Three Advanced TV Strategies CPG Brands Can Use to Increase Revenue

0aaaAdam Paul LiveRamp

A 2017 report by Credit Suisse projected that the current distinction between “media” spend (TV, digital, print, radio, outdoor and cinema) and “below-the-line” marketing spend (price promotions, PR, sponsorship, direct mail and telephone marketing) would continue to blur in the future of advertising.  

This co-branded television campaign by Tylenol and Stop & Shop targeting caregivers is a perfect example. Further, with advances in data-driven television ad buying and the scale that can now be achieved through household-level addressable TV, consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers should rethink how they allocate their marketing dollars in order to truly capitalize on their targeting and partner strategies. In other words, the ability to use rich datasets beyond age and gender demos for TV planning has created a real opportunity for CPG manufacturers to use TV to reach individual consumers with messaging that drives specific behaviors.

Today, more than half of CPG marketing spend goes to below-the-line tactics, including trade and consumer promotion and shopper marketing. On the other hand, according the Cadent Consulting Group, only 13.3% was spent on traditional advertising in 2017. It’s incredible to think that only a portion of this was used to create some of the most impactful ads of our time: Always’ #LikeAGirl, Ariel’s #SharetheLoad, and Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches, to name a few. Advanced TV offers boundary-pushing brands a prime opportunity to connect their big, beautiful ads to below-the-line tactics in a concerted, measurable manner.


While below-the-line tactics often prove effective at driving volume, they rely heavily on price discounts to drive action and do little to grow brand equity — a gap that TV ads fill nicely. With advances in TV targeting, CPG brands can avoid becoming pigeonholed; they can avoid a scenario where they are only known for being inexpensive relative to their competition.

Here are three advanced TV strategies that CPG manufacturers can consider to drive real value and results in a time where consumers value personalized, meaningful experiences to drive brand loyalty.

1.    Optimize National Linear Investment to more closely align with both the purchase behavior and media consumption habits of high-value consumers. CPG manufacturers that are looking to target a specific audience (e.g., moms with kids in the household that also purchase organic products) can use rich data sets from third-party providers like IRI, Kantar Shopcom and Nielsen Catalina Solutions, or increasingly, second-party data through their retail partners, to identify the specific TV networks and dayparts where this audience indexes the highest. In doing so, advertisers will not only more efficiently reach their actual target consumer, but they can better allocate spend to the times of the day and week that are adjacent to prime shopping periods. Almost all major cable networks have enabled a data-driven capability, and Open AP — the consortium comprised of Fox, Turner, Viacom and NBCU — helps to ensure that the target segment definitions are consistent across their networks. 

Some early adopters have even been surprised to discover that using granular data for their linear TV buys led them to succeed with new dayparts, channels and programs. It’s not too far-fetched to imagine that these insights from TV can be combined with digital to create a more complete omnichannel picture of a CPG brand’s audience.

2.    Target Consumers At The Household Level Through Addressable TV to guarantee reach against the most valuable consumers. Similar to direct marketing strategies, advertisers can now deliver TV ads to the specific households that they want to reach via addressable TV. The question, to date, has been scale. Advertisers can collectively reach 68 million homes, well over half of TV households in the U.S., on addressable inventory, according to a recent eMarketer report.

To provide a CPG-specific example of addressable TV’s scale, let’s say a brand wants to target consumers looking for organic products. By overlaying data on consumers that have a propensity to buy natural or organic products, an advertiser can reach over 15 million homes across addressable TV platforms. Additionally, given the localized targeting capabilities inherent to addressable TV, marketers focusing on shopper marketing and other below-the-line activations can leverage TV to deliver ads with very specific calls-to-action that are designed to increase loyalty, launch new products and ultimately drive consumers into the store.  Just as with digital media across channels, addressable TV offers advertisers the opportunity to version creative, offer and message for a specific segment.

In addition, the way an advertiser approaches addressable TV will depend on their brand and their budget, according to Trace Rutland, Director of Media Innovation at Tyson Foods. “Reach is a very important factor for any, if not all advertisers, and the goals need to be clearly evaluated and defined ahead of time. For brands that haven’t reached household penetration, or for smaller brands with tight budgets, it might be more difficult. Any ad dollars being allocated to addressable TV campaigns will need to be maximized and optimized so that the ends justify the means. That’s not to say that it’s out of the question for a smaller brand; in fact, the opposite is true if a smaller brand has limited distribution and the ability to geo-target.” At the end of the day, it all comes down to understanding and measuring success accurately.

3.    Measure To Optimize. Tremendous strides have been made to better understand the impact of TV advertising on customer acquisition and sales. Cable operators, and more recently TV manufacturers, through Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) technology, make it possible for advertisers and measurement providers to understand viewership at the individual and household level. With the right partners and technology, viewership and exposure data can be integrated with transaction data, whether sales data or foot traffic from location-data providers, so that advertisers can tie specific actions to their TV campaign. In doing so, they will be able to identify the right frequency, marketing mix and message to most efficiently drive conversion, and use these insights to optimize future campaigns.

With TV becoming more data-driven and targeted, sophisticated marketers can finally integrate TV planning with other platforms to deliver consistent, omnichannel experiences.

Identity resolution, the ability to accurately identify individuals across platforms and data sets, is critical to this monumental shift towards truly omnichannel marketing. For CPG manufacturers, these targeted solutions require the expertise to identify, with confidence, a single individual within and across an advertiser CRM file or third-party data set, a cable operator’s subscriber file or a TV viewership data source, digital platforms and within a retailer loyalty program. Most importantly, it is critical to do this in a privacy-conscious and brand-safe manner that protects consumers, brands, and business partners, and provides meaningful value to all. Data onboarders are critical to enabling this ecosystem at scale.  

As the gap between above-the-line and below-the-line marketing strategies continues to narrow, CPG marketers stand to benefit greatly by changing the way they use TV advertising. If done well, they will achieve both scale and conversion by connecting with the audiences that are most important to their business in a manner that is both relevant and efficient.

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