How Smart Data Visualization Tools Make CPG Analysts Better

Robert Esquivel

by Robert Esquivel

May 24, 2019

Bedrock Key Takeaways

The following types of visualizations can help analysts parse and articulate complex data sets:

  1. Topline reports and presentations can be augmented with compelling visual aids.
  2. Weekly promotional charts can be automated using saved visualizations.
  3. Automated visualizations augment final reports & decrease time spent on category reviews.
  4. Consumption review assembly time can be decreased from days to minutes.
  5. Product outliers and product ranking visualizations organize competitive data into digestible formats.

Why Data Visualization Matters

In today’s CPG industry, manufacturers need reliable market data and actionable insights to grow and thrive. While syndicated data providers have largely resolved data access issues, extracting insights from this data remains a significant challenge. Insight generation requires analysts to parse and articulate data sets that are becoming increasingly complex.

We’ve written extensively about how understanding CPG data can support your business. Now we’ll take a closer look specifically at the Bedrock Analytics platform, and how it simplifies data analysis using visualization tools. With these tools, the time it takes analysts to find key insights and generate stories is greatly reduced.

Augmenting Your Topline

The topline report is a snapshot of how your business is doing versus competitors and the category across several metrics. This is the famous “dashboard” of the CPG industry.

Topline growth is one of the most important performance indicators for CPG manufacturers, so it’s crucial to have detailed, up-to-date measurements. Most category managers spend approximately three business days every month working on topline reports, so at Bedrock, one of our priorities is to make these reports more impactful.

Our platform allows users to augment topline reports on a product or market level. Through our dashboard, you can customize and edit metrics, nest toplines by hierarchy, visualize growth in top ten categories, and much more.

Weekly Promotion Evaluation

Managing and evaluating the impact of promotions is an ongoing task for most analysts and category managers. Without a visualization solution like Bedrock, analysts have to convert raw sales data into promotional bump charts that summarize potential growth. These evaluations are typically conducted on a weekly basis, which has analysts spending two to three business days on this task every month.

Bedrock’s visualization tools can augment those promotional evaluations, which lets analysts focus on insights and opportunities. Bump charts can be created and customized instantly from existing datasets, helping quickly measure and capitalize on any gains.

Category Review

There are approximately 25 major retail chains in the United States. Analysts must generate one category review per year for each. These comprehensive documents each take approximately two to three weeks to design, and must be exhaustively comprehensive, since they project annual product category growth and competition within the market.

Bedrock offers several tools for augmenting these reports. Our platform has built-in templates for the following, easy-to-understand visualizations that can be used to highlight key insights:

  • Period Comparison: Compares brand performance within a specific channel.
  • Product Comparison: Compares your brand total versus your competitors, and showcases category growth.
  • Market Comparison: Compares brand performance within a particular region.
  • Product Multi Metric Comparison: Compares best performing items against competitive products with velocity and ACV.
  • Weekly Promotion Visualization: Showcases how a brand performs week-by-week when on promotion versus off promotion.
  • Product Opportunity Gap: Forecasts your future sales based on historical sales data.

Each of these visualizations can be saved, customized, and automated for ease of use during future category reviews. What’s more, they’re immensely useful visual aids for any sales presentations, anytime of the year.

Consumption Reviews

Consumption reviews, Also known as POS reviews, are easily one of the most frequent reports a CPG analyst will produce. CPG brands need monthly updates on how their products are faring against competitors — be it by region, or channel, or top market. Furthermore, consumption reviews allow a team to see how they’re performing against KPIs. Without visualization tools, these tasks easily consume four business days every month.

Much like topline reports, analysts can benefit from Bedrock’s streamlined consumption review analytics. Bedrock’s consumption review feature can reduce the time spent on these reports from three days to 20 minutes — freeing your time for higher-level tasks and objectives.

Finding Competitive Analysis

Differentiating your own products from those of competitors is a key element of any sales deck, presentation, and category review. Traditionally, about two days of category review design are required to collect and analyze how your product fares against other brands in the same market. As a manufacturer, you want to quickly spot any product outliers that will help you identify weak items to target, or new category opportunities to pursue.

Bedrock’s product outlier and product ranking visualizations let analysts quickly and efficiently organize competitive data into a digestible format. This visualization puts all items into a scatter plot that identifies strong and weak items — which is helpful because it allows you to see how your price performs versus your velocity.

As we’ve previously written, generating reports should not be the lone goal of CPG data analysis. Sales teams do need the insights represented in these reports to leverage new opportunities and stand out from the competition, but as the CPG industry becomes increasingly data focused, far more time is spent on reports than on searching for insights that inform strategy and impact a brand’s growth.

The Bedrock Analytics platform restores this balance, helping your team focus on the priorities that help your organization grow.