written note inside or a little something extra like an affirmation card or stickers. It’s those unnecessary but highly appreciated things that make a one-time customer become a brand advocate.

A Little More About Shauna

Shauna Armitage is a fractional marketing director for early-stage startups, guiding founders at all stages of growth in developing an impactful marketing program. Bridging the gap between consultant and agency, Shauna takes a hands-on approach in each and every business which is quite innovative. She is a Hubspot Certified professional with a certificate in Women’s Entrepreneurship from Cornell University and is an active member of The Female Founder Collective and Hey Mama. Shauna has presented for organizations such as Women of Denver, Keller Williams Realty, and The Riveter.