Mark: Welcome to Family First: The Wild World of Marketing to Parents. My name is Mark Giovino, CEO and founder at the Allionce Group
I’d like to welcome Miguel Zorrilla to this episode of Family First. Miguel has impressive experience leading marketing at some of the most popular CPG brands, including Snickers, Twix, Milky Way, and Three Musketeers during his time at Mars, and most recently Butterfinger and now Kinder Joy as a part of the Ferrero portfolio.
He is widely considered a rising superstar in marketing, and it’s not hard to imagine him someday as a CMO leading some of the brands we all know and love. Miguel, thanks for joining me!
Miguel: Thanks for having me, Mark, appreciate the time!
Miguel: You know, I just wanna first start and say I appreciate the way you phrased it in terms of marketing to parents, because I do want to underscore that at Ferrero, we really do strictly focus our efforts on marketing to adults that really have the purchasing power and the decision making. We, as a business, we are really industry leaders in responsible marketing and advertising.
So we’re committed not to market to children. So I just wanted to recognize you for phrasing in that way. With that being said, when we talk about challenges, and if I had to pick one particular trend that we’re watching closely, it’s really about the increasing importance of what we’re calling the extended family and the extended caregivers.
So marketers used to have to simply, for lack of a better term, reach mom. And the job would be done. But now there’s so many roles within the family with purchasing power and decision making. Obviously dads who tend now to have in be even more involved into the kids’ lives. But also we have extended family members that are taking more of a caregiving role, aunts, uncles, grandparents. So it’s definitely more of a challenge to find the ways to engage with such a wider range of different people with different roles in bringing up kids. So that’s the challenge we have as marketers. How do we reach that new family environment and those new caregivers that are expanding beyond mom and even beyond Dad.
Miguel: I think it really is about ensuring that you have the right communication strategy. So starting with a strong communication strategy, focusing on the target audience that you’re looking for, holding true to your brand identity and looking for those unique ways to first prioritize mom and dad, but then look to what are those ways that you can relevantly and efficiently extend those audience and those targets to those extended caregivers. Whether it’s through your media buy or through more experiential activations being more in-person and using influencers as well.
Miguel: I would say it’s not, “versus” for me, it’s an “and” so you need both. You need to have an impactful digital program, but also an impactful physical experience to be successful in reaching the audience. I believe, especially in this day and age, brands are really being built and developed through the digital ecosystem, but also within the in-person immersions. So you wanna really properly engage with them, really earning that brand love through those different mediums.
I would say now influencers play a major role within marketing mixes and these influencers are really using the digital environment as their microphone. And now with that, it really helps us as brands reach those audience specifically, you know, parents. For a brand like Kinder Joy, in person really is the opportunity to provide a very unique connection to the brand and because you’re entering into a place where they want to be and you’re really driving relevancy and ultimately that connection and love. I’ll use an example that I’m currently working through, with Kinder Joy. We’re launching NBA Mascot Toys. So it’s a partnership with the NBA. We have some of the NBA mascot toys within this new collection that has just started to hit shelves, and we’re bringing that idea of digital and influencers as well in the experiential environment. So we’re working with influencers to really share that fandom and highlight those collections to moms and dads.
But we’re also partnering with the Knicks and really activating in a relevant way at one of the local Knick’s games in the tri-state area and in New York City in their next generation game, which ties back also very authentically to the initiative that we have around marketing to the next generation of families and the next generation of NBA fans.
So again, when you find those moments of relevant interaction and environment, that is a way to really connect authentically with your consumer base.
Miguel: 100%. You know, complimentary, but also how can you use one to elevate and influence the other?
Miguel: The biggest thing that we have done as a brand recently is we created a new mobile app called Applaydu. And Applaydu was really our way of re-imagining the moment of connection between parents and children. So Applaydu is an app that brings our Kinder Joys toys to life in this augmented reality. It’s a completely free app and it’s what we call an edutainment playing experience, really honing in on that fun. But also education and it’s created for the whole family and really about focusing on that bonding time.
So even if you haven’t purchased a Kinder Joy egg, the app is still free for parents and kids to engage with. It’s really meant for a free environment for parents and kids to engage and interact and bond. And the added benefit is if you have a Kinder Joy toy, they actually come to life in this augmented reality.
Miguel: As marketers, we know data is king. What we obviously look at all stats, IRI data, Nielsen data, click through, and it’s super important and critical for our business. But what I would say is, as equal to, if not more important, is to connect directly with consumers and with your target audience consistently. So here at Kinder, we actually assembled what we call the Kinder Community of Moms, which is a panel of parents that we really check in with to gut check and get some inspiration on, and also get some direction on some of the thoughts and perspectives and provocations that we have based on innovations or marketing campaigns. So it’s really important to connect directly and hear that qualitative perspective from your consumer base.
Miguel: I’ll use an example of the brand that I was just recently on under the Ferrero portfolio. During my time on Butterfinger, we were really successful in engaging with the gaming community through content, authentic community management, and really exciting, relevant programs.
I would say what I really learned about building out that program is that there’s so many different ways and to connect with people and there’s so many different ways to connect with gamers and how gamers are socializing. So many families, moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents are using, gaining as a means of connection and they’re really showing they’re making connections through their love of gaming. And I think that’s a great opportunity for brands to really find out, okay, where is those moments that you can find authentic connection and really lean in in an authentic way? And you know, this idea of subcultures and finding that subculture that your brand can break through and make a meaningful connection.
Miguel: I would say we have a very robust communication strategy and we leverage all mediums, tv, digital, social, influencers. I think influencers are really important, especially now to really drive that message in an authentic way, and we use all of those mediums to reinforce our family bonding. Through the treat the toy, and most importantly, that one of a kind surprise effect. So we really use these mediums to elevate the proposition and the greater experience that Kinder Joy provides that parent and child.
So when a family opens a Kinder Joy egg, they’re surprised, and it’s that excitement that they have when they find one of over a hundred toys that we refresh on a yearly basis. So we use these mediums to really be the amplifier of that total proposition.
Miguel: I would say this is a very tried and true tactic for many marketers. We run several marketing mix models throughout the year and on an annual basis. We use these marketing mix models to really understand the channels that are delivering the strongest ROI for us. And then with that, we say, okay, of the ones that are receiving the highest returns, we leverage that to rebalance our mix year over year. It’s really leveraging that data to influence our marketing mix.
Miguel: I mentioned the Butterfinger example around gaming and that is a bigger passion point and it’s about ensuring that we’re allowing those passion points as the anchor for the bonding.
So I used Butterfinger and gaming as example. I’ll use Kinder Joy. We do leverage passion points such as sports and I mentioned the NBA partnership, music and movies. I’ll use movies as well. We most recently executed a license deal with Avatar. We’ve done partnerships with Minions and Jurassic.
We really see using movies as the example, as another avenue for family bonding. There are several universal areas when it comes to really driving interest and even the next generation of family bonding. So it’s really using those bigger platforms of sports, gaming, music, and movies to reinforce. How those can meet anchors and connection points to that family bonding experience.
Miguel: As with pretty much all or most companies right now, inflation has had an impact. As we saw through the worst of the pandemic, Americans really do turn to treats as an affordable pick me up or for special moments. So far the data on our brands and the industry as a whole really suggests that our consumer behavior will continue as the country works through some of these economic uncertainties.
So working in confectionary, we definitely see that there’s a behavior that we will manage through from really finding that treats really being that affordable pick me up for consumers.
Miguel: Reach and impressions, they’re super important. They’re critical KPIs when setting up a campaign. But I would say what we also prioritize is engagement and engagement with our content. For me, engagement is really important to really showcase. It really showcases that consumers are adopting the brand love and lifestyles associated with our brand that we’re looking to execute. So engagement is really another critical priority metric that we look at.
Miguel: I think engagement showcases some of those outputs of those softer metrics. If folks are engaging you would hope they’re engaging in a positive way. Some of those more brand love metrics and sentiments would be an output from there.
Miguel: The biggest advice I always give people is leverage your network. Really understand to leverage your network, to understand your consumers which can be as intentional as research and panels for sure, but can also be discussing and listening to family members, friends and their children to really keep up on the culture. It’s really about always staying curious about what people are feeling, needing and wanting, which will really make the work of a marketer and stronger and elevated.
Miguel: Thank you!