Digital marketing has been used effectively by many brands, but can it help sell more soup?

Campbell Soup Company, which sells more than $7 billion of soup and related food products each year, is going to find out.

The company, in an effort to combat negative sales trends, told attendees at its annual investor day that it will allocate 40% of its media budget to digital in 2016. That's a significant increase from the 20% it devotes to digital today. 

What's more: Campbell's says that it will pull back from television entirely for some of its brands.

One of the reasons Campbell's is confident about investing close to half of the $300-plus million it spends annually on digital is that it is increasingly comfortable with digital. "We have a level confidence now of what is working," Mark Alexander, the president of the Campbell's Americas simple meals and beverages division, explained. "We are ready to really advance that."

Another reason Campbell's is likely shifting from television to digital is cost. As AdAge's E.J. Schultz points out, as brands have developed their digital marketing chops, digital is increasingly seen as being more effective and less costly. 

As Campbell's CEO Denise Morrison told investors and analysts:

We are moving away from brand marketing to brand experience, where we earn consumer's trust instead of buying it.

Strategy and product are crucial

Campbell's isn't just increasing dollars spent on digital brand experiences, however.

It is implementing a master-brand strategy to market its soups, and updating its products to ensure that they meet the needs of consumers, many of whom are more health conscious and interested in the ingredients in their food.

Both could be crucial to realizing the type of return Campbell's is hoping to see from its digital shift. After all, digital marketing can't perform miracles.

As companies up their digital investments, they should remember that digital is very competitive, and consumers can be unforgiving online.

It's hard to build effective digital campaigns without a solid brand strategy, and great products and services are the foundation of great digital brand experiences.

Patricio Robles

Published 24 July, 2015 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (3)

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will b, digital at la

The bottom line is the product, who wants to eat food from a can anymore?
Does any of the 3 products above look appealing? (No).

almost 3 years ago

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Mark Robinson, Digital Strategist at Zest Digital

I agree with the above post - certainly in the UK there has been a massive shift toward fresh soups with companies like Covent Garden Soup Co previously dominating the space but supermarket own brands have quickly followed. Businesses like Innocent seem to be diversifying and entering the space too. Perhaps its time for Campbells to follow suit?

over 2 years ago

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Konrad Markham, Freelance Digital Marketer at Self Employed

I think there will always be a segment of the soup market that are happy with soup in a can, but agree it is a shrinking market. Digital is absolutely a great way to engage with that niche group. It is a huge if slow shift in allocating a greater share of the marketing budget to digital for an organisation as conservative as Campbell's.

over 2 years ago

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