Snack on this: General Mills triples engagement with data and AI.

General Mills takes action on data to tailor interactions and predict consumer favorites.

Time to read: 3.9 minutes

Shoppers have come to expect the familiar General Mills brands they see on grocery store shelves. But consumer experiences now extend far beyond store aisles — to shoppers’ phones, social media accounts, and everyday lives. Today, consumers want deeper connections with brands who know them personally.

Yet, building consumer relationships can be difficult for manufacturers who sell through grocery stores and other retailers.

Thanks to its multi-pronged data strategy and suite of digital platforms such as Box Tops for Education, Good Rewards, Betty Crocker, and Pillsbury, General Mills has many ways to understand consumer spending habits. Yet, the company needed better tools to leverage its data to reach consumers on a more personal level while maintaining privacy.

With the power of AI + Data + CRM, General Mills has a clearer picture of its consumer data and a connected marketing technology stack to tailor communications to the right audiences, building lasting relationships. Here’s how.


“The combination of AI, data, and CRM allows us to help a busy mom solve the 'what’s for dinner' dilemma with personalized recipe recommendations her family will love.”

Heather Conneran, Director, Brand Experience Platforms
Today, consumers expect companies to speak directly to them. General Mills uses AI + Data + CRM to make it happen at scale.

1. Triple consumer engagement using past purchase data to tailor emails and ads.

General Mills already had rich purchase and behavioral data from its online recipe sites and Box Tops for Education program. Capturing millions of recipe views and receipt scans, General Mills had the opportunity to connect and act on the data across digital platforms to recommend relevant content based on consumer food preferences, diet, geography, or household composition.

Now, all the purchase and loyalty program data it collects goes straight into Data Cloud. AI and automation help the company analyze the data, make one-to-one product and recipe recommendations, and predict an appropriate send schedule. General Mills can more accurately segment audiences and send relevant content through Marketing Cloud, like interactive quizzes or free samples based on past purchases or favorite recipes.

“Einstein AI does the heavy lifting to look at our audience and analyze the right email sending cadence,” said John Brandt, Marketing Technology Lead.

This has helped the company triple consumer engagement, increase known site users 170% year over year, and even save millions in paid media. Pillsbury and Betty Crocker brands have also experienced a 40% increase in “buy now” clicks in its user content.



increase in engagement



YoY increase in known users



in paid media savings



increase in “buy now” clicks


Set a course for your customer relationships.

Map every customer moment. In this in-depth guide, you’ll get:

  • Five sample customer journeys for growth, onboarding, engagement, retention, and support
  • Use cases from marketing leaders
  • Insights from the latest industry research

See the power of journeys.

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2. Use personalized content to engage schools and serve more communities.

For more than 20 years, participants of General Mills’ Box Tops for Education philanthropy program cut out and mailed in proofs of purchase by hand to raise money for their schools. Then in 2019, the company took the program digital with an app for conveniently scanning receipts for proof of purchase to earn cash for schools.

Despite an increase in app downloads, General Mills’ user engagement waned. Participants forgot to scan their receipts and onboarding school coordinators to the program was a challenge.

With guidance from Salesforce Professional Services, General Mills created marketing journeys for different types of program participants.

Now, if an app user hasn’t engaged in awhile, Marketing Cloud can:

  • Automatically remind them to keep earning for their school
  • Trigger a message in another channel like social or the app
  • Share more relevant content like product recommendations based on users’ app settings or selected school

School program coordinators are more connected, too, thanks to welcome journeys, educational guides, and promotions General Mills automatically sends when a school enrolls. Thousands of coordinators can easily access helpful resources in a portal powered by Experience Cloud to personalize the program for their school and promote it to their communities.


3. Improve retailer relationships with insightful analytics.

General Mills sells its products through major retailers like Target and Walmart. Having easy access to consumer purchase data gives sales teams market insights to share with retailers as a way to strengthen partnerships.

“Salesforce helps us combine the first-party data we acquire from consumers with second-party data from trading partners to unlock growth opportunities in the marketplace,” said Jaime Montemayor, Chief Digital and Technology Officer.

Going forward, extending Data Cloud insights to Consumer Goods Cloud will give field sales reps better visibility into seller account history, forecasting, and even maps to optimize their territories. These insights could lead to optimized shelf presence and promotions to the region and store.

Easier account management will also mean time savings and increased productivity for reps while on the road.

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