How ConAgra Links Shopper Marketing Data With Media

conagraConAgra Foods, owner of brands like Healthy Choice and Orville Redenbacher, is blending offline shopper data with household addressability to deepen brand awareness.

While consumer brand strategies have always leveraged purchase histories and loyalty-card intel, marketers have gotten increasingly sophisticated with cross-device targeting and re-targeting at the household level, said Bob Hall, VP of platform at YuMe.

CPG marketers are trying to link shopping cart data to media, especially as customers increasingly consume mobile and video content. ConAgra is now matching in-store sales data down to the Universal Product Code level on some 70 million households via Nielsen Catalina Solutions and fusing that with device-specific actions through YuMe’s multiscreen video platform.

Although the goal is usually to increase brand affinity, CPGs also want real-time optimization, which includes using data to increase or limit frequency of exposures.

Heather Dumford, media director, global marketing at ConAgra spoke with AdExchanger about the CPG’s developing cross-device strategy.

AdExchanger: How are you appropriating dollars to digital video? Is it an extension of your TV buy?

HEATHER DUMFORD: Three years ago, we saw how consumers were moving and we began shaving off television into digital video across all screens and approached it more broadly. As the space has evolved, we have started to approach it on a brand-by-brand and consumer profile standpoint. We look at the habits from a media usage basis for each of our targets and apply that learning to determine the right investment in each screen. We see it as fluid because not all consumers are created equal. If you focus (too much on one channel) you may not reach your consumer in the best way.

What are your objectives?

We always look for ways to find our exact target. If we know consumers who make up most of our sales are the ones that are in a certain category or have a certain purchase dynamic, then we want to make sure we are reaching them at the right level and excluding waste, if possible. We’ve been able to do that through digital for a number of years, whether it was Yahoo Consumer Direct back in the day or all of the various players out there today.

We’re also able to do that in television through addressable and when partners are coming to us with digital video, it’s something we want to look at as well. We’ve been moving more toward digital video and it’s just been really effective for us. We are in the process of launching the first multi-screen video campaign with YuMe. We want to drive efficient and effective volume with the medium. We utilize multiple (data) partners, so Datalogix is somebody we’ve used for several campaigns and Nielsen Catalina, too, is… on the playing field [now]. We look at it as a test-and-learn of multiple providers and we’d love to see more convergence so we’d be able to use multiple providers for one campaign.

What’s one of the challenges in multiscreen planning?

We are looking at all the over-the-top boxes and doing everything we can to use that data to target. We have done a lot more in the addressable space in using purchase data to do addressable television, which is proving to be something we want to continue testing out, if all the parties involved play nice. For instance, perhaps DirecTV has a relationship with one specific data provider, but they won’t open that up because they’ve built these proprietary relationships, which can really create hurdles for us as advertisers to get the maximum reach against the right target. And programmatic is certainly something we are fleshing out better and trying to get to this point of multiple targets, multiple messages and mixing those to create the best driver of in-store sales. So we’re using some of the newer tools to see in-flight the in-store sales impact and optimizing, as opposed to waiting until the end of a campaign to find out the plan’s actual volume impact.

So programmatic is helping you become more real-time.

It’s a very interesting space and is the buzzy thing everyone is talking about. From the buying standpoint, it definitely drives efficiencies. I definitely think the biggest challenge there is… viewability. With programmatic, you bid on inventory and you don’t know if that inventory is actually viewable until after the fact, so that’s a challenge, but we’re working through it. Then there’s programmatic that really involves multiple creative versioning, which I think really lets you take advantage of programmatic in the fullest way. I think that’s where we’re starting to evolve, but we’re not fully there yet.

We talked about the technology, but can you touch on your media outfit? Are you working with an external agency of record while maintaining in-house specialties?

We have an agency of record when it comes to media and we definitely consider them an extension of our team. We really haven’t pulled more in-house. We have an entire marketing division within our company [that we built five or six years ago] and a brands division, which is responsible for P&L and innovation when it comes to product and all that. We’re the ones who have groups of expertise in different areas of marketing. For about six years, we’ve been fairly consistent with what we’ve done in house vs. out of house from a media standpoint, but from a creative standpoint, it depends on the area. For our bigger, splashier campaigns whether it’s TV, print or what I would call traditional digital campaigns – those we have agency partners for. But when it comes to content that’s more in the social space, that’s something we’ve brought more in house in the last year or so.


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