In recent years, many business organizations have increasingly supported sales efforts with data insights. It’s all part of a broad shift in which largely commoditized industries employ available technologies to expand their operational scale. But this shift has been happening so quickly that many companies are struggling to adjust.
This makes syndicated data a crucial tool for any company looking to succeed, especially those operating in the CPG industry. While syndicated data is used by many industries — most notably in the entertainment and social media fields — it’s become essential for CPG and CPG-adjacent companies looking to succeed in the 21st Century. Developing skills around these resources and tools is now the most important starting point for staying relevant, which is why it’s crucial to understand exactly what syndicated data is.
Syndicated data is an aggregated collection of product retail sales activity across a chosen set of parameters. It’s often compared to retail direct data, but it has the potential to track industry trends along any scale of your choosing.
For example, retail direct data provides information about a specific product from a particular retailer like Meijer, Target, Whole Foods or Wegmans. Syndicated data compares product information across all stores, food categories, distribution channels, or geographic markets.
What’s more, syndicated data can be categorized within two unique channels: syndicated store data, and syndicated panel data. Syndicated store data collates product information as described above — aggregating useful details such as sales trends, competitive analyses, distribution, price, and even promotions. Since this data cannot be provided by any single retailer alone, it is collected and aggregated by third-party syndicated data companies.
Syndicated panel data, on the other hand, tracks customer behavior. It provides retailers and marketers with an overview of user demographics, brand loyalty, store loyalty, purchase frequency, and any number of conceivably useful shopping preferences. Syndicated panel data is collected by third-party syndicated data companies through a demographically balanced household sample.
When third-party services collect syndicated data, the store data category tends to be consistently reliable from sales and marketing perspectives because it directly reflects retail statistics. Meanwhile, syndicated panel data does offer a comprehensive picture of buying habits across households, but data on products with low penetration is often limited due to sample size.
For CPG manufacturers, and for the purposes of this blog, we’ll focus on syndicated store data, because it offers the most consistent and universal view of CPG product and category performance at retail.
Syndicated data can only be made available to CPG brands thanks to the efforts of data syndication companies. These third-party organizations collect comprehensive CPG metrics across a wide range of retailers and customers, aggregate relevant data points, and provide access to CPG manufacturers.
Given the massive scale of syndicated data requirements, few companies can tackle the scope of data collection with reliable accuracy. It requires strong professional relationships with retailers across all CPG channels — most notably Food, Drug, Dollar, Mass Market, Convenience, Club, and Military. These syndicated syndicated data providers also require data from hundreds of markets and product categories.
As such, only three major third-party syndicated data companies can operate on the broadest scale: Nielsen, SPINS and IRI. The core operations of these organizations focus on syndicated and aggregated data sets, while leaving insights and reporting to individual sales and marketing teams that subscribe to their services. (For a more in depth look at each of these providers, check out the Bedrock Blog post, Navigating the CPG Data Syndicators.)
The Nielsen Company is a global information, data, and management company based in New York. Nielsen has measured competitive sales since its founding in 1923, and currently focuses on consumer goods, consumer behavior, and media. It provides a comprehensive overview of products and purchasing behavior in over 100 countries. From a CPG perspective, Nielsen is the oldest, largest, and perhaps the single most important syndicated data platform currently available.
SPINS is a syndicated data and retail measurement platform that offers comprehensive cross-channel point-of-sale reporting. Its network provides data-based services and solutions to geared towards brands, retailers, and financial partners. SPINS specializes in brands, stores, and products that emphasize healthy living and natural goods, as well as conventional data, and offers a variety of consumer insights, analytics reporting, and consulting options for the CPG industry.
IRI is a market research company that has long specialized in digital data analysis. It aggregates data from purchasing, media, social, causal, and loyalty channels, and creates outputs for CPG and retail companies.
Just as data aggregators like Nielsen collect information from a wide variety of sources, syndicated data platforms offer additional tools and services to help manufacturers refine and analyze product categories even further. These platforms and the companies behind them visualize market research outputs from syndicated data sources and generate comprehensive insights on the latest market data and trends.
Bedrock Analytics is one such company. Established in 2013 by category management, marketing, and analytics experts with 30 years of collective experience, Bedrock seeks to combine the massive volumes of syndicated data from sources like Nielsen, Spins, and IRI, and translate it all into actionable insights. Our analytics platform aggregates data from syndicated and retail data providers, including retail sources like the Whole Foods Portal, Retail Link and Market6, to provide the most comprehensive overview of CPG products. Our system is easy to implement, and requires no technical knowledge or IT department to operate.
If you want to use syndicated data to uncover insights that tell your data storyline, click here for details on Bedrock products and services that will help achieve your goal.