How General Mills muscled up its marketing with a purpose

Geoffrey Precourt

Even for some of America's most beloved brands, "It is very challenging to find growth."

Economic self-confidence, for one thing, isn't where it used to be. Nor is marketing.

The world according to Mark Addicks, svp/cmo of General Mills and one of the most respected Fortune 500 marketers, is currently a complex one: "Households are five years into recovery, and they really haven't recovered. In fact, they've actually fallen behind. Their incomes are down around 8% from where they were five years ago.

"We see a real struggle to balance their aspirations and their pocketbooks," Addicks told an audience of over 2,800 delegates at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2014 Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando.

"And, since our brands are purchased very frequently, we see this happen month after month. In priority order, people pay the mobile bill, the housing bill, the gas bill and the healthcare bill. With what's left, they for pay food, apparel and entertainment."