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Digital consumer engagement for CPG companies

Digital engagement complements the traditional sales channel, media, and trade spend, enabling firms to market directly to consumers.


Digital engagement complements the traditional sales channel, media, and trade spend, enabling firms to market directly to consumers, engaging them in their chosen channels, shortening the time and path to purchase, and simplifying fulfillment and consumer service.

In May 2014, Accenture commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the opportunity for CPG marketing leaders to market and sell directly to consumers. Forrester develop a quantitative survey to test the assertion that brands cannot deliver a relevant, effective consumer experience without also leveraging digital channels. They will have to engage consumers in a dialogue, serve up customized content and offers, and blur the distinction between marketing, sales, service, supply chain, and R&D in order to become consistently relevant and earn consumer loyalty.

Key Findings

Forrester’s study yielded four key findings:

  • CPG marketing professionals anticipate significant investment in digital marketing, multichannel integration, and digitally enabled innovation to target global consumer market segments, increasing consumer lifetime value and the number of “blockbuster” products.

  • More than three-quarters of CPG marketing professionals expect proportionately more growth in sales through their own digital channels than through those of eRetailers.

  • CPG professionals believe that digital transformation faces challenges from local legislation and from limited digital support for new product introduction.

  • Marketing and sales do not agree about impediments to direct-to-consumer selling. Marketing does not see the lack of internal integration across key functions or departments as an issue in the same way that sales does.

Results from in-depth surveys with 35 CPG marketing leaders at the C-level or VP level, and with 95 at the brand manager level, show that marketers are keenly aware of the threats and opportunities offered by digital transformation. While they have begun their transformation and anticipate accelerated innovation, along with increases in both consumer lifetime value and average order value (AOV), they perceive local cultural, legislation, and logistical barriers to the digital transformation of consumer engagement.


Forrester’s survey of marketing executives in CPG enterprises showed that marketing leaders sense that market drivers — such as globalization, consumer demand for customization, emerging market growth, and anytime/anywhere shopping — are prompting a shift from the importance of managing modern trade and selling through traditional retail chains toward more digital consumer engagement and selling. In order to increase consumer relevance and loyalty, CPG marketing leaders should evolve from analog marketing and sales to digital consumer engagement by:

  • Shortening the path to purchase

  • Stepping up to consumers’ personalization expectations

  • Adapting marketing, sales, and fulfillment channels to align with consumer behavior

  • Building support for direct-to-consumer marketing and selling throughout the wider enterprise