How a social engagement program has helped Barilla's bottom line

Pasta and sauce maker shares how customer advocacy through social channels is helping the brand's success

Getting to know your consumers can better can be a difficult challenge for FMCG companies, with no real chance to engage in anything more than a one-sided conversation in the lead-up to and during the sales process.

Pasta and sauce maker, Barilla, has tackled this challenge head-on with a social engagement program that is identifying and engaging directly with customers to uncover insights and build advocacy, in conjunction with social media agency, Digivizer.

According to Barilla’s marketing manager, Carly King, this is a big step forward from what the company was doing when she joined six years ago.

“We were traditionally using mass media to drive awareness,” she said. “The messages from that are based on research, but they are very inward looking.

“For the past couple of years, we have been working with Digivizer and really listening to how consumers talk about our brand and the general product of pasta, pasta sauce, cooking and so on, and getting a better understanding of those consumers.”

The relationship came together in 2015 when Barilla was launching a new range of gluten-free pasta. Digivizer was engaged to listen in to social conversations and identify the most relevant and influential people to connect with.

King said the exercise quickly uncovered previously unknown insights from gluten-free buyers.

“The thing that we hadn’t taken on-board was they were saying they didn’t have to cook a separate meal any more, and could feed it to their family and they’d never guess it was gluten free,” she said. “We were able to take that insight and put it into the broader digital advertising, which we then pushed out about six months after launch.”

The results were clearly reflected in the sales performance of the new line.

“In the 12 months on the market, in one retail channel we achieved 13 per cent of the market, which is significant,” King said.

The social listening platform has also helped Barilla respond to any issues, even when the conversation is not specifically directed to the company. While it continues to use focus groups, this is now mostly for finessing advertising content.

King said she is revelling in the opportunity to be closer to her customers, and this has enabled her to optimise her media spend.

“We are still a challenger brand in this market, so part of the job to be done is still driving awareness,” she. “But we have reduced our spend on TV in favour of being present in digital.”

Barilla’s share of voice in social has also produced data that has been useful in negotiation with its distribution partners.

“From a marketing perspective I can talk to their people about how we leverage off each other,” King said.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Top tips to uncovering consumer insights for business innovation

An in-depth understanding of consumers sits at the heart of what we all need to do, but we know it’s not always easy to uncover insights that will unlock a true innovation opportunity.

Matt Whale

Managing director, How To Impact

Is your customer experience program suffering bright shiny object syndrome?

You may have heard of ‘bright shiny object syndrome’. The term is used to describe new initiatives undertaken by organisations that either lack a strategic approach, or suffer from a failure to effectively implement.

Leveraging technology to stand out in the sea of sameness

The technology I'm talking about here is data and marketing automation. Current digital marketing methodology, much as it is practiced at Bluewolf, dictates the need for a strategy that does four things: Finds the right audience, uses the right channel, delivers the right content, and does all of that at the right time.

Eric Berridge

CEO and co-founder of Bluewolf, an IBM Company

Lead Management is very important part of the process. For anyone running Facebook Lead Ads I would recommend using this service.Get your...

Dirk Lo

How this fintech startup is improving content marketing and lead generation

Read more

I am agreeing with Mr. Tyron Hayes that a measured test-and-learn approach could be missing opportunities to not only better engage custo...

rush essay reviews

CMO interview: How Curtin University’s marketing chief is using test and learn to cope with complexity

Read more

Excellent!

Dr Sadasivan,US

Shakespeare shows data and creativity aren’t Montagues and Capulets

Read more

Great article! Agreed with all... Matthew Lerner, Deeps De Silva... When a company has a great product that solves customers needs, a gre...

James Tyler

Why marketers are embracing growth hacking techniques

Read more

Very good article, Social media analytics helps in problem identification. They can serve as an early warning system for negative custome...

BizVinu

Four ways to use social media to boost customer loyalty

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in