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General Mills sees mobile couponing as key to growth

General Mills is putting mobile couponing at heart of the marketing strategies for brands such as Haagen Das and Old el Paso as part of a plan to integrate the burgeoning channel further into its digital marketing mix.

Food manufacturer says mobile drive will strike the between driving sales and amplifying fan engagement.

The decision follows the food manufacturer’s trial of a cashback mobile couponing scheme for its Jus-Rol baking brand. General Mills has partnered with online platform Shopitize to support the trial after identifying mobile as a key channel for boosting sales.

The company has trialled with couponing schemes in the past but says it has “held back” from using them more prominently until now because it had no way of tracking redemption rates in-store. Shoppers who purchase Jus-Rol products through the Shopitize app are rewarded with up to 50p cashback either by Paypal or by cheque. Brands including Kellogg’s, Red Bull and Coca-Cola are also using the service.

Mark Brown, marketing manager for General Mills’ baking division told Marketing Week: “We’ve never done anything on a really mass scale before and I think it will be an interest test. We can look at what and where customers are using the coupons and be more confident about including them into the marketing campaigns for our brands. We’re able to use the insight we get to go and tell shoppers about other promotions through personalised campaigns. We’ll look to launch other mobile ventures throughout the year.

“We’re in the very early stages of how we try to be more targeted with our digital marketing and through the coupon scheme we’re looking to really strike a balance between driving sales and engagement through the channel.”

Additionally, the brand is looking to launch recipe apps and more mobile-specific campaigns for its brands.

Brown says: “ We need to develop as quickly as we can within the mobile space because it can be a cost-effective medium for marketers when used properly. We’re planning to integrate mobile more than we’ve ever done before in our big campaigns later this year.”

Food brands are investing in a raft of mobile initiatives planned to boost sales. Lindt is looking to launch an m-commerce platform later this year, while Mondelez is planning to create a number of standalone companies to develop mobile marketing products.