Bringing Clarity Back into the Picture

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Bringing Clarity Back into the Picture

By Edward Bishop, UpClear - 01/05/2018

A sponsored thought leadership companion to CGT's TPM Report 2017

Back in the “good old days,” it was the job of the Marketing team to create demand through advertising and brand building. The Sales team was then tasked with ensuring that the retailer’s shelves were well stocked and, on occasion, a promotion was run. Both teams were separate, eyeing each other with mild suspicion and talking just once a year at the holiday party.

Today, in successful CPG companies, collaboration between Sales and Marketing is essential to ensure aligned promotional plans — both horizontally and vertically — and achieve shared organizational KPIs. Increasingly too, there is a third element in the form of a “Revenue Growth Management” (RGM) team, described either as the “oil” or the “honest brokers” between Sales and Marketing.

To drive this internal collaboration, ensuring that each team is working toward “one number” and information flows across the organization rather than getting stuck in departmental silos, companies need solutions that deliver data integration from disparate sources. Marketing teams need to communicate their broad brand plans, RGM interprets these and translates them into commercial plans, and Sales is responsible for the detailed pre-event planning and actual execution.

Now, there are also “post-event” needs: Purely relying on “shipment” numbers is not enough anymore. CPG companies need to integrate third-party and sales-out data to truly understand the ROI of their activities. This again requires collaboration, both with retailers and the providers of “actual” sales numbers.

Data needs to flow in near-real time across departments and between the various elements of a company’s IT landscape. Speed is increasingly of the essence to deliver insight-driven decision-making and enable “course correction” if necessary.

These demands will only increase in the future as more data becomes available and is used to inform commercial decisions. The number of data points will multiply as businesses look to create a truly holistic revenue management landscape that incorporates both internal metrics and external consumer-centric information from, for example, social media sources. Marketing, RGM, and Sales collaboration will be even deeper as promotions become more targeted and each individual consumer becomes a “segment of one.”

CPG companies then need to work with their solution providers, collaboratively discussing these evolving business challenges and together building the solution roadmap to meet these changing needs. Vendors need to be agile, responsive, and creative in their thinking and approach, with a vision for how the market will evolve.

Increasingly, too, vendors need to accept that their “niche” specialization brings benefits to CPG clients only if they can integrate easily across a wider IT landscape and with other providers similarly focused on developing best-in-class tools. This will provide end users from Marketing, Sales, and RGM with a one-stop, single-sign-on tool that seamlessly integrates data from multiple sources through a state of the art and simple user experience. Swan-like calm should be all that users see, while integration and data agglomeration go on seamlessly below the surface — or, in this case, up in the cloud!

Only then will true collaboration — between manufacturers and retailers, clients and vendors, and with shoppers — be possible.

UpClear’s BluePlanner is a best-in-class platform for revenue management covering customer business planning, TPM, analytics and TPO. UpClear serves clients in over 20 countries across the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Brands and companies we work with include Danone, Equal, Evian, Ferrero, Hovis, Jelly Belly, LALA U.S., Reckitt Benckiser, Splenda and Zest.