Will Awareness Equate to Dollars?


By Viktor Arzethauser, Senior Account Manager

So you’re in the planning stages of an exciting new product launch. Research & Development have spent the past 5 years developing an innovative new product and now it’s time to build a 360 marketing campaign concentrating on awareness. Or is it?

Awareness can be a subjective term and is thrown around all too often as a KPI for CPG. Sure, you want your target demo to know all about your sexy new offering, but is just knowing about it really enough? Will they even care? While likes and shares look great on a client report, what weight do they really carry when it comes time to actually move product off the shelves?

Awareness is just the first phase of the consumer journey, so why not focus on the end goal, the mecca of CPG – the shopping cart.  Now I’m not saying awareness doesn’t have its place, but awareness for awareness sake is missing the mark and a somewhat irresponsible use of resources and budget. From its core, the marketing strategy should work in tandem with the sales strategy and “awareness” campaigns should engage consumers in a way that feeds the sales funnel.

Krave Jerky mobile sampling in Vancouver, British Columbia (November 2016)

As marketers, I think we often miss this point and may ideate evocative, beautiful and even award-winning campaigns, but if the sales aren’t there to back up the product, it may not live to see the shelves of next year and the budget allocated for your campaign will be diverted elsewhere in the next fiscal. In this regard, it behooves us to think like sales people and filter the data through the eyes of a marketer.

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with the GM of one of Toronto’s most prolific mid-sized agencies. Over the past few years they’ve acquired a number of smaller boutique shops with competencies ranging from packaging design to shopper marketing, in order to offer clients a complete 360 sales strategy, not just one-off marketing campaigns. Her biggest challenge right now is increasing the connectivity between the various departments in order to create all-encompassing strategies that utilize every facet of the business. While obviously beneficial to the agency, clients also see the benefit to their businesses as it offers an holistic approach to developing strategies that engage consumers at every touchpoint throughout the sales journey.

Product sampling for LCBO at TURF festival (September 2016)

Obviously not all agencies have the luxury of a robust menu of competencies, but often there are additional resources at your disposal, you need only ask. While you may be working with your clients’ marketing department, why not get input from the sales, R&D or other pertinent teams as well? Maybe there is something in their long-term sales plan or research done during product development that offers an insight that may completely change the focus of your strategy, which will in turn help you create a successful campaign.

At the end of the day, a collaborative effort will almost always trump a siloed attempt. I will admit that there are times when you’ll run into a “too many cooks in the kitchen” situation, but if navigated correctly, the input of an eclectic team towards one goal will create something that will put real dollars into your clients’ pockets which will then, in turn, end up in yours.

Nordstrom experiential campaign to promote store opening (August – November 2016)

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