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In a recent article, L'Oréal Chief Marketing Officer Marie Gulin-Merle attributed her company’s “digital transformation” to a focus on storytelling and personalized digital experiences, but also to the power of customer segmentation.
As consumers, employees, students, and Fitbit-wearing human beings, we are being provided with more and more information every day about ourselves and how we benchmark against others—seemingly to no avail. We all know why: Data alone is never enough. But I have been obsessing about how data, in combination with an individual’s own interpretation of, or story about, that data, has the potential to unlock significant personal growth and societal change.
In 2007, when food giant Nestlé purchased Gerber for $5.5 billion, the company controlled 81% of the US baby food market. Founded in 1928, Gerber essentially created the market when Dorothy and Dan Gerber developed a process for mass producing strained peas at the family’s canning company.
But just a decade after its purchase by Nestle, Gerber’s market share has fallen to about 60%. Startup brands like Plum Organics and Ella’s Kitchen, now both owned by larger Gerber competitors, have gained market share by promoting healthy and organic offerings. What’s more, the amount of baby food sold has declined, as more and more parents prepare their own pureed foods at home, thanks to new devices that make it easier than ever to do so.
In response to these trends, Gerber decided to undertake a two-year, comprehensive brand overhaul. "It's not like launching a campaign that normally takes us three months to do,” Alberto Hernandez, Gerber’s VP of integrated communications, told Ad Age. “This is basically about changing everything we do."
Just as organizations realized, over four decades ago, that a deep understanding of brand could provide significant financial value to organizations, so it is with customer experience planning today. Recent studies by Gartner, Forrester, and Maritz all indicate the leading organizations are more than doubling their investment in understanding and planning their customer experiences compared to the previous five-year period.