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CGSM Delivers the ROI of Staying Relevant

The 2021 Sales & Marketing Summit, held virtually Dec. 13-15, 2021, was a highly curated event gathering today’s top talent across the consumer goods industry. Centered around the theme of “The Power of Relevance,” attendees spent three days learning, networking, and sharing their experiences about engaging with today’s consumers and workforce to maintain a competitive edge and prepare their business for the future.

The following are some highlights of the content from the event. The following are some highlights to the content presented. If you weren’t able to attend — or you just want to re-watch some of the great content — click here to register to watch.


Cassandra Worthy
Cassandra Worthy

Monday, December 13, 2021


Master the Chemistry of Change: How to Strengthen Your Resilience to Maintain Your Relevance

CGSM 2021 kicked off with a bang with an energetic opening keynote from Cassandra Worthy, the founder and CEO ofChange Enthusiasm Global, a growth enablement firm. Through her corporate experiences, Worthy has not only endured but thrived during major change challenges, making her the ideal speaker to lead the event amid ongoing disruption throughout the consumer goods industry.

Worthy introduced the key theme of the event, “The Power of Relevance,” and through a series of short, real-world case studies from her career as a CG executive and consultant highlighted how CG companies can reinvent themselves. With an increasing emphasis on “doing good” and “being relevant,” CGs need to do more than just alter their marketing and operational approach — they must get buy-in from their employees.

“The culture of a company can be influenced from the bottom on up,” Worthy said of the importance of employee engagement. Consumer goods companies looking to implement meaningful change throughout the organization must have their employees fully vested, and that company-wide engagement must be nurtured at all levels of the organization from the line workers all the way up to the CEO.  

In addition to diving deep into how to establish a culture of change at organizations both big and small, Worthy’s keynote acted as a linchpin to launch the rest of the educational content and get CGSM attendees excited about the one-on-one and group networking events to come.


Reza Mirza
Reza Mirza

The ROI of Being Relevant

Following up on Cassandra Worthy’s opening keynote presentation, Reza Mirza, CEO of Icelandic Glacial, took to the virtual stage to discuss “The ROI of Being Relevant.” Being relevant to consumers’ wants and needs is vital to long-term brand engagement, but consumer goods companies must also keep an eye on the bottom line. They must find innovative ways to combine the desire to connect with consumers while running a profitable business.

In his presentation Mirza highlighted how Icelandic Glacial places sustainability and authenticity at its core. The brand has its own natural spring where it sources its water, uses only natural energy from the Earth, is certified carbon neutral, and uses recycled plastic in its packaging. In addition, anyone can tour its facilities to see firsthand its sustainability efforts.

“A brand must connect with its consumers’ values,” Mirza said. “That is what makes it relevant. Every year we are growing. Being relevant and connected with consumers has helped drive sales.”

In addition to providing a meaningful and sustainable experience for its consumers, Icelandic Glacial is committed to joining forces with companies that share their overall vision. “Having the right partners is important,” Mirza said. “Whenever we speak to potential business partners, if they fit with our brand DNA, we are open to partnering. If they don’t, we have to pass.”


Pete Conti
Pete Conti

Moneyball Theory in CPG

Pete Conti, SVP, NA analytics at NielsenIQ, shared how the infamous “Moneyball” theory relates to the CPG industry — most specifically revenue growth management (RGM). The “Moneyball” story, made recognizable by both a bestselling book by Michael Lewis and movie starring Brad Pitt, shares how Billy Beane, GM of the Oakland A’s baseball team, paved the way for an innovative new way to assess a player’s value through the use of analytics.

Pivotal to the theory’s success was an important lesson in change management, including the importance of not making changes based on assumptions, and this component is key in how it relates to CPG. One of today’s biggest challenges in the industry is resistance to change, Conti noted in his presentation — change is hard and it’s uncomfortable. Companies that do adopt analytics can face further struggles because they don’t leverage the information, understand the language, or they're uncomfortable with the black box.

However, companies that excel in RGM can record margin expansion of up 5 percentage points, he said and those that take the time to establish processes with structured goals are setting themselves up for success when it comes to reaping the real rewards of RGM. As part of this, Conti shared a few examples of what such goals could look like, including determining such things as promotional guardrails, price and promotional thresholds, promotional vehicles to leverage loyalty programs, and frequency and depth of promotions.


Deb Hannah Interior
Deb Hannah

Creating a Content-Centric Marketing Strategy

Deb Hannah, VP marketing of the 370-plus-store Shoe Carnival chain and CGT/RIS Executive Council member, presented solutions to a common challenge for retail marketers: Not only do they have to tell their own branding stories to increasingly digitally driven customers, but they need to promote their vendors' branding stories.

Successfully creating effective and engaging marketing content is a marriage of art and science. "What you’re selling is about creativity and innovation and design, and ultimately an emotional response from the customer," Hannah explained. "On the other side, you also have science, and science is what enables us to actually achieve our business goals."

Click here to read expanded coverage of this presentation.


Workshop: Strategic Priorities for Brand Innovation and Growth

A workshop exploring how consumer sentiment, new routes to market, and innovating new products quickly all affect top-line growth was facilitated by SAP’s Jon Dano, industry executive advisor, consumer products; Paul Larson, senior principal, industry executive advisor, consumer products; and Sunny Neely, global solution director.

Participants met both as a group and in individual breakout session to dig into these topics, as well as share the complexity and opportunities of engaging with consumers today. They also discussed the connection between product innovation and sustainability — and its increasing importance with consumers — among other themes.

Listen to the top highlights from both the workshop and CGSM from Dano, Larson, Neely, and SAP's Matt Gardner — and learn about some of the most interesting conversations in consumer experience, product development, route-to-market, data insights, and more.


Antonio Parra CGSM 2021
Antonio Parra

Tuesday, December 14, 2021


Getting More Granular to Create Meaningful Experiences

Collecting massive amounts of customer and consumer data is one thing. What you do with it, how you use it to increase, enhance, and understand your relationship with your customers and consumers is a wholly different — and constantly evolving — challenge. Consumer goods companies that invest in analytics — more specifically artificial intelligence — have the benefit of being to create more granularity around customer and consumer insights and interactions, preventing the simple mass of data becoming so overwhelming that it either goes unused or, worse, badly used.

Addressing this need for intelligent data analysis and application was Antonio Parra, VP global information and digital transformation for Grupo Bimbo, the Mexico City-based food conglomerate.

Click here to read expanded coverage of this presentation.


Rekha Ramesh
Rekha Ramesh

Digital Marketing in a Socially Connected World

If any company knows the value of social influencers, it's Tupperware Brands, the originators of the Tupperware party that turned neighbors, families, and friends into centers of commerce. So, it comes as no surprise that Tupperware has created an effective path to move from social media to social commerce, strategies laid out by Rekha Ramesh, chief digital and information officer of Tupperware Brands.

"Every one of you already should be doing social media marketing, and I’m sure you are," Ramesh noted, but the question now should be focused on how consumer goods companies are translating it these efforts into social commerce. “How do we make it easier for [consumers] to engage and take that action towards commerce?"

Ramesh, a 2021 CGT CIO of the Year winner, offered a four-level path to evolve social media efforts to social commerce in order to move from engagement to click-to-action: awareness, consideration, conversion, and loyalty. She then laid out a six-step plan that can be applied to any company's social media initiatives.

Click here to read expanded coverage of this presentation.


deepak bosale
Deepak Bhosale

From Walls to Spaces: Asian Paints’ Digital Transformation Led by CDP

Deepak Bhosale, GM, Asian Paints, and Danica Konetski, consumer industry principal at Treasure Data, provided a window into the third largest paint company in Asia. Asian Paints, which sells in more than 60 countries, is a market leader that’s transforming itself into India’s largest home décor company.

As the company has expanded the breadth of its products and services, it’s been able to reach its customers more often and with a greater depth of engagement thanks to a marriage of digital and physical purchase experiences. As a result, its need for informed and engaged employees has increased, as has a requirement for greater operational efficiencies and — most importantly — an ability to create experiences that inspire and satisfy their customers.

Fueling all of these imperatives is a wealth of data, and Bhosale explained how and why Asian Paints relies upon and leverages a customer data platform to collect this data, convert it into insights, and harness these insights to personalize the customer experiences.

“As you keep doing more of it, you get very close to really understanding [the] intent of the customer,” he noted. “And when you know the intent of the customer, it becomes very easy to [provide] the right value, the right solution and the right product.”


Share Groups

The Consumer Insights Innovator Share Group with AWS is a series of peer-to-peer forums designed to address the challenges facing consumer goods companies on their paths to becoming data-driven enterprises.

The CGSM gathering not only built off the previous meeting in May, but it took things a step further by having participants break into groups to dig deeper into the topics. Conversations were grounded in a pre-event snapshot survey that highlighted share group registrants’ priorities and challenges on their data journeys.

The Revenue Growth Management Share Group sponsored by UpClear provides group members the opportunity to discuss RGM in a low stress conversational environment.

At the latest meeting held at CGSM in December members were treated to two case studies provided by CG brands Vita Coco and Premier Nutrition. The brands discussed their current RGM maturity and the steps they are taking to build more agile and profitable enterprises in the future.

To learn how to get involved with these Share Groups, contact Albert Guffanti: [email protected].


Ekta Chopra (left) and Kory Marchisotto

Wednesday, December 15, 2021


CMO + CDO = A Power Couple: Teaming up for the Best Consumer Experience

When your corporate culture includes language like superheroes, rocket ships, and elf-bombs, is it any surprise to find yourself in the middle of a pop culture moment?

While e.l.f. Beauty certainly did not manufacture the viral moment that landed it as the answer to a Jeopardy Daily Double, it was the company’s cultural and digital foundation that enabled it to seize the marketing opportunity. Providing a look behind the scenes during CGSM — including insight into how tech plays a role within its renegade culture — were Kory Marchisotto, e.l.f. chief marketing officer, and Ekta Chopra, e.l.f. chief digital officer.

The dynamic duo kicked off the high-energy presentation with a preview of the viral Jeopardy moment last fall in which contestant Matt Amodio was asked to identify what the e.l.f. acronym stands for. While he got it wrong, citing “ears, lip, face” instead of “eyes, lip, face,” it nonetheless made people sit up and take notice. 

Click here to read expanded coverage of the presentation.


Pablo Pena
Pablo Pena

How Mondelez Uses Computer Vision to Excel on Perfect Store Execution and Achieve Growth

Pablo Peña, LATAM digital experience lead at Mondelēz International, explored how the company is pumping up its store execution muscle by rolling out technology to the field with a user-centric approach. 

“Things are not getting easier on the retail execution side,” he said when referencing the need to improve the tech stack for field reps. “New retail formats are coming all the time and consumers are becoming more demanding.”

To alleviate some of the stress on its in-the-field team and provide fickle consumers with the in-demand goods they desire, Mondelēz is experimenting with image recognition technology and assisted order placement to allow field teams to execute on-shelf management strategies that maximize availability.

Image recognition technology allows for a host of abilities at the store level. For example, retailers can simply take a picture of their shelves and fill an order with a field rep, eliminating the time consuming and potential inaccurate back and forth between CG supplier and retailer.

As with any new technology getting end-user acceptance is a main concern. “The problem some companies have when they place technology is they expect users to adopt to whatever tech is provided,” said Peña. “If you want to raise acceptance the tech should be embedded in the tech suite, so the end-user instinctively knows how to use it.”


cgsm 2021 sales & marketing trends panel
Top, from left: Lisa Johnston, Cory Munchbach and Dan Maxwell. Bottom, from left: Rahul Kumar Singh and Dominic Dinardo.

Sales and Marketing Trends Panel

Based on CGT’s annual Sales & Marketing Special Report, this panel of industry experts not only dissected the report’s trends with CGT senior editor Lisa Johnston, but they also provided first-hand perspectives about what they’re seeing in the industry — and what’s coming down the pipeline that consumer goods marketers should keep on their radars.

On the note of new challenges, Dominic Dinardo, CEO and co-founder of Aforza, detailed why it’s so important for brands to achieve increased granularity into their operations during today’s supply chain uncertainty. He also provided perspective on how the brands he works with are adjusting their strategies in order to meet the new obstacles.

Cory Munchbach, COO of BlueConic dug into direct-to-consumer, sharing why CGs should be thinking about developing first-party data strategies if they’re not already, as well as some of the common roadblocks to leveraging its benefits. As part of this, she shared insight into why Heineken developed a first-party data strategy despite the complications surrounding the alcohol beverage market.

On the note, Dan Maxwell, president, Americas of Visualfabriq, discussed how brands are leveraging personalization to meet today’s new consumer demands. And while the report explores how data and analytics can help consumer goods brands adapt for the needs of today’s new consumer, he dusted off his crystal ball for some insight on how they also help companies prepare for the future consumer as well.

Finally, Rahul Kumar Singh, co-founder and chief analytics officer of Sigmoid, built off the power of personalization by sharing some of the ways that consumer goods companies can leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to drive it. He also detailed how today’s marketers are using data and analytics to accurately measure which marketing campaigns are converting customers and doing so efficiently.


Mike Ferrara
Mike Ferrara

Staying One Step Ahead of Consumers

Staying one step ahead of consumers is both a puzzle and a priority for most of today’s consumer goods companies, but there happens to be a timeless recipe for success. For HairUWear, which has been around for more than 50 years and has a large portfolio of leading alternative hair brands, its strategy has been a mix of perpetual innovation, staying in front of trends, and delivering on the promise of quality to consumers at all price points.

The company’s brands are marketed in more than 40 countries and it’s the only company in the industry that has boots on the ground overlooking production in Asia of all of its products, said Mike Ferrara, HairUWear CMO, in a case study during the Consumer Goods Sales & Marketing Summit that shared insight into the company and its acquisition of The Wig Company.

Click here to read expanded coverage of the presentation.