What can we take from the FMCG marketing tool-kit and upcycle for better B2B outcomes?
Updated: Jan 3
Craft beer. Crafty pricing
When regular beer just isn’t good enough to smother your beer battered frozen fries, enter McCain who adds craft beer to the recipe. On trend, a little gourmet and the ability to craftily be a little more expensive?
FMCG’s winning model has sustained market dominance and delivered a 15% per year return to shareholders for the past 45 years (McKinsey).
Recently FMCG brands have needed to adapt. Slowing growth in key markets, a lack of agility, fending off supermarket home brands and fresh alternatives delivering more sustainable, healthier offers are all barriers. Unmistakably, FMCG is evolving.
What can we upcycle from FMCG and apply to B2B marketing?
Creating a premium.
Increased appreciation and therefore demand for craft and artisan production help differentiate products.
This can be achieved in many different ways:
Brand level e.g. origins of the company, tradition and values
Service level e.g. exceptional knowledge or pride in delivering regional support
Product level e.g. craft, accuracy, durability
It’s critical that customers and prospects understand whatever’s appropriate for your brand, product or service and additionally, that they’re given the information at the most motivating moments in their decision-making process. These considerations are just as relevant for RM Williams, a local cabinetmaker, or as we discovered, with Sussex taps, one of Australia’s last remaining manufactures of high-end tap ware (Crafted in Melbourne).
Relentless focus on innovation.
Whether it’s new or improved, a package design refresh or promotion; FMCG marketeers use every lever to maintain consumer engagement.
Re-packaging a service or product, tapping into key trends and building creative propositions can be equally as motivating in business markets, helping re-invigorate interest in your brand.
Consider the sustainability of your product and packaging. Wellbeing of staff. Even a more tenuous trend - such as the “I made it”. Tom Vierhile, Innovation Insights Director at GlobalData, highlights
“Nothing tastes as good, looks as good, or works as well as a product you helped create.”
In B2B markets, consider how we approach and position innovation, JV’s, strategic relationships or OEM – don’t underestimate the importance of involvement, culture and teamwork.
Previously in a role as Head of Product Innovation, we initiated a JV with Heineken to develop a beer quality test. This was very much a partnership, we had no idea if it was possible to technically create the product we had in mind, let alone practically do this in the real world. Both parties went into this with collaborative, curiosity, a desire to succeed and an acknowledgment that failure was ok.
Gold in the niche.
Mass FMCG brands are acquiring smaller, premium brands, with high value, niche audiences because they’re out-performing their more established counter parts. Whilst their big-sister brands often struggle with a lack of agility and brand limitations, opportunities are created for more nimble, creative alternatives to succeed.
Fresh thinking affords B2B brands the opportunity to differentiate themselves from the larger incumbents and build a reputation in niche markets before choosing to expand. Align your brand and value proposition with customers business challenges.
Dynamic, demand-based pricing.
FMCG pricing invariably focusses on demand variation. Pricing is differentiated, with promotion and rebate offers used to achieve optimal prices throughout the product lifecycle to maintain sales margin.
Whilst we’re increasingly seeing interactive pricing from retailers servicing business and consumer markets, many B2B organisations continue to work on contracted pricing, based on projected consumption or value. Consider interactive or differentiated pricing based on actual use, demand, or rebates that can be used for growth initiatives, rather than pricing discounts.
Crafty McCain, have you done it again?
The FMCG model is carved from religiously building brands, locking in channels to market, cultivating customers as incomes grow and nailing operational efficiency – key considerations for any marketeer whether in a b2b, b2c or increasingly those ‘straddling’ both markets.
Thinking differently affords us the opportunity to create something more interesting, with longer-term sustainable value.