Kellogg’s warms to data but insists scale and reach remain central pillars to business growth

John Broome

John Broome

Kellogg’s is targeting a broader customer base, working with fewer agencies and driving a more emotional marketing message in a bid to remain competitive as its marketing director admitted FMCG companies have been slow to embrace the new data-driven world.

John Broome also flagged the imminent launch of a new range of products in a move to “remain relevant” and revealed Kellogg’s will switch marketing budgets away from traditional channels as it gains “confidence” around digital results.

As with the shift to data, the sector has been “slow” to move beyond the TV advertising it has relied upon for so long, he said.

Speaking at the Association of Data Driven Marketing and Advertising global forum yesterday, Broome said the company has moved away from targeting “heavy users” and needs to reach “all category buyers”.

“The only way I can grow my business is by bringing more light users [of Kellogg’s products] into my brand,” he said. “Trying to get someone to eat more cereal when they are already eating it five or seven days a week is a bit difficult so our focus is shifting towards recruiting light and lapsed users.”

He said the marketing focus has moved to building an emotional connection with consumers, evidenced by its Unstoppable campaign earlier this year which sought to stem the sales decline at Nutrigrain. Sales have climbed 20 per cent since the campaign, Broome said.

“We are looking at fewer, simpler, enduring platforms and having less complexity in the number of things we do which can come across as clutter,” Broome told delegates at the annual ADMA gathering. “We are also looking at emotional drivers as opposed to rational. It’s very easy for rational distinctiveness to be copied by others but emotional is much harder [to copy].”

Describing himself as a “humble, simple marketer” whose expertise lies in brand building, Broome said he was excited at the potential of “the data world and my world” coming together in a “more real way” and admitted the sector has been slower than others to use data.

But he stressed the need for scale and reach remained as critical as ever for FMCGs.

“With digital, reach is still our focus and I am really pleased with the way we can do this, particularly through online video,” he said.

“Scale is key and unless data can provide scale then it really doesn’t work for me. I need to talk to millions of people, not hundreds of thousands.”

He identified programmatic marketing as providing such scale in addition to allowing Kellogg’s to distinguish between “heavy, light and lapsed users”.

Broome, who has pushed the case for marketers to adopt a more scientific approach to marketing, said disruption in the industry is “absolutely everywhere” with the traditional “monoliths” struggling to keep up with newer entrants who are “nimble, take more risks, and are prepared to fail and learn from that”.

These smaller players are the ones “driving growth in many food categories”, Broome admitted, with their business model one the larger competitors are finding it hard to replicate or compete with.

KelloggsBroom also revealed how its agency model was “dramatically” changing with the company moving from “collaborative to a total integrated model”.

“Instead of having 25 people, all experts in their own field, sitting in a room giving me advice, we now have three or four and that instantly improves our agility,” he told the conference. “Agencies are tapping into the talent that is out there in the market.

“We don’t need specialist agencies in the way we did three or four years ago. We are seeing individual specialists being bought in-house and providing the service we are looking for in a far faster way.”

Turning to its marketing mix, Broome revealed that less than 60 per cent of its budget is now spent on traditional channels against the norm in the FMCG sector of around 65 per cent. FMCGs have been “fairy slow” to switch to digital channels, he said.

“But we have made some big choices,” he said, reiterating its withdrawal from out of home advertising. “We are using Google Preferred [ad platform] and we have…Brightroll as a programmatic partner to unlock value there.

“For a lot of FMCGs online video is the place to be right now and you can get some greats stats when you are engaging with great content.

“We’ll continue that journey as we gain greater confidence around the ROI and behaviour change effectiveness of new channels.”

He added that Kellogg’s has stopped buying against its core demographic of teenage boys because the cost, particularly through traditional channels “has just blown out of all proportion”.

“But interestingly, the way that TV companies are programming we can still pick up the majority of teen boys by buying that 18-44 demographic, and we buy that far more cheaply,” he said.

One of Nutrigrain’s issues is that 40 per cent of teen boys skip breakfast, he said.

Asked about the perennial debate over healthy eating, Broome acknowledged that maintaining relevancy for a company like Kellogg’s was key and revealed it was close to launching new products.

“We are underway with a process of transforming our foods. There are a lot of consumers who love our food and we have a very healthy business but we want to move with the times to maintain relevancy,” he said.

“We did that with the launch of the Special K nourish range last year and there is a lot of other interesting stuff about to happen.”

Steve Jones 


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