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11/08/2021

Cuisinart, Avocados From Mexico, Native Marketing All-Stars Talk Today's Tech Priorities

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From the convergence of technology, infinite data sources and new channels, the future of marketing in CG is more complicated than ever – here are some innovative ways to break through the noise.

While many can agree the last couple years have been a challenge for the CG industry, some companies have taken this as a moment to reevaluate their people, process, technologies, and strategies for innovative solutions. Here, we tapped into the minds of our CG audience to benchmark where they stand with their sales and marketing investments, where they are headed, and what they need to do to get there.

Then, we added some real-life perspectives from marketing all-stars from Cuisinart, Avocados From Mexico and Native. Here’s what they had to say about the future of sales and marketing for the CG industry today and beyond.

Alarice Rajagopal: Good morning, everyone and welcome to our webinar titled “Data Reveal: Today's Sales & Marketing Tech Priorities.” My name is Alarice Rajagopal, I'm a senior editor of CGT. This year marks our 12th Annual Sales and Marketing Report which we named “Digging In, Drilling Down, Looking Forward.” Not only did we tap into a range of industry and research experts but this year, we also pulled our audience and present the findings here is a snapshot. So, to help us dive into the data further, I'm delighted to introduce our subject matter experts on this topic.

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Joining us today is Ivonne Kinser, VP of marketing and innovation for Avocados From Mexico, where she leads a high performance team and the innovation agenda that put AFM in the Fast Company 2021 list of most innovative companies in the world. Ivonne is joined by Mary Rodgers, director of marketing communications for Cuisinart. Mary oversees all consumer communication touch points for the Cuisinart brand portfolio, spearheading industry-first initiatives to give the housewares and tabletop brand an even greater stature as an innovative leader.

Our next panelist is Meng Li former VP of marketing for Native. Meng is responsible for building the Native marketing team, which consisted of just two people when she joined counting herself, eventually being part of the brand that was scooped up in 2017 by P&G. Meng was also named a CGT 2021 Visionary seeing marketing as a mix of art and science, plus good data.

And rounding out our panel is Rahul Kumar Singh, co-founder and CAO of Sigmoid. Rahul has been listed by Analytics India Magazine as one of the 50 most influential AI leaders in India for 2021. So as you can see, we have a very full and very qualified panel today to help us dive into the report findings.

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Rajagopal: As I mentioned earlier this is the 12th year that CGT has produced the Sales & Marketing report. And while historically we lean on industry and research experts in the past, this year, we decided to conduct our own research by polling our audience to see where they're investing in sales, marketing strategies, resources and technologies. Here are some of this year's key takeaways where we talked about who owns the budget versus tool selections.

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And there were many themes centered around data analytics which we'll get into in a little bit. Today, we'll dive deeper into a few of these key findings. However, if you'd like to explore the full report we've also provided the link here in the slides. We asked our audience and an open ended question about which sales and marketing trends they expect to see stick around for a while. And e-commerce acceleration was the first on the list, no surprise there.

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But some others were due to see virtual meetings and events, first party data and more. So Ivonne, if I could pick on you first, are there any other trends you would add to this list?

Ivonne Kinser: That's a very interesting list. And from my point of view what I'm seeing in the market for a few years is that there's a conversion of technologies. So, when we look at the trends isolated, we are seeing now that we have two or more technologies coming together to bring a new trend. And I’ll give you an example. We have been listening for years about big data which is that data that uses computational power to be analyzed and understood.

But now what we're seeing since 2016 when the CP industry really was born that big data is now enabled by artificial intelligence and machine learning, giving us a whole new way to market our consumers based on real-time insights. We also see for example a conversion of technologies, and great example that actually earlier I was reading about these past few days is Facebook is creating augmented reality glasses, which are the experiences triggered by artificial intelligence and machine learning.

It's a project that is still in the very beginning, but it's going to change the way we leverage augmented reality, and artificial intelligence together to give consumers through the glasses an interactive experience of their day-to-day life. The other one is marketers we have been listening about personalization for many years now. But now the capabilities and the technology that the media partners are able to tap into now for geo-targeting makes that personalization even better.

“What I see is a convergence of technologies like we have never seen in the past.”
Ivonne Kinser, Avocados From Mexico

Now marketers, we are getting not only more personalized in terms of who we target, but also when and where we target those consumers to get them with the right mindset in the right moment. So when we look at all the trends happening, and I know the trend that I read your stories are really interesting. And when we look at all the trends, you're seeing how all of them are becoming very intertwined. So on top of everything what I see is a convergence of technologies like we have never seen in the past.

And that's what we're seeing a lot of merging and acquisitions because that's how the industry of where the industry is moving forward.

Rajagopal: That's interesting. And some of those we'll get into a little bit more later on. And so thank you Ivonne. Mary if I could come to you next looking at this list, do you have any comments on what's here? Or do you have any other sticky trends that you would also add to this list?

Mary Rodgers: Yes. For us some of the major focus that we are putting on our business from the marketing and sales side is obviously, we were well prepared for the shift to direct consumer because we had set that up in late 2018. So we had the infrastructure to be able to really jump on that last year, when it became critical to both consumers and business alike. I would also like to add on to the AI conversation because we're using so much more AI to drive insights, that are helping us then develop marketing based on those insights.

The sheer amount of platforms that we use to gather AI information to drive our business, is multi-fold compared to even one or two years ago. It's pretty significant. I would say one of the biggest struggles for us on the direct-to-consumer businesses obviously, the sheer operational effort that's needed on behalf of the marketing team, which is not necessarily something that's built into a marketing team’s marketing operations.

“The sheer amount of platforms that we use to gather AI information to drive our business, is multi-fold compared to even one or two years ago. It's pretty significant.”
Mary Rodgers, Cuisinart

So I think that's been a big trend for us. And then lastly, I would just say we're completely focused on new social shopping channels and how that's going to be integrated into actual platforms. We actually tested that several years ago we were a couple years before our time. So with Instagram, through one of our product information platforms and it was well before it's time but test and learn as we say, right?

Rajagopal: Exactly. And thank you Mary. Meng if I could bring you in here do you have any other kind of trends that you're watching or anything you would add to this list?

Meng Li: Yeah. I think one thing I would add to this list that's been a focus area when I was at Native is just the importance and focus on producing content, building the infrastructure, creating the team, having the resources to produce content at the pace that brands today need and also producing it at a faster pace, producing different kinds of content across every medium.

So static imagery, video content, both long form and short form audio content, UGC; I think it just spans a whole range to be able to be competitive and to break through in today's marketplace and that takes a lot of time, a lot of resources and it requires an investment from an organization.

“I think it just spans a whole range to be able to be competitive and to break through in today's marketplace and that takes a lot of time, a lot of resources and it requires an investment from an organization.”
Meng Li, formerly of Native

Rajagopal: Agreed. And Rahul if I could come in next I want to tweak your question slightly, since you have a unique perspective and working with many CG clients, and we're seeing many CEOs who are looking to marketing to drive growth. What trends are you seeing or tracking among your customers? Would you add to this list?

Rahul Kumar Singh: I would primarily divide this entire industry into two segments from a data perspective. There are segments where a lot of customer data is present. And there are segments where customer data is very hard to come by. And they're dependent on the retail channels to get any information out of it. I think one primary trend is companies where you see customer data. So customer data platform is one of their primary initiatives.

And then they are trying to build AI and analytics initiative on top of it, but a lot of them don't have many sources that are connected to these platforms where they're trying to get real-time data, specifically this trend increased significantly after COVID. The second important aspect is companies who don't have basically any kind of customer data. And they're also where we see these trends, marketing data is most important aspect they are focusing on specifically measurement reports, which are another thing.

“Personalization becomes critical as you're trying to get into new areas of optimization and improvement.”
Rahul Kumar Singh, Sigmoid

I think personalization we touched. So for the first set of companies, personalization becomes critical as you're trying to get into new areas of optimization and improvement. And you can go to personalization to hyper-personalization area. I think these are few of the trends I see at this point in time in most of the companies.

Rajagopal: I would agree. And that segues nicely into our next topic. So according to our survey 31% of our CG respondent cited meeting new consumer demands and expectations, as one of the top three roadblocks to sales marketing success. And even more interesting in this quote here on the slide from Forrester, the essentially saying that consumers even underestimate how much more they will change over time.

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I think Meng, maybe if I can start with you on this one, if consumers don't even know what they want essentially, what can CGs do to understand these constantly changing consumer patterns? And how can data and analytics helped solve this puzzle?

Li: I think data is really critical to understanding what consumers want and what they could potentially want in the future. And I think the importance of data is having a lot of different and diversified data sources to provide multiple inputs that you have a holistic picture. I think it's everything from obviously like large macro trends that institutions publish. There's also research studies that brands can initiate themselves and both quantitative and qualitative.

I think social listening is also really important, plus understanding consumers feedback directly through both social listening and just emails, DMs, messages that they send to the brand. And I think that is a really critical, important piece that brands not aren't really necessarily looking at and analyzing in a systematic way. Which is because it's coming directly from your consumers and what their pain points are, what they really like about the brand, what they want to see in the future.

“I think social listening is also really important, plus understanding consumers feedback directly through both social listening and just emails, DMs, messages that they send to the brand.”
Meng Li, formerly of Native

And I think that's a huge opportunity for brands to continue to look at your own customer feedback and data, and how do you look at it in a more systemic way to develop key insights.

Rajagopal: Thanks, Meng. Ivonne, if I could come to you next and ask the same question. What can CGs do to understand consumers and how can data help?

Kinser: I couldn't love that question more because I think that we are all as an industry trying to figure that out. Nobody has a completely figured out. But I couldn't agree more with what Meng says - that's exactly my thinking word-by-word. I see the data, and the research, and the insights, and the consumer intelligence in three blocks. One is the qualitative and quantitative research that we have been doing as an industry for 50 years or more. And the now we have what we talked before which is the big data, right? So, that data that needs computational power to be analyzed so that's the second pillar.

And like Meng said, each is about having multiple data outputs. But then there's a third pillar which is the dynamic data, that data that can be provided when we have a platform like for example, our consumer data platform that use that big data, but optimize it and update every day based on the latest interactions of the consumers with the brand's platform. So it's not one, is not more important than the other one but to really, really look at the consumer in a 360-degree way, in a multi-dimensional way, which is really how consumers are, we need the three of them.

When we're looking at those consumer insights only from the traditional way, the traditional perspective of qualitative and quantitative data we're only seeing one flat dimension. So we really need the other two, to have real an accurate view of the consumer minds by every specific moment. And only like that we're able to really get our message across in a relevant way. And really, the brands that are taught these multi-dimensional ways to see the data are those that are going to be winning that consumer in a very, very competitive market.

“When we're looking at those consumer insights only from the traditional way, the traditional perspective of qualitative and quantitative data we're only seeing one flat dimension.”
Ivonne Kinser, Avocados From Mexico

Rajagopal: Agreed. Mary if I can bring you in here I have a slightly different question. But still among the same theme. How have buyer shifts impacted Cuisinart’s marketing campaign strategy, and what do those shifts mean for the future of how you do business?

Rodgers: I'm just going to add one little thing about the list. And then I'll switch over. One of the things that we also use artificial intelligence for is the collection of consumer reviews, related right down to our product level, and we do that for competitors and also obviously ourselves. And we then dig into that data and use it to inform improvements and next gen products basically, just so you know. I would say one of the things that we have found to be very complicated is the whole supply chain, having the product where the consumer wants it at the right time, but then also spending so much more time on the operation ends of things, and really working our marketing campaigning to the last minute where we don't want to be spending money, effort and resources on marketing items that we just cannot supply to the consumer.

“One of the things that we also use artificial intelligence for is the collection of consumer reviews, related right down to our product level, and we do that for competitors and also obviously ourselves.”
Mary Rodgers, Cuisinart

And that has been a big shift for us in the last two years. And as you know we've all heard about the crush at the ports where products are just not getting the same flow that they did pre-pandemic. I can't tell you how much time I spent looking at inventory, which in the past was never a concern for us, we always had inventory plus what we refer to as a buffer stock. So right now if we're going to deploy anything socially email oriented, anything in the digital space that we can, and even with our TV campaigning, we've come to like a more flexible schedule, so that we have like some stuff like solidly committed, and then the other stuff we basically turn it on or off based on whether or not we have good supply of good supply actually.

So I'd say that is one of the biggest things. And that is caused us to really spend more time on developing talent and marketing operations. And also as mentioned earlier, content has become a huge focus for us also because the more of that digital marketing and also for our retail partners, they're completely reliant on us for the for that content. We've spent a lot more time and resources on those two areas to actually at the end of the day, then serve our customer appropriately giving them what they need when they want it.

Rajagopal: I like the use case, but also, you're not alone in those challenges. It's definitely a sign of the times for sure. Rahul if I could bring you in here. How can an analytics enable CG companies keep pace with the changing consumer behaviors?

Singh: In our area in a sense, strategy is very different and customized to every company. And what we have seen it is impacting all area in a CG company so you can understand from a perspective of marketing, sales, demand forecasting or even production. Depending on as I earlier mentioned, what kind of company you have and what kind of data you have access to? As an example, I think one of the areas that Mary touched was on e-commerce you get a lot of reviews, those are from your direct consumers, even on your competitors, you get the same kind of behaviors, you can capture what are the interests, what area they are interested in?

And also, all these analyses where you have a lot of micro data, in a sense every customer is unique, and they have a different view. So all on those areas, you definitely need data and analytics because it's very hard for a manual marketing person to go through each and every part manually and make any sense out of it. Similarly, we also see new areas emerging in terms of interaction. So when I was touching upon the hyper personalization space, if you run a marketing campaign where you can create specific I think generation capabilities of emails as well as offers, you can also interact with the consumer and learn their preferences on different kinds of combinations or possibilities that you are sending in front of them.

“So rather than the traditional channels of data you also get a lot of metadata for these new channels.”
Rahul Kumar Singh, Sigmoid

So rather than the traditional channels of data you also get a lot of metadata for these new channels. So depends on your channel you also touched upon direct to consumer. On those websites also you can actually interact and get a lot of data out of the consumer. Capturing consumer mindset it requires building systems, which are not only from a created from big data and analytics perspective, but also the front ends, where you can capture those data and use artificial intelligence and intelligence sense so use cases are enormous in our experience.

Rajagopal: Definitely. Thank you Rahul. I'm going to keep with the data and the analytics theme here. And on this next slide you can see that 61% of our CG and retail respondents and this is from another one of our annual our analytics study that we conducted earlier in the year, where we asked our sister publication the retailer's on that as part of that audience as well. But they listed consumer insights as a top area of analysis which is up from our 2020 study.

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And this is interesting to know because at the same time, our top three roadblocks to sales and marketing success have to do with data. And so the first was working in silos, lack of retailer collaboration and the third is lack of clean data. So this full chart here on the slides was actually not included in the sales and marketing report. But I've included here if you look at the rest of the roadblocks they include meeting consumer demand, which we talked about finding the right talent, which is an ongoing issue now.

And getting stakeholder buy in or proving ROI of programs, which has always been a struggle in marketing, growing marketplaces, a breakdown of omnichannel experiences and lack of key technology. So, I want to get your individual perspectives on this one to see what you're doing to address some of these challenges. Again, Ivonne, I'll pick on you first. What is AFM doing to understand its consumers better through data?

Kinser: Yeah, I agree that silos is a really big issue. If the organization is in silos, then the data will be in silos, and what we described before is that the integration of data is really, really hard to happen. I think that some of these also are going to be sold very, very quickly. It is amazing the speed at which the technology move, and, and we have technology partners, and companies that are not necessarily or partners, but are within the marketing technology ecosystem that every single week there's a new discovery, there's a new merger, there's a new acquisition that is going to solve some of these problems.

Like right now what we're seeing in the market is technologies that are bringing together for example, ODT data with digital data that was not possible a few years ago maybe a few months ago. It's still a challenge but there are companies that are breaking through theirs. For example one of the most difficult things is the collaboration with the retailers. But right now in the clean room environments that are more and more popular and more use and better known by the parties. Now we have to bring the all products data, all consumers data with the retailer data in a high privacy environment.

And we can now have an even stronger consumer data coming from both perspectives. So definitely this is the most of these challenges, not only us but most companies that I have spoken with are going through this. But then three things are we doing to solve those first, we are invested in technology, researching and being in the look for any development in the technology that can help us to integrate that data.

There's a struggle for talent right now. But it seems like it doesn't have to do a lot with these, but in somehow it does which is we’re strengthening our culture, to retain our talent and investing in talent development programs to have all talent, get prepared for the challenge.

“We’re strengthening our culture, to retain our talent and investing in talent development programs to have all talent, get prepared for the challenge.”
Ivonne Kinser, Avocados From Mexico

As an example, we chose to hire a director of research, but also someone within our team, within our company with no experience in big data analytics, but someone with a very, very analytical mind, we move him to my team, to be a director of consumer insight, this person had very, very strong experience in traditional research. But now because we talked before that there's the need right now to break those silos and bring together the digital data, big data and traditional data coming from qualitative and quantitative, these the capabilities of this person are a perfect fit the rest of it is coming with their development. So we're developing that talent so he can build the skills needed to address some of these issues.

Rajagopal: I like that example. And Mary if I can bring you in here. Looking at some of these challenges, what do you see as the largest challenge currently on the marketing front for brands like Cuisinart? And how are you guys addressing it?

Rodgers: I would say the number one at the top I have to say is talent acquisition. I have my own rationale, but I think one of the things we’re seeing in the data area that there's not enough of a talent pool to support the growing needs of marketers to analyze data. I think it's there's just not enough people bring being brought in through the university systems to supply that need.

I also think that when it comes to data analytics, that it's a pretty good possibility that there is not a large enough population of young people who want to enter that field because they don't find it exciting cutting edge all those types of things. That is the struggle. And then lastly, I've also found that in that area of business, they don't necessarily want to come to an office. Like 50% of those people don't want to come to an office, and we're corporately on a hybrid system, and in the office 50% of the time.

I think you're not only now competing with for us we're in Stamford Connecticut, but it's not just Stanford adjacent, you're competing with literally the entire United States when it comes to talent. Because if so many more companies are remote that's another opportunity for that type of personality to work for almost anybody really.

“Most marketers are not prepared for what's coming down the road when it comes to full on privacy and also eventual world where there will be no cookies.”
Mary Rodgers, Cuisinart

So that's a huge challenge for us. We have two positions open on our insights team one we're hoping to fill this week, which has been literally open since December. So for me that's one of my biggest angst. I would say the other one is just centralization of data. And also, just the fact that most marketers are not prepared for what's coming down the road when it comes to full on privacy and also eventual world where there will be no cookies. I think those are the two biggest challenges for us.

Rajagopal: Of course. And Meng I'll bring you in here maybe you can have some insights for Mary as well as she's talking about her challenges that how do you organize an existing team or build a team to support consumer data and business analytics?

Li: I think what Mary said about talent I agree with. I think there's a high demand for strong talent protect, particularly in the engineering analytic space. And so it's hard to compete both for big companies but also for smaller start-ups. I think honestly, most companies definitely some of the start-ups just are not currently structured or resource in a way to be able to synthesize all the data points that a brand has and creates.

And so it's really looking at how do you then ask for and get the resources to build a data team and invest in the infrastructure and the technical capabilities in platforms, you need to have to be able to ingest that data, analyze it and turn it into actionable insights. I think it's twofold. It's both building the data infrastructure, and the warehouse that you need to be able to consolidate data points, clean that data, put it into some visualization platform to get any learnings out of it. But then you need to have the people to do that work. So it's engineering, its analytics, its insights.

“It's both building the data infrastructure, and the warehouse that you need to be able to consolidate data points, clean that data, put it into some visualization platform to get any learnings out of it. But then you need to have the people to do that work.”
Meng Li, formerly of Native

I think that it takes time, it takes investment, and it won't happen right away. But I think even just slowly building a team, but thinking about the full picture of you sure you have a data point, lots of data points, but think about all the different types of people and their unique skill sets you need to have in place to be able to turn that into something meaningful. And I think it's just also to thinking about internal resourcing versus external agencies, and partners who you can collaborate with to get to where you need to be.

Rajagopal: Absolutely. And I always go back to the saying that we hear over and over people process and then technology. So it still starts with people even in talking about a lot of these emerging technologies, and things to invest in you still have to get the right people in place to help. So on that kind of shift, I do want to dive into AI and ML a little bit more for sales marketing, I know we brought it up, but it's one of those areas that our audience is always looking for use cases.

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I think that it takes time, it takes investment, and it won't happen right away. But I think even just slowly building a team, but thinking about the full picture of you sure you have a data point, lots of data points, but think about all the different types of people and their unique skill sets you need to have in place to be able to turn that into something meaningful. And I think it's just also to thinking about internal resourcing versus external agencies, and partners who you can collaborate with to get to where you need to be.

Rajagopal: Absolutely. And I always go back to the saying that we hear over and over people process and then technology. So it still starts with people even in talking about a lot of these emerging technologies, and things to invest in you still have to get the right people in place to help. So on that kind of shift, I do want to dive into AI and ML a little bit more for sales marketing, I know we brought it up, but it's one of those areas that our audience is always looking for use cases.

“We use an AI platform for understanding who's trying to set up websites using our brand name, who's trying to use photos and trademarked images or content without our permission.”
Mary Rodgers, Cuisinart

Rajagopal: Really interesting. Thank you guys for that. We are running out of time. I'm going to try and fly through the next couple because we do have quite a few questions coming in. So really quickly, here I just want to talk about sales marketing tech landscape, which we know there's a lot out there and just to see where our audience is making most of their investments. So first worth mentioning we found 48% of CG, CMOs still own the sales marketing budget, but it's really a cross-functional task for the actual selection of the tech and the tools.

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And we also call out that 46% of CGs have updated their DTC platforms, while 48% have invested in social media marketing analytics to keep up with e-commerce or the e-commerce surge. Just as notable on this slide is where CG execs are not investing right now or don't have plans to invest, which I believe the highest is around IoT and Voice Commerce. I still have to wonder if this is still too new an area. But we'll keep an eye on that for benchmarking. So just really quickly Mary, if I could start with you. We asked here about 19 different sales and marketing investment areas. Where do you see CGs making investments now? And where should they be focused on in the next couple years?

Rodgers: For us I would say one of the things that is on our radar is Voice Commerce, I think that it’s coming. You’re hearing a lot more about it. We've been talking about it for years I think that is an area if we can figure out how to strategically integrate it into our business, we will definitely invest in that. I would say one of the things I would mention too is, I think that the ownership of the IT technology, decision making really depends on whether it's something that's owned by the marketing team, or if it's something that's more integrated in the corporate technology aspects of things.

So I would say for us we are still doing a lot of investing in that space. Also, I just want to also say we did just move a year ago from a PHP-driven site to a completely CMS-driven site, which was a huge undertaking for us. But it was really to set us up for the future and also give the marketing team the ownership of we see behind the curtain now we know every inside aspect of how our site functions. And so that's really great for the team. We don't have to go to anybody to ask them permission to do things unless obviously code, we don't write code. I draw the line at code.

Rajagopal: Thank you, Mary. Meng, can I bring you in here? Where should CGs make investments now? And where should they be focused?

Li: I'm looking at the list. And I'm really surprised that cause marketing is so low, and that almost 50% of brands don't have any plans to work on cause marketing. I think picking on this one there's a lot of different things to invest in, but for cause marketing. I think particularly for younger generations, millennials, Gen Z, it's important for brands, even if you're not a brand that started out as a mission driven company, you have to have some purpose beyond selling people, products and sales revenue.

“I think particularly for younger generations, millennials, Gen Z, it's important for brands, even if you're not a brand that started out as a mission driven company, you have to have some purpose beyond selling people products and sales revenue.”
Meng Li, formerly of Native

And thinking about what is important to the brand? Who are your consumers? What do they care about? And what's meaningful to them? But also for your brand DNA and figuring out how do you think about what cause marketing and just having more of a different initiatives, charitable giving strategy looks like to be able to show to consumers to be able to stay relevant that you're focused externally, and on the broader good, as well.

Rajagopal: And I have to wonder if that has to do with timing, just with the pandemic hitting and people shifting priorities. So it'll be interesting to kind of benchmark that now and see where it goes in the future. So that's interesting for you to call that one out. And Ivonne, if I could go to you what are the top technologies that will drive the future of CG marketing?

Kinser: So, in our case we are increasing investment year-over-year in digital marketing, digital customer experiences just because it's very efficient for us in terms of reach and frequency. And also, because we go beyond the first contact with the consumer if we can do it right, we can spend 10 minutes, if we work with that consumer instead of 30 seconds, for example, that is a TV spot.

We still do offline; I think at this point in time but still we can have more reach. But in terms of deep, deep engagement, data collection, analytics we see digital as a great opportunity we're investing in and your or investment in the area is growing in data analytics in our CDP. And that's because simply that's an expensive area. And it's something that you cannot go back. As you grow you have to still continue to invest in the infrastructure that you have built to that point. But in order to grow you have to keep the increase of the investment year over year.

So that's an area that really in the latest years have taken big chunk of our budget, but also is creating like I explained before cost efficiencies that allow us to buy more media, more retail frequency with a lower investment. So everything that we're investing on the data analytics, we’re getting it back in the optimization of our media dollars.

Rajagopal: Thanks, Ivonne. Rahul I want to get a slightly different perspective here because only 4% of CG companies said they're up to date and personalization, even though we've talked about it today we see it as a growing trend. What strategies should CG companies look at to leverage the potential of personalization?

Singh: Primarily as I mentioned personalization will only apply to some of the CG companies, not all, unless you have a very strong loyalty platform. The second important aspect is in terms of strategy different companies have different states. So we need to first start with understanding where we are as a company. They should talk to an expert to understand what is possible. At least that should be the primary aspect when you're defining your strategy for future. What are the different levels of personalization possible because you can start with a simple segmentation versus hyper-segmentation versus a customer-level interaction, which is hyper personalization. So that part needs to be defined. And another important aspect is defining a success criteria.

What are you trying to achieve in short term and long term? How would you test that performance of the system you're building? When you're getting data for these initiatives, it is very important to prioritize it beforehand. That means you need to have analytics team involved, while identifying which data sets are important and which channels are important, where you are going to interact with the customer because for personalization, the channel should also have a capability to connect with the consumer at a consumer level, that means at a personalized level, because if you are choosing channels where you don't have direct access to individual customer, so your message cannot be personalized in that sense. So these are some of the aspects they need to keep in mind and make a strategy and then they should go for any kind of actual execution.

“That means you need to have analytics team involved while identifying which data sets are important and which channels are important, where you are going to interact with the customer …”
Rahul Kumar Singh, Sigmoid

Rajagopal: Thanks Rahul. We're coming up on time. I'm just going to run through this slide quickly. And then I'll finish up with one last question before we close out. And I'm just going to encourage everyone keep submitting your questions. There are definitely quite a few in here that will be great for us to follow-up through email. I know there's a lot of questions around the data in particular. So we'll definitely get back to you once we conclude here. So just keep putting those questions in the Q&A box. So on this last slide there's a lot to unpack.

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There's the rise of digital, there's DTC and e-commerce. Starting with digital transformation for marketing we found that it's all about doing more with less. Since marketing budgets are typically the first to go when hit with something like a pandemic or a big disruption, along with real estate and travel. So according to Gartner's 2021 CMO spend survey, the amount of company revenue allocated to marketing across industries fell from an average of 11% in 2020 to 6.4 in 2021.

And that's the lowest turnout in the history of the Gartner survey. That said consumer goods have the smallest budget decline. And most marketing budgets were spent on pure-play digital channels at 72%. So before I move on from digital, Rahul, I just want to bring you in here for this question, with digital marketing spend, hopefully starting to increase again, is marketing attribution to challenge or how are CG companies measuring and optimizing their marketing ROI?

Singh: I think it's a big challenge primarily for faster insight. So typically, there are very few providers of marketing attribution reports in the market. And they also take a lot of time. So inflight optimization of campaigns is the hardest problem specifically, if you're trying to optimize it from a revenue perspective, not from a viewability, or clicks perspective or reach. So there are faster metrics that most of the companies use.

But if you're actually trying to understand impact on revenue then it's a hard problem. And also it's very costly. So some of the brands are not able to use it because the reports you will buy from the market is hard. We solve some of those problems with our consumer biddable clients by using their internal data sets. And giving them reports which are faster updating and they can do in flight optimization. But it's a quite challenging problem to solve.

Rajagopal: I'm just going to finish up here to talk more about e-commerce and et cetera. And I want to bring in Ivonne, Mary and Meng just to finish up here, there's a quote on that previous slide from one of our executive council members and she says, "There's a myth that social commerce is a buying channel. It's not a buying channel is a discovery channel we're buying is now made possible and you close the funnel." And the other quote that was on there is from Forrester CMO practice that starts with, "Everything that can be shoppable is becoming shoppable." So Ivonne, if I could start with you when it comes to e-commerce and DTC what are you doing at AFM to prepare for this future of commerce where everything is shoppable?

Kinser: That's an interesting question especially for us because like I said before we don't sell anything, but we still have e-commerce and an e-commerce group under my department. And what we do is... when you say those quotes, I will say yes to everything, even if it's conflicting terms because from our perspective, yes, everything is shoppable and social media even can trigger purchase considerations and even a TV spot can trigger purchase consideration. And for brands like us, for example, where we cannot establish an attribute because there's no possibility to attribute dollars invested to ROI in the fresh produce industry, we do believe that anything that we do to inspire the consumers on our platforms is going to ultimately drive sales. And one example, that I can give specifically is how we can enable e-commerce even though the transaction doesn't happen on our platform. All our recipes in our website are shoppable. And we bring the right technology. So when the consumers are inspired by a recipe on our website, they can click automatically, add all those ingredients of that recipe into to the carts of any retailer they prefer.

And these technologies help us to create those bridges and then they purchase from Walmart, Kroger, any retailer they want. But we as a brand are an enabler of e-commerce, even though the transaction doesn't happen on the platform. But we invest in research to understand the purchasing habits, the path to purchase, we understand the triggers, we even - just to close, as an example of the way we're doing things for the Super Bowl for example, we have a TV spot, but we also have a very robust campaign.

And for the past years, the poll [inaudible] they measure the lift and purchase consideration of all the brands that participate in the Super Bowl with a TV spot, and Avocados From Mexico has been several times the top one brand in terms of this the statistical increase of purchase consideration two months after the Super Bowl. So that is a proof that even though we cannot measure dollar by dollar the attributes or the ROI we are driving sales with or Visa labor force and our marketing efforts.

Rajagopal: Definitely, I know I can't say the name without thinking of the jingle. It's very sticky. Mary, if I could bring you in here. I know Cuisinart has been in the news lately, with the DTC focus as we've been covering it. So if you could what are you doing at Cuisinart to prepare for the future of commerce? And I'll add how can CGs get started since you've been through many implementations?

Rodgers: Well, I would say one of the things that you need to do to be successful is have the right people on the team and also have buy in. We've integrated platforms to help our sales team, then we have to bring in the head of the sales division to make sure that everybody understands that this is going to happen and it's going to be successful and then understand the benefits to the business. I would also say one of the things that we did this year, when it comes to attribution is to take point of sale data from our retailers, like in a raw format, integrated into a platform - we happen to use Domo.

And then what we're doing is we're able to then tie all of the back end of our website to understand when we're executing on media, whether it be digital or TV. And we can actually start attributing the spend that we're doing against the specific products in the pages. So we're also doing a lot of work around consumer journey mapping. And there's so many, so many areas. And then lastly I would also say when you had the quote about social media, it's discoverable versus shoppable. I agree any channel is shoppable basically. I would also say that for us we're saying discoverable we say inspirational. We're inspiring customers and we're using content to inspire customers to them.

In the end, the goal is to buy the product, right? But I would also say as someone who's heading up a marketing department who is making decisions on where we're spending our resources I want to get to the point where we can ROI email marketing, ROI we are a positive, ROI in that area. But trying to understand the ton of money that we're spending on influencers, and digital and social and all the support needed to build all that content. What is it driving for the customer and so we're finding new ways to use the influencers to then obviously inspire their network to purchase our products and have obviously user generated and also integrate user generated content.

So those are the areas I would say my best advice as far as integration of technology is you really have to have everybody on board, somebody has to be the captain. And I would also say lastly I'm involved in everything. I am right there with everybody. When it's time to roll up sleeves, I roll up my sleeves, and we do what we have to do but it's hard work. And a lot of times I hate to say this, but a lot of times people avoid it, which is just mind blowing to me. I think sometimes when there's a lot of heavy lifting due people are like, "Oh, my God, I don't want even go near that." So you have a lot of courage and determination.

Rajagopal: Yep. Just get started. And Meng just quickly, how do you prepare for the future of commerce?

Li: I think it's about; I think consumers want/expect that everything is shoppable and they can buy anything they want wherever they are. And that's not just necessarily sales channel but then communication platforms, what apps they're on. I think it's about for brands figuring out how do you reduce friction? Because for every point of a transition, or a friction point you're going to reduce conversion will drop. So figuring out I think it's obviously, social media platforms are investing a ton of resources to make their platforms where you can buy directly within their platform without going to a brand's site.

But I think it's also for brands looking at their marketing channels, and how do you design and optimize your channels so that you don't have to get people to leave the way where they are right now. So how do you make your email shoppable? How do you make SMS shoppable customer service interactions? How is every single touch point also a conversion moment and a sales channel as well?

Rajagopal: Well, I want to thank you all again, Yvonne, Mary, Meng, Rahul. Thank you so much for giving us your subject matter expertise for today. I'd also like to thank Sigmoid for sponsoring today's webinar. And finally thank you to our attendees for devoting some of your very valuable time to be with us today as well. So we hope you found it worthwhile. The webinar recording will be available on demand shortly on consumergoods.com. So thank you all again everyone and enjoy the rest of your day.

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Li: Thank you.

Rodgers: Thank you

Singh: Thank you.