Experimenting for more efficiency - Strategic Brand Management

When we talk of the impact of technology, we too often mention high-tech companies. Should they continue with the traditional television spots promoting their Red Label ham slices? Are there not two worlds? Should we be asking ourselves whether the homemaker is really high-tech?

It is true that it is easy to escape into the technological dream and Silicon Valley. However, we need to recall that since 2003, Coca-Cola has reduced its television advertising investment by 10 per cent and brought a wholesale innovation in terms of media. Thus it competes with iTunes in Spain and in Britain with the mycokemusic.com website. Coca-Cola invests in the domain of video games, and product placement. Its media plan still follows its clients closely: the mobile phone has become the major point of contact.

Returning to Fleury Michon: if the penetration of its fresh, vacuum-packed ready cooked meals is 10 times less than that of its ham, should the company run television advertisements for those products? Would it not be better to be referenced on all the important female-oriented websites, or work on micro targets such as:

  • parents of students who do not have time to cook meals in their college rooms;
  • children of grandparents who no longer have the energy to cook their meals every day;
  • partners or spouses who are going away and wish to leave high-quality meal solutions;
  • singletons of all ages.

How can they be involved, induced to participate, affected? Nowadays market share is built through an aggregate of niches, of distinct groups. Technology has finally made it possible to reach these targeted groups at low cost. It is not a question of replacing 100 per cent of television advertising with a 0 per cent television budget from one day to the next: even Apple, the queen of Silicon Valley, has not done so. It is, however, time to experiment and see whether the returns on each euro invested are not better here than there.

For example, at Google, the 70/20/10 rule is used to describe three types of investment:

  • 70 per cent of investment relates to current pillar products, best-sellers, in order to strengthen them;
  • 20 per cent relates to experiments to test new ways of marketing, and promote these products along the way, due to technological progress: this is a matter of seeking efficiency;
  • 10 per cent is spent on projects that have no relation to current business.

Coca-Cola has been reducing the share of television investment in its marketing budget for some time. Since television is no longer the preferred medium of young people, but has been replaced by the mobile phone, it is necessary to adapt and to test other modes of communication. Coca-Cola is constantly experimenting: in Spain and Britain it has launched mycokemusic.com, in competition with iTunes, thanks to an alliance with a major player in the telephony sector. Coca- Cola has also invested in space in video games, product placement, proximity events and street marketing, in addition to its B52s of sports and music sponsorship.

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