Taking Customers Cereally

Our friend Adam looks forward to visiting us in New England in late June because for a brief time the stars align to make The Triple Treasure a breakfast possibility. The homemade concoction mixes three cereals (whatever's on the shelf) with freshly picked strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Bland, cross-country shipped berries won't cut it either; fresh berries are the linchpin.

All this came to mind recently when we heard some CRM news from General Mills. The Minneapolis-based food giant has begun testing a new consumer program and website that lets people create their own cereal blends and mixes. MyCereal (www.mycereal.com) is now restricted to a group of testers who can mix General Mills favorites, such as Cheerios, Chex and Kix, with dried fruit and nuts, and order the custom blend online. With General Mills' vast array of cereals and add-ins, the possible combinations exceed 1 million, says Greg Zimprich, a senior PR manager at General Mills.

Consider the possibilities: Count Chocula, Cocoa Puffs and Nesquik cereals together. Or mix Frankenberry, Trix, Kaboom and Lucky Charms!

Once a tester picks her blend, General Mills assembles it using a secret process and ships one serving that arrives two to four days later. The price runs $1 per serving. "We hope to gain valuable consumer insight into trends in taste and health and nutrition patterns, [while] evaluating the effectiveness of a variety of different marketing levers," Zimprich says.

So far General Mills hasn't set a date for wider availability of the program, so it looks like we're still on our own for The Triple Treasure.

This story, "Taking Customers Cereally" was originally published by CIO.

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