How do manufacturers with limited resources choose between two promising growth opportunities? Here are a few ways data visualization tools can help.

How CPG Brands Find The Biggest Growth Opportunities For New Products

Maya Blackburn

by Maya Blackburn

November 1, 2019

Bedrock’s Key Takeaways

  1. Don’t shoot for the moon by unrealistically targeting major retail chains. Seek out growth opportunities that will help you realize achievable business goals.
  2. Growth opportunities take many forms. Your brand can seek out new retail accounts, store counts, expand within an established category, and more.
  3. Bedrock Analytics offers both product and market opportunity gap visualizations to help you maximize return on distribution gains.

How Can a CPG Brand Find the Best Growth Opportunities?

Brands big or small always have an annual goal to “increase ACV.” Gaining distribution, while a common term within CPG, could mean a number of different things. Most of the time this means a salesperson or an analyst needs to use available sales data to find and capitalize on the most valuable opportunities for growth. Starting new accounts or expanding your presence within a current category costs time and money, so while it would be great to get yourself on every shelf in America, it’s important to have some sort of strategy behind it. 

So how can emerging CPG brands identify the best growth opportunities buried within syndicated or retail portal data?

Visualize Your Most Important Growth Opportunities

In the CPG industry, capitalizing on any opportunity for growth is ultimately about gaining distribution. But what does that really mean? Maybe that means doubling up on facings, or increasing store counts — ultimately your goal is to get more products on more shelves.

And while it would be great to have every SKU in every store in America, it’s just not feasible. 

Manufacturers need to quickly understand the value of each opportunity so they can select the optimal strategy — they need to analyze which shelf gives them the best bang for their buck while closing an ACV gap. 

Using visualization software like Bedrock, there are quick and easy ways to determine market and product opportunity gaps based on current velocities. This tool helps our clients quickly track any existing distribution voids to measure the highest ROI.

Use visuals and table to communicate these opportunities to your buyers — you’re in this together after all! Showing them where the opportunities are to grow together can help build continued relationships with your retailers.

Big Fish, Little Fish

In addition to keeping an eye on your velocity across different retailers, it’s important to focus on shares within the category. Viewing competitive shares across multiple markets helps identify each product’s contribution to the category, in addition to finding where competitors are the strongest. 

You’ll need to ask yourself, are you a little fish in a big pond — with opportunity to grow within the category? Or are you a big fish in a small pond — being a category leader, but not having much room to grow? There’s no wrong answer here, as long as you’re familiar with where you swim.

The critical detail to remember is that, as an emerging brand, you're not necessarily targeting customers — you're targeting retailers. Your holiday sales pitch is a data-backed argument for convincing retailers to grant premium shelf space for your product. Buyers will be far less interested in your brand story or the characteristics of your product than in sales velocity and dollar sales per point of distribution. When pitching a new account, take particular note of any distribution voids that would be a good fit for their customers.

There are many different ways to visualize shares across markets and products. A crowd favorite tends to be the waterfall chart — simple visualization that shows the % share of each selected product, brand, or manufacturer within a specific market. Another option is a stack chart — an easy way to visualize where markets are generating their business from. It can also be flipped within the same format to show which markets each brand generates their business from. 

The key is convincing your buyer that, if they take on more of your items and help you gain distribution, you will in turn help them grow their category — ultimately making them and the retailer more money.

Act on Growth Opportunities as Soon as Possible

The CPG industry is an increasingly fast-paced field — trends emerge and fade away in a short timespan. That’s why it’s so important to act on growth opportunities as quickly as possible. Business intelligence and data visualization tools like Bedrock can help by highlighting growth opportunities and emerging trends across markets and channels, including dozens of visuals to help you and your buyer understand shares and share growth opportunity within the category.