UNILEVER BESTFOODS: CO-CRM IS THE ANSWER

CHICAGO -- Co-CRM is one of the consumer packaged goods industry's biggest growth opportunities, according to Lisa Klauser, vice president, integrated marketing, Unilever Bestfoods North America.While Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based UBF-NA partners with retailers for joint Customer Relationship Management programs, more members of the industry need to do the same, said Klauser.Since both parties have

CHICAGO -- Co-CRM is one of the consumer packaged goods industry's biggest growth opportunities, according to Lisa Klauser, vice president, integrated marketing, Unilever Bestfoods North America.

While Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based UBF-NA partners with retailers for joint Customer Relationship Management programs, more members of the industry need to do the same, said Klauser.

Since both parties have different levels of experience and expertise, partnerships can help build both sides of the business, according to Klauser.

"When you take the time to make partnerships work, there is opportunity to drive [consumer] loyalty," Klauser said at the Promotion Marketing Association's annual conference, held here last month.

As an example, Klauser pointed to the company's efforts with Albertsons' Jewel/Osco division and other supermarket retailers for its Lipton Side Dishes and "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" brand.

Under both efforts, UBF-NA leveraged retailer frequent-shopper data to uncover insights about what certain consumers want, and then delivered marketing messages to meet those needs.

The focus of the "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" program was to increase loyalty among the brand's most valuable consumers. Key to the effort was "Kitchen Insider," a series of direct-mail pieces aimed at helping moms prepare dinners. Consumer feedback showed that 50% of targeted consumers recalled receiving the mailing; and 71% reported being "extremely" or "very" interested in receiving ongoing communications.

The goal of the Lipton program was to communicate brand usage ideas to help increase retention among heavy users. The result was a direct-mail piece called "Lipton On Your Side."

More recently, UBF-NA is working with the Kroger Co., Cincinnati, in a co-CRM program called "Home Basics," a series of 20-page brochures targeting most valuable consumers of a cross section of UBF-NA food and health and beauty care brands, Klauser told SN. Similar programs are also available to other retailers.

Successful co-CRM requires a change of attitude on the part of retailers and manufacturers, she said. Manufacturers, for instance, need to move away from allocating all marketing dollars evenly across all consumers. Instead, they should focus more on CRM and using retailer databases to build categories and drive share.

Retailers, meanwhile, need to re-examine how they use their valuable frequent-shopper databases.

"For retailers, it can't be about using the database as a profit center. If that's the mind-set, retailers will never be able to strike the right relationship with manufacturers," Klauser stressed.