Too Much Data, Too Little Time
Our CEO and Co-Founder, Will Salcido, was recently featured in Total Retail to discuss one of the biggest challenges facing CPG brands today – Too much data, too little time. Read the full article here: https://www.mytotalretail.com/article/too-much-data-too-little-time
Today’s consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs) are fighting an unwinnable battle: too much data and not enough people or resources to get to actionable insights at scale. The tipping point is here. The complexity and innovation of consumer goods has made growth harder to gain than in the past. Traditional analysis models can’t deliver the growth they once did, and the CPGs who want to win will need to be in lockstep with the right data and analytics strategy that will drive growth.
The massive amounts of sales data available through syndicated providers and retail portals is becoming a herculean task to mine it all without help. Analyst or not, without a business intelligence tool to help extract meaningful insights and capitalize on the data, sales teams are left scrambling to combine multiple data sets to measure what stakeholders ultimately demand – a cohesive view of performance and insight into category growth.
The Gap in How Data is Supplied
The organizations that collect, curate, and sell CPG market data offer increasingly distinct syndicated data. Depending on the package, the data can come weekly, or monthly. The truth is, each of these syndicators have gaps in their coverage. They all pay for exclusive access to data from different retailers, which unfortunately causes their CPG customers to deal with retail data coverage gaps.
To overcome these gaps, many CPG manufacturers get data from multiple sources, but that creates another challenge: comparing different data vendors’ datasets with categories, labels and data that doesn’t line up. When this happens, the CPG company can either ignore the differences, or invest in unifying the datasets, a complicated process that can require significant time and resources.
Harmonizing product and market data across data sources will become table stakes for CPGs in the near future. With the help of AI and machine learning, CPG brands large and small will find it possible to not only harmonize data for analysis, but present the findings and highlight the deeper insights that will resonate best with sales teams and buyers.
Access For All
Too often, the people who access these data platforms are not the ones presenting the insights. If the CPG brand is lucky, it’s their analyst going into somewhat of a data-dumping ground, trying to interpret what the sales team will need for their presentation. There’s a disconnect between the analyst and salesperson, siloed from one another, without clear direction on what they’re evaluating and extracting.
The manufacturer’s sales team has unique requirements and goals to deliver results with the analysis and make custom presentations through product and category insights. Category managers & analysts, however, don’t always know the nuances that the sales team has, such as which buyer prefers charts to graphs or what metrics they really want to see or what pain points the retail buyer is dealing with across their stores & category.
Analysts tend to follow a more academic approach when analyzing data. Yet a sales person is usually looking to find a fact-based selling story that will back up their sales plans. The back and forth iterations between sales and analytics teams are inefficient, and end up causing frustration on both sides.
Bridging the Gap: Analyst Findings and Why They Matter
It’s easy for analysts to spend too much time downloading data, creating pivot tables, and generating reports that fail to generate actionable insights. Actually, they spend roughly 80% of their time on generalized reporting tasks, like pulling datasets from syndicated sources, extracting the necessary metrics, and translating them into a presentable format in areas such as:
- Brand and item ranking reports
- Market Share reports
- Locating Distribution Voids
- Bump Charts tracking sales, competitors, promoted pricing, and other measures
It can feel like grunt work because they don’t have visibility or control with what happens with the insights. Plus, because of the lag time, they’re often forced to refresh a large amount of reports instead of proactively seeking out new opportunities.
The analyst’s true goal beyond reporting is to find insights that drive the most effective business strategies, creating a real impact for the company. Data preparation, combining multiple data sets, understanding the business objective for the buyer, and effective communication with the sales team all come into play.
Any CPG sales analysis must be able to summarize how well a product is performing, and pinpoint where it is performing well. While metrics will vary depending on the brand’s category, operational scope, and targeted channels, certain KPIs should be included in every analysis:
Data is an asset – adopt technology that knows how to use it
The excess of data shouldn’t be intimidating. The only way to contend with the data sources is to adopt new tools and technologies that reveal a relevant snapshot of category and competitive intelligence. Big CPG companies are already doing this. They have the money, resources, systems, IT, data lakes, Bedrock, and people to get the job done. But, midmarket CPGs are competing with these giants, and finding it challenging to mine the data on their own. Smaller CPGs have it even harder.
Even analysts don’t want to be caught in data drudgery. They want to work smarter and be part of strategic results. The tools exist and are ready to be leveraged. If you think there is too much data today, wait six months, two years, and five years from now. If you’re not struggling to keep your chin above the flow of data, you soon will be.
You don’t want to wait and adopt after competitors have figured it out and surpassed you in processes and capabilities. It won’t matter whether a brand has an analyst team of 1 or 100, or whether the sales teams are taking it on themselves. Ultimately, a CPG must sell their products into retail, grow their sales and distribution while increasing their sales velocities. Some companies leverage technology to help them automate this while others spend a lot of time and money trying to do it all on their own.
The Bedrock Analytics Solution
Bedrock was built by CPG people for CPG people. The Bedrock platform gives your sales teams, marketers, executives and analysts time back to spend actually driving their businesses with actionable insights. By automatically harmonizing product and market data across syndicated and retail portal data sources, customer databases can be updated with new data with minimal effort. Bedrock’s user-friendly interface makes it easy for member of your team to access the data and view it in various ways that makes the most sense for their goals and objectives.
Schedule a demo to see how Bedrock Analytics can easily harmonize your data and give time back to your team.