How Packaging Data Can Inform Marketing Strategy
Today, brands and products have less time than ever to prove their relevance. Retailers have compressed the window for products to prove themselves and will trade out shelf space quickly based on new product launches that might sell better. The shopping experience has been disrupted as never before by technology. Packaging has always been an important factor in the consumer decision-making process, but in today’s competitive market, a product’s packaging strategy is more important than ever.
Traditionally, packaging has operated in a silo, separating package design from other marketing efforts. But let’s imagine a new way of going to market. In the standard packaging supplier relationship, the new product campaign is close to final when the packaging supplier enters the relationship with marketing, and its role is simply to review a few specifications. However, what if the packaging supplier was brought in as a true partner early in the marketing strategy planning process and data was used to shape decisions?
When a marketing team brings the packaging design process in at the planning stage, a packaging expert can help to inform the campaign with data sets about consumer behavior at the point of purchase. This allows for faster, more accurate iteration of package designs that merge market data with packaging best practices and technology. Brand owners have the challenge of launching new products to revitalize a brand or break into an adjacent consumer category. The packaging partner may be able to help streamline the overall process and offer innovative ideas.
Let’s look at an example to illustrate the impact packaging consumer data can have. A new product is releasing, aimed at the senior and baby boomer demographics, rather than Generation X and millennials. Knowing this and understanding the target audience allows a packaging team to make some key decisions early on in the process. For instance, QuadPackaging research shows seniors and boomers prefer easy-open packaging that's also easily resealed. Therefore, in our design phase, the product’s packaging team should focus not only on providing easy open/reseal packaging, but also making this feature prominent on the front face of the package so that it's easily seen while sitting on the shelf.
To take this a step further, when the product’s marketing team understands that these features are valued by the target demographic, it creates an opportunity to incorporate the easy open/reseal feature into the product messaging. This feature now becomes part of an overarching multichannel campaign that informs advertising, online imagery and overall brand message. This early collaboration and interpretation of data helps all the teams for a product launch come together to work smarter and faster than ever before.
In this example, leveraging a single data point influences a number of strategic decisions related to the product’s marketing approach. Just imagine the impact that can be made when full sets of data insights are implemented. Each data point that's shared has the potential to make an entire product launch more successful.
Combining multiple data points can be even more powerful, allowing teams to shorten product launch calendars and maximize peak selling windows. For example, a packaging partner could help a marketing team use regional and micro-regional data in package design to optimize personalization in the customer experience.
Once established, the impact of these point-of-sale consumer engagements can pay off long term as well as short term — customer loyalty can play a critical role in shopping habits.
New packaging technology in print allows brands to regionalize and target market experiences as never before. Retailers can work with their packaging suppliers to base their product launch calendars by regional data and adjust quickly to trends picked up by loyalty programs and coupon usage. This allows brand owners an option to be more nimble and course-correct quickly in regions where sales are lagging and campaigns aren't reaching maximum impact.
Today, data is more and more available, sometimes in amounts that seem overwhelming. Future success will not only be determined by access to data, but smarter and faster interpretation of it. When consumer data sets from packaging are brought to marketing in the planning stage, along with a packaging professional who knows how to apply that data to enhance a product’s consumer reach, it can pay dividends for product sales.
Paul Nowak is the senior director of sales strategy and business development at QuadPackaging, a provider of collaborative end-to-end packaging solutions.