NAPLES, FL: ConAgra Foods has moved beyond a "TV-first" mindset as it rigorously leverages data to help drive relevant messaging and engage an audience with rapidly evolving tastes and preferences.

Heather Dumford, Marketing Director at ConAgra, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2016 Masters of Measurement Conference.

"'TV-first' is not how we think about marketing anymore, from a creative aspect and from a media aspect," she said. (For more, including further details of its strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: ConAgra welcomes change, new programmatic ecosystem.)

More specifically, she revealed that the company is "pushing the needle" on its thinking about marketing in a data-driven, digital age – and, indeed, at a time when "health-conscious" consumers are transforming the food industry.

In the first instance, this means considering what Dumford called a "holistic environment" in terms of "what makes the most sense for the right consumer", rather than saying, "Hey! I have a great TV spot! How do I get it out there?"

Such a shift, she continued, actually ties into ConAgra's wider corporate DNA which, as the owner of food brands like Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, Reddi-wip and Orville Redenbacher, is that of a data-literate organisation.

"We are a very analytical company at heart," Dumford explained. "When we [determine] how consumers are spending their time, and we're getting more granularity on them, that all helps to humanise [the marketing process.]"

Data's role in augmenting its marketing, of course, has a clear financial component. "We don't want to spend an exponential amount of dollars on something that's not helping the business," she said.

Beyond the budget, however, it also lets ConAgra understand new wants and needs, "because people aren't going down the traditional food route to make those types of cuisines".

Deep insights into consumer behaviour thus enables ConAgra to identify its audience, select the channels to reach them, distribute pertinent messages and – thanks to a near-instant feedback loop – optimise its output as required.

"When these insights bubble up through data, and we execute on them, we see an exponential lift in performance," Dumford said. "We've quantified that lift. And we have changed the entire process to where we start with what the data is telling us."

Data sourced from Warc