Loyalty Through Content

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Jan 23, 2006
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By John Hennessy


New York research firm eMarketer expects packaged-goods firms to spend $470 million online in 2006. This would be a 17 percent increase from 2005 and a 42 percent increase over 2004 spending.


Rather than web media buys, eMarketer believes investing in sites will help brands like Kimberly-Clark’s Huggies Baby Network and Procter & Gamble’s Tide Fabric Care Network build relationships online. It’s also a way to capture consumer information.



“They’re putting a lot of their money into the back-end stuff, especially building sites,” said Lisa Phillips, an eMarketer analyst.


Moderator’s Comment: What are companies in retailing and related businesses doing online to address the information needs of consumers?


I just adopted a new, large dog. How much and what do I feed it?


What are trans fats?


What’s the glycemic index and how does knowing about it help me?


Why should I consider natural and organic products?


How do I read nutritional information on a label?


Through partners and third party content providers, a lot of this information can be customized for a host retailer and made available to shoppers. Availability
of this information on a retailer site will encourage shoppers to rely more on that retailer over their competitors.


I don’t live anywhere near a Wegmans but enjoy the informative emails featuring articles by Mary Ellen Burris. The Wegmans site is also a good resource
with lots of information.

John Hennessy – Moderator

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4 Comments on "Loyalty Through Content"


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Mark H. Goldstein
Guest
Mark H. Goldstein
15 years 1 month ago

I’m the second vendor weighing in here….

The Internet has made content near-free so any brand, CPG or retail, should incorporate their best, most-relevant content and package it on their web site in a consumable form for their better customers. Benefit-wise, this is no different from having famous chefs and personalities visit your physical store. If you need examples take a peek at http://www.napastyle.com or http://www.chefscatalog.com for ideas. Even Home Depot has a ‘Garden Club’ which includes relevant gardening information tailored to specific gardeners in specific regions of the country at specific periods of time.

This content should also be made available to those who register, or better yet, those who sign up to your loyalty program as an added perk of membership.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
15 years 1 month ago

Most retail and manufacturer sites have now started providing far more information than any single individual could possibly want. Which means that most needs are being addressed although there may, of course, be variations in depth and breadth, not to mention quality. Whatever question you may have, there is almost always a way to easily find an answer. In that, most companies are pretty clued up. I found the reference to Wegmans interesting though, as confirmation that all the information in the world doesn’t necessarily buy loyalty. You can obviously decide which companies to trust and which to go to for amusement or suggestions without necessarily becoming a customer. How to solve that remains to be seen but, personally, I don’t think coupons and promotions will do it. Quality still counts and there has to be a way to persuade consumers that it is worth trying the retailer or product firsthand rather than virtually.

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 1 month ago

Consumer information easily found using Google is certainly important, as Jeff notes. I’m surprised that there isn’t more couponing on-line to induce trial, and there doesn’t seem to be be much market research and encouragement of consumer discussion or suggestions either. Manufacturers could be more proactive in sponsoring on-line comment and suggestion sites, just like Amazon’s book reviews and RetailWire, for that matter. Many CPG sites look like the ad agency wants to broadcast a message (like TV or radio), but 2-way communication makes the internet more exciting. And broad participation makes sites very sticky and worth returning to.

Jeff Weitzman
Guest
Jeff Weitzman
15 years 1 month ago
This is consistent with our experience over the last six months as we sell into the CPG market. Content sites are a unique opportunity to connect with consumers on an ongoing basis and create positive brand associations with consumers. Web sites can be more effective than mailed newsletters as consumers become more and more accustomed to “on demand” information. When that question about trans-fats comes up, they are not likely to have created a library of CPG newsletters. They are far more likely to do a quick search online. Will an article about trans-fats that also notes that, for example, General Mills has removed trans-fats from all its cereals be what they find? Brands should take a broad approach to content online. It’s not enough that they build sites. They need to think about how search engines direct traffic to those sites and how consumers will be induced to try their products once they are visiting the content sites. Search engine optimization companies help with the former and products like our Concordance keyword matching system… Read more »
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