Philippe Cantet was GM of Innocent in France before founding the FMCG product discovery and mobile media app, Shopmium in 2011. We talked to him about the challenges facing the brand & shopper marketing teams at FMCGs and how mobile can address them.
Q: What are the main challenges in taking a product to market?
Philippe Cantet: The main reason a product fails is not that it is bad, but that consumers haven’t tried it. Getting consumers to try your product is the name of the game in consumer goods. A supermarket might have 60,000 products on its shelves so you have to fight to be noticed. You can do all the right things, create the right marketing mix – but then you have to make sure that consumers can discover the product. This is the #1 challenge.
Q. What are the key ways a Brand can get ‘discovered’ and trialed by consumers?
PC: If you are a big player, you invest millions in media campaigns, convince Retailers to stock your product – and take the risk that the product gets shifted. For brands with smaller budgets, experiential sampling often plays a key role but it is a very slow, and labour-intensive process – I know, as it was a big pain point when we launched Innocent in France! Firstly, the store must agree to host the promotion; then the manager has to order enough stock to make it work. Then you have to train your ambassadors to go to each store in turn – and trust that they are reliable and will turn up on time and perform well. At the time, I was scratching my head and thinking, “There has to be a better, more efficient way of doing this.”
Q. Does a product discovery mobile app address Millennials that have turned away from traditional media?
PC: I think it’s a big part of the solution. Product discovery is not in competition with other marketing activities – this is not about cancelling TV ads but reaching out to a different set of consumers that can’t be reached via traditional investments. Product discovery drives consumers to brands they previously didn’t know about – two thirds of those that redeem a Shopmium offer are actually new to the brand.
Q. Do you think that recent heavy criticism of mobile advertising is justified?
PC: To some extent. Mobile advertising is broken – mobile ad formats are too small to create real engagement or are very intrusive: you click on a link and a full screen opens – which is very annoying.
From the brand perspective, executives are playing darts with a blindfold on – it is unlikely to be successful and can actually be dangerous! Every brand knows that it needs to move to mobile but there is no way to connect value to the media: you can buy the space but you leave the consumer with no clear call to action. You have to trust that they are going to go to the store and buy the product but there is no way of tracking this and so the ROI is very poor.
A smarter approach is to wrap advertising into a service – the subscriber opens the app and decides to be exposed to the advertising material. It’s not just about throwing content at consumers.
Q. How does Shopmium address the ROI issue for brands?
PC: By connecting mobile advertising with a mobile coupon, you generate the engagement, drive people to the store to then buy the product. And, after they have made the purchase, many consumers go back to the app to give feedback. So, it’s very easy to understand the ROI on a conceptual level – this is really closing the loop for brand advertising on mobile devices.
Q. How important is consumer feedback to the overall product discovery proposition?
PC: Actually, I would say that this is a key factor – 50% of those that buy a product via Shopmium go back to the app to give feedback. This means brands can get feedback from thousands of consumers within only a few days of launch, something that is almost unique to the product discovery platform.
Q. This almost sounds like Life Cycle Management for new product launch?
PC: Yes, product discovery is about more than just promotion – it generates engagement that drives measurable sales and post-purchase feedback – and offers a unique platform for a very important slice of consumers. It provides a service all along the funnel – from engagement through trial to post-purchase feedback and re-purchase – and this couldn’t previously be done in one place. Brands rely on media for engagement, but that stops the minute they turn off the TV. Promotion would start in the store but is not strongly connected to the media spend. And post-purchase is a separate thing again. With a product discovery app, all of these things are connected and integrated and it’s a much more efficient approach.
Q. Has the introduction of product discovery been a learning curve for brand managers?
PC: The investments brands have made in this channel were driven by the fact that they would learn about mobile advertising through their engagement with it. Because we brought a comprehensive campaign plan complete with post-purchase data, brand managers realised that this would help them grow their understanding of the space.
And we continue to work with our brand partners on every launch: for example, it is important that there is real effort around the creative execution – so it doesn’t look like promotion but has the production qualities of advertising. Also we make sure that the coupon is strong – we know that consumers weren’t necessary planning to buy this product so we have to make it worth their while to do so.
Quotient Technology (formerly Coupons.com) is a leading digital promotions and media platform that connects FMCG brands, retailers and consumers. We have recently launched Shopmium in the UK, a mobile-first proposition that enables FMCG brands to win on mobile. Give me a call on +44 (0) 208 865 1999 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author
European Sales Director
Passionate about promotions. I have over 15 years’ experience of thinking up, selling in, creating and delivering promotional campaigns and strategies right across the world in multiple industries. Although my focus now is on the FMCG...Read more
+ 44 (0) 20 8 865 1999