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How real-time data is guiding FMCG marketers amid COVID-19

Businesses worldwide have faced unprecedented disruption as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak in recent months, and while many FMCG brands saw a surge in demand for products at the height of the pandemic in Australia, now that stockpiling has eased, marketing managers are facing uncharted territory.

Purchasing decisions are still being heavily influenced by COVID as the constant threat of the virus hangs overhead and brands are struggling to get hold of up-to-the-minute data to guide campaigns.

Australian creative agency, Optimo Designs, has made a positive step forward in offering marketers data and insights into consumer behaviour as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds.

The company has been granted exclusive rights to a leading global technology platform, Black Swan Data.  

Using Artificial Intelligence, Black Swan Data unlocks millions of real-time discussions online across social, review and blogging platforms, to predict the future needs and wants of consumers in the snacking and non-alcoholic beverages categories.

“Everyday millions of us share our needs, wants, frustrations and desires on social media, blogs, reviews and forums. The always-on data platform ingests these real-time, publicly available conversations from a variety of data sources,” explained Chelsea Parkinson, managing director at Optimo Designs.

“Our Trend Prediction Value (TPV) algorithm analyses each trend’s maturity and calculates its future growth potential based on historic category data. This helps brands determine which trends will matter most to its consumers.”

Parkinson said the system is “miles away” from the traditional approach of consumer focus groups and surveys that so many brands rely on.

Black Swan Data reports fortnightly on the impact of COVID-19 on the Snacking and Non-Alcoholic Beverages categories, and Parkinson said it is surprising how quickly consumer trends can change. 

“Take for example the push in recent years around recycling, waste and plastics. This is still important, but the Black Swan Data shows not nearly as much in consumer’s minds at present. Also, pre-COVID we saw plant-based products and the expedient rise of veganism but in recent months this trend has been in steady decline,” Parkinson said. 

While it’s still early days in navigating the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on FMCG, Parkinson said it’s important that brands tap into insights to better understand the ever-changing marketplace.

“Ensure you have real insight driven campaigns and messaging,” Parkinson said. “Don’t go dark, your consumers still want to hear from your brand but in a way which relates to them at this moment. It’s important to understand what are short-term trends and what are longer term, more meaningful trends in consumer behaviour.”

To find out more about Black Swan Data, click here.

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