ConAgra Puts Its CRM and DMP Data In Play For Hunt’s Tomatoes

Heather-Dumford-ConAgraTo reach the diverse purchasers of Hunt’s Tomatoes with the message that would best resonate with them, ConAgra looked to its customer data.

ConAgra – which owns the brand –created dozens of messages targeting dozens of consumer segments for a campaign that ran from September through early March.

The goal was to move away from blasting out the same message to everyone, and it was the first time ConAgra had used data in such a sophisticated way.

“We are going from the approach of one consumer, one message, and analytics that happens annually, to doing things on a more dynamic basis,” said Heather Dumford, ConAgra’s global media marketing director who oversaw the campaign. Dumford’s team pulled data from ConAgra’s CRM systems and started organizing it via its data management platform (DMP).

“[We] segmented out our audience to an almost endless amount of combinations and defined the most motivating content for them in a few buckets,” she said.

That meant that someone who went to ConAgra’s sites and looked up Italian recipes would receive one using Hunt’s Tomatoes, for example. Others – depending on their segment and behavior – got Hunt’s sustainability message, noting how the company uses steam instead of chemicals to peel its canned tomatoes, and how it offers organic products. ConAgra sequenced messages so customers could see both.

“It’s really the combination of messages,” Dumford said. “It’s not just about getting to the one message that’s best.” For instance, just because a targeted message performs well doesn’t mean ConAgra should amp it up, because that message may not be relevant to a broader set of consumers.

ConAgra doesn’t share the ROI figures for its campaigns, but it’s already planning to make some changes because of the results.

First, its theory that native ads work better on mobile proved correct.

“Those small standard ads on mobile are not that impactful,” Dumford said. “That’s one big learning that we are applying everywhere.”

It also plans to expand the amount of creative it uses in future campaigns. Because the Hunt’s campaign was a success, ConAgra will “translate [it] to other brands,” Dumford said.

ConAgra is big on transparency in contract negotiations and campaign oversight. To monitor programmatic spend, ConAgra’s programmatic team can log in to company dashboards.

Activating a targeted campaign requires ConAgra to take an active role in the management of its data. It owns the relationship and contract it has with its DMP partner, which gives it more control over its data.

Because of its focus on wrangling data and using it to learn more about its customers, ConAgra dislikes walled gardens. For targeted campaigns like Hunt’s to continue, ConAgra needs to be able to collect data and measure how its consumers react to the targeted messaging.

“We are trying to rally the industry around opening walled gardens,” Dumford said. “The right data to the right consumer can’t work if you have the black holes in analytics and measurement.”

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