Interview Series: How executives can remedy brand challenges in 2022 and beyond

Sampler's Chief Revenue Officer, Garret Kowalyshyn, sits down to discuss the biggest pain points and opportunities for FMCG brands right now.

Read the full interview below:

What are the biggest challenges you’re hearing clients have been facing this year?

I would say many of our clients are really feeling the macroeconomic pressures that we've all been hearing about and reading about in all of the media outlets. Marketing budgets are under tremendous pressure. Things like cost of raw materials, fuel, transportation, labor is all costing a lot more, which obviously puts a ton of pressure on the bottom line for all of our clients. Every dollar that they look to invest in some sort of marketing effort has to produce at least $2 in value. But ultimately, their objective is really the same. It's all about how they can use whatever limited budget they have to drive broad awareness and trial of their brands and their products with the consumers that really represent the biggest opportunity for their brand. I think the other thing we've been hearing a lot about is just how the media landscape continues to be fragmented. It's harder, and oftentimes more expensive for brands to drive the appropriate reach resonance and reaction for all of their marketing strategies and tactics.

How have those evolved throughout the year?

I think that the macroeconomic pressures have definitely become more significant than they were in the past. It's really just forcing everyone to take a hard look at their marketing mix, take a look at all of the areas where they're investing in some form of brand building support, and ensuring that it's producing the same or more value, essentially, for the overall business. Like I said, every dollar has to work harder than it ever did before. I think gone are the days of the old copy, paste, rinse, and repeat marketing plans that have existed for many years.

What are the client's top priorities you’re hearing this year? How about next?

I would say many of our clients are really starting to get serious about developing more personalized one-to-one communication with consumers—in other words, email marketing. I think we've all been hearing about how third party cookies are going to be going away at some point in the future. Even with some of the recent iOS changes, it's just digital ads are just more expensive and don't produce the same results that they once did. I think email marketing is going to become a much, much, much bigger initiative for many of our consumer packaged goods clients. If you think about it, these sort of one to one remarketing or email marketing efforts really need to be powered by first-party declared data.

Many of our clients are behind, they don't have a clear acquisition strategy. Even if they do, they don't necessarily know what to do yet with all of this first party data that they're capturing. One of the things that we believe here at Sampler is that a tried and true tactic like sampling can not only help a consumer touch, taste, feel, and experience a brand, but can also capture email address and a ton of first party data from that consumer around their interests, behaviors and demographics. Again, all while getting that consumer to actually experience the product firsthand.

Do you think priorities will change for brands in 2023?

I don't know that they're necessarily going to change in 2023, but I think that they're only going to continue to increase in importance. I think many of our clients are dealing with a lot of changes that happened during the pandemic. The shift from offline to online experiences and needing to figure out what that means for them and for their respective brands. For most categories, the pandemic caused a permanent shift in consumer behavior. How do you just make sense of that? To give you an example, for many of our beauty clients and a lot of beauty brands, the whole experience was happening in a store environment. Consumers would go in, they would pick up that skin care or that cosmetic item, they would try it, and they would see if that shade looked good on their skin.

Once the pandemic happened, those weren't possible. Or even if they were, consumers broadly aren't necessarily comfortable with that. A lot of these beauty brands are implementing virtual reality technology, virtual try-ons—things that consumers can do in the comfort of their own homes. I think many of these technologies are only going to continue to increase in importance. How do you actually get consumers to sample a product physically once they've used some of those different experiences? I do very much think that many of our clients are going to be looking to create these omnichannel experiences going forward. Figuring out how you connect with the consumer at the right time, in the right way, given that there's been a huge merge in offline and online.


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