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Mar 03, 2004
How To

Persuade Consumer Packaged Goods Execs to Do More Online Advertising

SUMMARY: No summary available.
Web marketing has been particularly slow to gain momentum from consumer package goods firms (CPGs).

"There are a number of people in the CPG marketing space who are wedded to older forms of media communications," says Anna Murray, President of e*media inc, who has worked with major CPG brands including Keebler, Bayer, and Del Monte since 1996.

We asked her how interactive fans can convince CPG execs that online is viable. Here are her top three tactics that work:

Tactic #1. Evaluate your position

If you're wedded to Web marketing but you're working at a CPG where you've got a small budget and a complete lack of understanding, consider whether it makes sense for you to be there.

If executives are simply uncommitted because they don't yet see a direct connection with the bottom line, you may be able to change their minds -- but you have to know that it will take time. "I think the people who are the most successful at the big corporations are those who know that it will come. It's repetition, it's patience," Murray says.

But if you're at a company and "the top dude is saying, 'This doesn't add to the bottom line and I don't see how it will ever add to the bottom line,'" Murray says, "your answer is"

Tactic #2. Run test "comfort zone" campaigns

"If you have provisional buy-in, use that buy-in to execute programs that achieve measurable results and that people can understand," Murray suggests. Three tips:

o Tip a. Keep campaigns within a "comfort zone"
Jumping right in with a coupon campaign, for example, wouldn't be a good idea, Murray says. While coupons are trackable and can show that "you redeemed X number of coupons and moved Y number of boxes off the shelf," there's a high level of fear surrounding them.

Instead, do something that falls within your boss's comfort zone. Suggest a sweepstakes to increase the names in the database. "Yes, boring, boring, boring," Murray says, but you're more likely to get the campaign into the budget with something simple -- and at least it's a start.

o Tip b. Build up from the simple campaigns
If you're planning a sweeps, for example, tell your boss what you're going to do with those names at the end of the year, Murray suggests. Plan another program to use those names, and see if you can get that next level of communication into the budget early on.

o Tip c. Give results in succinct bullet points
Continue building buy-in by distributing easy-to-skim results reports. "Don't give them stacks of WebTrend reports, Give them little bits of information," Murray says. "You give them succinct bullet points that show results, and you do that relentlessly."

Tactic #3. Continual in-house marketing

As an interactive marketer, your job does not end with a campaign to consumers. You need to work just as hard within your company, and you need to do it on an ongoing basis.

o Step a. Evangelize
"You're a marketer, right?" Murray says. "So, market. Tell your boss what you've done. Ask your boss if he'd like you to tell his boss." Talk about your campaigns and show results weekly. "The word 'relentless' is not to be diminished," Murray says.

o Step b. Educate
The level of Net marketing knowledge at some CPGs remains extremely rudimentary, notes Murray.

"You need to go to the brands that you're responsible for and educate them. Don't expect they know what a banner ad is," she says. "You talk to people, you tell them, 'Stop me if I'm telling you something you already know.' Give them little bits of information."

o Step c. Persevere
"There's a sense of urgency online, you think it will happen in the snap of the fingers," Murray says. "But internal knowledge comes with time." Even if you show proof of an increase in the bottom line, you may be left wondering, "Where's the tsunami?"

Give it time, and it will be worth the effort, says Murray. "In terms of careers, clearly the future is going to involve professionals who are seasoned in interactive marketing, if only that the TiVo space will require people to think about it in a new way."
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