CPG product innovations are packing even more benefits and features into each new offering. In just the past five years, there has been a 40% increase in the average number of benefits hyped across product messaging vehicles. Touting an average of eight benefits per product certainly can help products compete across occasions and blur traditional category boundaries but can also result in consumer confusion and dilute messages.
A few years ago, product launches focused on convenience made possible through technological advances, packaging benefits, etc. Consumers wanted more results with less effort and looked for new products to make that possible. Innovative products performed double duty by being strong and working fast, by being indulgent yet fitting within a healthy lifestyle, and even Greek yogurt brought more protein to yogurt eaters and opened up more uses for yogurt as an ingredient into other recipes.
New Becoming the Norm
Convenience benefits soon came to be expected, giving way to a health focus that also was tasked with performing double duty. Products were challenged to do more – such as fit with an on-the-go lifestyle and be healthy or be effective and sensory pleasing. In many ways, convenience moved to a cost-of-entry and differentiation had to exist at more of a sensory or experiential level. The number of benefits required to deliver against consumer needs was increasing yet consumers were still looking to simplify how they interact with products.
In the past two years, the pace of new CPG introductions has slowed by an average of 5% per year as the challenge to address consumer demands is growing even harder. A push to focus on superior performance be it pro-strength, restaurant quality at home, simplest ingredients, or an elevated sensory experience has pushed products to deliver more. Past platforms continue to move into cost-of-entry areas whether it is convenience or an isolated health focus as consumers continue to push for ‘more and better’ yet ‘simple and convenient.’ Consumers expect products to have the baseline benefits so your communication should focus primarily on the points of difference that truly drive distinction.
Implications for Marketers
For marketers, that impact should be to follow the consumer lead that less is more. For consumers, less means less time to spend on habitual tasks, less effort for products to fit in their lives, and fewer products needed to solve their problems. For marketers, this means to be laser focused on the key benefit that will drive interest trusting that consumers recognize the baseline benefits are already being met. In other words, it is not necessary to communicate all 8-10 benefits a product may have but just the key benefits that make your product standout. CPG marketers can take cues from technology communication, for example, when Apple doesn’t focus on every new feature of the next iPhone launch but just the one that will get people interested and talking about the product. From a consumer standpoint, yes your product is convenient, but how does it better address my needs that current products do not deliver – that is where the focal point should lie.