Sample Marketing Paper on FMCG Digital Marketing: A Case Study of the Coca-Cola Company

Introduction

Digital media has transformed marketing everywhere, especially in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry. Traditional marketing approaches that relied heavily on the right mix of 4Ps (Product, Place, Price, and Promotion) to target and influence consumer’s decisions are becoming less effective with the digital revolution. Today, buyers are making decisions differently, and thus, there is a need to change strategies meant to influence this process. A modern consumer is more exposed to the screens of their laptops and phones than they are to traditional communication channels such as billboards, televisions, magazines, radios, and newspapers (Jackson & Ahuja 2016). Additionally, a growing number of consumers are opting to shop for FMCG online than visit a physical store. A study conducted by Google and Bain & Co. predicts that more than $11 billion of sales in the FMCG sector for hygiene and beauty products will be conducted online by 2020 (Jain 2016). This figure presents more than 60% of the total sales of $17 billion expected in the hygiene and beauty industry by 2020. This data indicates that online retailing is growing rapidly and there is a need for organizations to embrace this new channel in order to compete. Companies that ignore digital marketing will see their profits decline as more consumers shift to ordering and purchasing products online.

Online and digital marketing channels offer many advantages to businesses, which cannot be harnessed using traditional approaches (Kapferer 2012). Digital channels provide entrepreneurs with easy access to different markets. Companies can target a large number of customers using a single channel of communication (Freeman et al. 2014). Internet methods of marketing are quick and can reach many potential customers in a short time. Social media marketing using tools such as Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn has made it possible to target audience online (Jackson & Ahuja 2016). Through these channels, it is possible to do direct advertising and create brand awareness among target consumers (Christodoulides 2009). Advertisements are more accessible to the target audience at any place and any time when using online methods. Digital media has no time or place limitation (Solomon, Russell-Bennett, & Previte 2012). The perpetual display of the brand image can help to improve awareness. One of the most important aspects of digital advertisement is the ability to broadcast the message internationally and expand them across geographical boundaries. Digital marketing is cheaper and cost-effective than traditional channels such as banners, magazines, radio and television (Armstrong, Adam, Denize, & Kotler, 2014). Digital marketing provides an opportunity for retailers to direct its customers on how to purchase online (Kapferer 2012). Online stores are becoming popular as consumers continue to seek for convenience when purchasing FMCG. However, with increasing competition online, businesses need to master the right strategy in order to stand out. FMCG companies need to find a way of integrating the traditional 4Ps marketing mix into the new channels of communication. There is a need to develop holistic FMCG digital strategy that both influences the consumers and engage them. As one of the biggest multinational corporations, and one of the most effective companies in digital marketing, Coca-Cola provides a good case study for examining how social media can be used to engage consumers and increase sales online.

Section 2: Engagement Theory and the Use of Social Media as a Digital Marketing Tool

Consumer engagement has attracted considerable attention in recent marketing literal work (Dessart, Veloutsou & Morgan-Thomas 2015). The consumer engagement finds its roots from the early concept of relationship marketing. It offers a further understanding of the theories of the brand and consumer relationships. This concept explains the experiential and interactive nature of relationships between brands, but it is not limited to purchase situations only. The concept has a wider application to include the whole of buyers’ decision-making process. Through engagement, consumers portray behaviors that transcend the traditional expectations. An engaged customer is a royal one, and more likely to recommend their friends (Jackson & Ahuja 2016). From a pragmatic perspective, an engaged consumer base is becoming the goal of many marketing initiatives. Research has shown a positive association between customer engagement and improved performance of the brand. These outcomes are driving further research to explain the relationships between customer engagement and brand awareness.

Social networking channels have attracted a lot of interest as tools for enhancing consumer engagement (West, Ford & Ibrahim 2015). Social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter offer a new way of connecting brands and consumers. Social media engagement offers opportunities for organizations to build long-term relationships with their customers. Organizations can use social networks to build a unique customer experience. A study by Social Sprout indicates that customers are increasingly using social media channels to engage brands (York 2017). The attached Appendix A indicates that about 34.5% of consumers use social media to contact customer care. Emails, live chats and store contacts lag behind the use of social media channels. This observation indicates the importance of digital marketing for customer engagement for companies.

Section 3: How the Coca-Cola Company uses Social Media as a Digital Marketing Tool

The Coca-Cola Company is an American manufacturer, marketer, and retailer of non-alcoholic beverages. The company produces a syrup concentrate and sells it to various franchised bottlers in the world. In addition, it has acquired companies such as Minute Maid, Barq’s, Thums Up, Fuze Beverage, Odwalla, ZICO, Suja Life and Honest Tea. In the United Kingdom, the company operates under the Coca-Cola European Partners PLC. Some of the notable products marketed by Coca-Cola are Coke, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Fanta, Sprite, Ciel, Dasani, SmartWater, Simply Orange, Minute Maid, and Honest Tea (Hepburn 2017). The attached Appendix B shows some of the products manufactured and marketed by Coca-Cola. The company uses digital media to encourage conversations about its brand. It uses multiple digital channels to disseminated marketing materials that are engaging, relevant and viral. One of the most elaborate and viral digital campaigns that Coca-Cola has ever conducted was during the London Summer Olympics in 2012. The “Move to the Beat” campaign generated more than 112 million impressions online over the world. The vision of the London Organising Committee for Olympic Games (LOCOG) was to make the games inspire the youth. The Coca-Cola Company aligned its marketing message with this vision by trying to bring the youth close to the Olympic Games. The Company created digital content that has relevance globally and forged an emotional connection with the audience (Hepburn 2017). The company made the movement central to its brand message to align itself with the commitment to promoting active and healthy lifestyles. The strategy of digital marketing adopted by the company was to harness the passion of teens through music. The “Move to the Beat” campaign was meant to appeal to the global youth audience while allowing for local integration and adaptation. The content was shareable across different digital platforms, and this strategy ensured its longevity. Artists such as Katy B and Mark Ronson performed the music against the background of the Olympic stadium (Hepburn 2017). The campaign movement got a lot mentions in blogs and on Twitter. All digital media engagements by the company have followed similar trends.

The use of creative and cohesive content across all its communication channels has made Coca-Cola be one of the most revered brands in the world (Shively 2014). Its logo (shown in Appendix C) is recognizable across the world. The company has millions of followers on Twitter and posts more than 60 Tweets a day on average. The tweets attract thousands of engagements and create more than a billion of impressions in a month. The company runs campaigns on digital content to engage its audience. The company posts viral content to encourage its audience to share its posts (Shively 2014). This engagement makes customers feel part of the brand and becomes advocates of the firm. Appendix D shows an extract of a Tweet that was made by Coca-Cola (2014). Appendix D also shows that Coca-Cola is directly engaged with its audience by replying to their questions and comments. The company uses this strategy to provide service to its customers as well as to show some love. This direct engagement strategy has been very successful for the company (Shively 2014). The retailer also engages influencers such as Ryan Seacrest in promoting brand engagements (Shively 2014). Through its Twitter presence and engagement, the firm sends a message of inclusion to all its customers. On Tumblr, Coca-Cola is still one of the best storytelling brands (Shively 2014). The company uses animations and cartoons to create a sense of fun online. Apart from promotions, the company shares with its audience random images to keep the followers happy and engaged.

Section 4: Recommendations for Improving Social Media Engagement at Coca-Cola

The Coca-Cola Company has managed to attract countless conversations online through its social media engagements. Its brand inspires a moment of happiness and optimism. It applies the same concept across all its messaging and traditional communication channels. The consistent of its brand image across all the communication channels has enabled the company to create a lasting image in the consumers. Despite its presence on social media channels, the company has not focused on mobile marketing. The use of mobile messaging apps will help the company reach a wider audience. Smartphones have become commonplace in all parts of the world. Organizations should make use of mobile technology such as interactive apps to engage their customers more. Through such apps, it is possible to introduce personalized incentives that promote engagement.

 

Reference List

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