• Subscribe

  • Back

    Foodnavigator-USA “Pro Tips: Execs share how to harness digital power for growth”

    Mark Simon, Managing Director, North America/Managing Director, Toluna Digital

    (Toluna’s Mark Simon was quoted in Foodnavigator-USA.com’s article: Pro Tips: Execs share how to harness digital power for growth – By Adi Menayang, 30-Mar-2016)

    Even for big names in a crowding category, such as Vita Coco, digital market insight is key for staying relevant. Here are some marketing tips from the pros.

    “We know that awareness of the category is high when people are reminded, but we have a huge opportunity in top-of-mind awareness and brand consolidation,” Charles Van Es, vice president of marketing at Vita Coco, told FoodNavigator-USA.

    And when it comes to reminding, he argued that nothing is as important as timing. “Our consumer research helped us understand these different occasions and what specific benefits we should emphasize in our communication to consumers,” he said. “For example, electrolytes are effective for post workout hydration, and the natural fruit sugars found in coconut water are great for an afternoon pick-me-up occasion or early morning refreshment.”

    Working in real-time

    “Companies require real-time feedback to successfully market to consumers today,” said Mark Simon, Managing Director of North America/Managing Director of Toluna Digital, a digital insights company. And to target audience as precisely as Vita Coco would like, consumers’ digital behavior gives good insight.

    “The types of activities companies are doing now to collect insights are not what companies were doing five years ago,” Simon added. “Specifically, collecting data via surveys on mobile devices is new. As is generating behavioral data across PCs, mobile devices and applications and combining it with claimed data from surveys and focus groups.”

    On top of that Simon said, today’s available technology allows for these processes to happen faster than ever before.

    Adjusting taste according to tastes

    Beyond advertising, digital data has helped brands save costs and reduce risk in developing and launching new products. “We tested so many new flavor and ingredient combinations, and the flavor/ingredient combination that consumers confirmed again and again is chocolate,” said Chief Marketing Officer at Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle, Chris Pruneda.

    After consulting with digital market data, Brownie Brittle launched an entire new line of organic Brownie Brittle at Expo West earlier this month, and they have two new products in the works, slated to launch in the summer.

    For luxury water company VOSS, data helped them dip their toes into new waters entirely. Last fall at BevNet, the company introduced a new line of flavored sparkling water.

    “The digital insights we gathered showed that nearly two-thirds of consumers surveyed consider calorie count to be very important – hence the continued decline of of interest in soft drinks,” said Ken Gilbert, Group Chief Marketing Officer of VOSS. He admitted that even as big data, data mining, and real-time analysis become the norm, the information collected can still surprise industry pros. “Before conducting this research, we simply knew the numbers were more than half.”

    “The fact that 39% of Americans have a hard time drinking water due to lack of falvor was also quite a surprise for us and confirms in-store sales data showing growth of flavored sparkling,” he added.

    “Brands like Vita Coco, VOSS and Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle are pressed for time and are looking for cost-effective ways to better understand their consumers,” Simon said – all three brands are clients of Toluna.

    “The shelf is getting smaller and competition is fierce, with companies presenting consumers with fewer, high quality choices” Simon added. “The presence of these trends translates to more horizontal classifications across categories than there were a few years ago, diriving even more need for fast innovation.”