Conagra, the food manufacturer, is tapping into a similar playbook as a new generation of direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands as it seeks to keep pace with evolving shopper habits.

Lisa Mathison, senior director/media at Conagra Brands, discussed this subject at the Mobile Marketing Association’s (MMA) 2019 Impact Conference.

And she reported that shoe brand Allbirds, mattress expert Casper, beauty firm Glossier, and meal-delivery service Plated are examples of direct-to-consumer brands that offer lessons in new means of consumer engagement.

“These brands are now on the tips of our tongue. They’re in our vernacular ... And we’re taking a page out of their books,” she said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How direct brands have driven change in the Conagra marketing mix.)

“They’re into social environments and they’re really making a name for themselves there. Because they’re in e-commerce, they’re much more available than they normally would be.

“We’re observing what those brands are doing and we’re trying to adapt, and adopt some of those practices into our own marketing strategies.”

A case in point involves its media strategy. “‘Relevant reach’ is a mindset that we’ve adopted to say, ‘It’s no longer just about a flat audience anymore,” said Mathison.

“It’s no longer about women 25 to 54.’ It’s about the people who are seeking out keto solutions, or low-carb solutions, or low-fat solutions … We want to be able to measure how relevant we are in those specific segments.”

Another recommendation from Mathison involves test-and-learn methodologies: “I call it ‘test little/learn big’ … You don’t have go in with hundreds of thousands of dollars to test something.

“You can start with $15,000 or $20,000, bring in new data segments behind the scenes, and understand how [a new product] performs versus segments that you’re used to running.

“The tools and the technology that are at our fingertips today really enable that fail-fast mentality, and you can learn so much from doing some of the smallest things.”

Responding to the rise of smaller, digitally-native brands is, in fact, essential for legacy players in almost every industry, as popular habits change.

“DTC brands are growing immensely and make up about 50% of CPG category growth overall. We need to be open to those new ideas. We have to be willing to take little bits of risk,” Mathison said.

Sourced from WARC