Danone brands
Danone is to overhaul its insight offering to ‘shape shopper marketing around the customer’.

The yoghurt maker is using a customer insights tool, developed by Symphony EYC, to assess the performance of brands such as Activia and Actimel in-store based on promotional campaigns, distribution strategies and aisle positioning.

The insights gleaned from the data are being used to form bespoke shopper marketing programmes for supermarkets as part of wider efforts to create a “sense of better shopping” for customers on a site-by-site basis.

Danone claims the platform “opens the door for new ranges and wider appeal” by highlighting potential gaps in the category. It plans to use the tool to inform its wider marketing plan for next year, which focuses on pushing new consumption occasions for yoghurt.

Max Stricker, category management expert at Danone, says its marketers are now able to extract insights in a matter of hours where it previously took days to assess data from spreadsheets. Ultimately, the company wants to create a store environment that resembles the “personalised space” of Google where no one user receives the same search results, he adds.

FMCG brands such as Coca-Cola are using similar tools to gain an edge on their rivals and Danone hopes its own offering will help it outflank other yoghurt makers by providing a more balanced mix of value-driven and price-driven promotions.

Stricker says: “Rather than spend time collating data we can focus more on having conversations internally and with our retail partners on how to grow our brands. Danone is a yoghurt business but every retailer classifies yoghurt in a different way so its important we move away from the one-size fits all approach.

“If you go to Google you’re pushed ads that are relevant to you. The experience is totally shaped around the customer. It’s what we’re trying to recreate for shoppers while also doing what’s right for the retailer.”

Danone’s strategy comes amid a flurry of initiatives from dairy makers such as Arla and Dairy Crest created to get closer to retailers. The sector, which slashed prices post recession, has failed to drive volume sales through deep discounting and is seeking more creative tie-ups with supermarkets to woo shoppers.