How CPGs are Gaining the Analytics Advantage

The accelerating tech landscape has made it difficult for consumer goods companies to keep their analytics systems competitive and determine how to prioritize new investments amidst a plethora of growing options. To help CG’s make smarter analytics development decisions, we sponsored CGT and RIS’s 2018 Retail and Consumer Goods Analytics Study in conjunction with our sponsorship of the Retail & Consumer Goods Analytics Summit. The study confirmed what many already know to be true–both retailers and CG companies are struggling to build analytics toolsets that can support the cost transparency, programmatic planning and personalized consumer engagement required to optimize agility and effectively compete in an increasingly agile market.

The good news is that retail and CG executives agree on the steps that must be taken to overcome challenges and implement not just the right technology systems, but the right organization to manage and support. These steps start with crafting a clearly articulated analytics strategy and putting in place the proper staff and governance to lead. Next, comes integrating an enterprise-wide analytics toolset that offers the flexibility to integrate data from multiple internal and external sources. But beyond these three core guiding steps, four other, more specific levers of analytics development success were identified:

Establish a Center of Excellence

What sets the most successful analytics programs apart is their commitment to integrating a defined analytics strategy across all facets of the organization and creating a shared center of excellence governed by this strategy.  Currently, only 16% of CPGs have established centers of excellence and 32% of retailers feel they still have a long way to go toward establishing a single shared data source. Often referred to as a “CoE,” a center of excellence serves as a central hub of data intelligence that brings analytics from different department silos together to provide a more holistic picture. In giving business leaders a more complete data view, insights can be generated that support business-wide goals as opposed to function-specific. This is what defines the leaders from the laggards. Those with less mature programs manage their data in separate departments, using different systems, and different standards. Many are even still using spreadsheets and manually trying to connect the data dots. Those with more mature analytics capabilities leverage a centralized platform managed by a shared set of guidelines for how data is to be accessed, interpreted and utilized. When all functions are working off the same data insights and applying the same strategy, a data-driven culture and in turn, data-driven business infrastructure, is enabled.

Build & Expand Cloud Architecture

Another key finding of the report is that retailers and CG’s are developing cloud-based infrastructures to support their analytics software systems. 49% of CPGs have made cloud infrastructure their next-gen analytics priority and 61% of CPGs have already fully moved to the cloud. Migration to the cloud is an essential component because it speeds software system deployment and  updates, lowers software operating and maintenance costs, and creates a real-time, single version of truth. A cloud approach to storing and analyzing product and customer data is essential to creating an analytics center of excellence.

Prioritize Customer-Centric Analytics

While most companies know what’s needed to architect and implement a strong analytics strategy, deciding on what area to focus on in a time of strapped financial resource can be a challenge.  The study found that while CPGs are effectively leveraging advanced analytics for supply chain related functions, such as demand forecasting, inventory management and space planning, marketing and promotional related activities are falling behind. While retailers are increasingly using predictive and prescriptive analytics for in-store activities, promotions, and marketing spend, CPGs still have only basic promotional analytics (37%) and basic customer insights (45%). CG companies are committed to changing this reality though, with 36% ranking customer and promotional insights their top areas of analytics focus. The obstacle to developing these insights has long been retailers’ unwillingness to share data, but this seems to be gradually changing. 40% of retailers are now willing to regularly share promotional performance data, which is a huge jump from the past. Still, 28% cite that they would never share and others are beginning to use data as a negotiation chip or revenue source, rather than a collaborative tool to create new and better in-store programs with. The CPGs that have been able to effectively forge collaborative data exchange between their retail partners have focused on creating win-win retail marketing programs with transparent success metrics and reporting in place.

Invest in Data Virtualization Software

As CPGs work to advance analytics across in-store, promotions, marketing spend, customer insights, and personalization, they are investing in specific software to support their efforts. 68% are planning to invest in data virtualization/dashboards and 48% enterprise BI/reporting tools. As a leading provider of these tools, we know this to be true. Global to mid-sized companies are increasingly turning to our analytics-driven platform solutions to give them real-time intelligence into evolving marketing budgets, customer programs and in-store activity. They are using these systems to support data-driven commercial marketing management, aligning real-time spending and performance data with intuitive planning tools that convert insights into executions.

In an increasingly complex marketplace where sales channels, marketing strategies and consumer expectations are in constant flux, analytics offers the decision-making agility needed to survive. The race is on to see who can adopt the latest tools to gain the analytics advantage. Companies looking for a commercial analytics toolkit to support agile shopper marketing management can count on Cierant for the rapid deployment and cloud-driven flexiblility they need. To learn more about our shopper marketing analytics solutions, please call 203-731-3555 or email inquiries@cierant.com to request information.

 

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