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11/11/2022

Everywhere Commerce: Back in Action LIVE at the Consumer Goods Sales & Marketing Summit

Influential leaders and leading brand executives from across the globe gathered on October 26-28 for the Consumer Goods Sales & Marketing Summit (CGSM). 

Held in iconic New York City, inside the Westin Grand Central, CGT explored the theme of “Everywhere Commerce” across three jam-packed days, with executives and experts touching on topics such as the shifting landscape of DTC, the art and science of loyalty, the future of first-party data, and more. 

We’re excited to provide highlights from all sessions below, with links to some of our expanded coverage. 

Wednesday, October 26

 

Workshop: Everywhere Commerce in a Post Pandemic World

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CGSM workshop
CGSM kicks off with an interactive workshop to identify the new commerce landscape.

The 2022 Consumer Goods Sales & Marketing Summit got its official start with an interactive workshop hosted in partnership with Infosys Equinox. Conversations centered around identifying today’s new customers in a new commerce landscape — and the digital journeys, strategies, and methodologies they needed to explore for growth and success, particularly with social media. 

Participants included Jeron Christensen, VP of strategy and innovation, Nu Skin Enterprises, and Justin Honaman, head, worldwide business development, consumer products, food and beverage, AWS. From the Infosys Equinox team, Amit Kalley, CEO; Khurram Khan, CTO; Kunal Puri, VP and head of customer success; and Rahul Ubgade, AVP, group manager, client services, led a discussion covering numerous trends. 

Among them: 

Getting CX right is more important than ever: The experiences the consumers are having are the same experiences that consumers are creating on TikTok and Instagram, and expectations are high.   

The real value is found in combining data sources: Being able to stitch together data from social platforms and other sources means that when manufacturers are having conversations with their retailers, they can know infinitely more about the consumer. 

Focus is crucial in weighing trade spend with digital spend: Brands can’t be everywhere, and things are getting more fragmented in terms of the places one can be, particularly in social. 

Share Groups Get CGSM Attendees Talking

    Better, Faster Decision Making In an "Everywhere Commerce" World

    In this closed-door, peer-to-peer forum for CG executives, an interactive 90-minute session provided attendees with an education in decision intelligence and its potential to drive impact across the consumer goods industry. As part of this, they also engaged in group discussions about their business challenges. 

    The entirety of the discussion was rooted in a fundamental focus on the idea that decisions are, one, the most important asset of a company, and, two, not abstract but rather measurable systems 

    To set up the conversation, members were surveyed on their decision intelligence maturity, with results benchmarked against the group and the industry. They then split into groups to explore three questions: 

    • What is a typical consumer goods company’s greatest decision-making strength? 
    • What is the most stubborn weakness?
    • What is the easiest opportunity for improvement?
    Choose Your Own Sales & Marketing Aventure!

    The Choose Your Own Sales & Marketing Adventure! Share Group was a closed-door, peer-to-peer forum for consumer goods executives. 

    Throughout this interactive 90-minute session, participants engaged in deep discussions, identifying opportunities related to revenue management, and discussing potential actions and goals required to achieve them.

    They detailed the KPIs best used to measure success, the challenges in their way, and the breakthroughs they’ve experienced at their own companies.

    While the conversations focused on the topic of revenue management, participants touched on several other key areas that all work together alongside their goals: dynamic pricing, the role of data, optimizing assortment, and more.

    The discussion quickly shifted toward data being the key to not only solving for revenue management, but tying in the goals across several other business functions and centralizing insights for a more streamlined, cohesive strategy.

Thursday, October 27

 

Shifting From Consumer to Human Thinking

Pascal Houdayer, chief executive officer of Orveon Global — producer of brands like bareMinerals, Laura Mercier, and Buxom — delivered on his promise to be provocative at our Consumer Goods Sales & Marketing Summit. 

During “Everywhere Commerce: Engaging Today’s Consumer From Interaction to Transaction,” Houdayer challenged the industry to rethink terms that have long been an intrinsic part of the CPG conversation — namely referring to those who purchase our products as “consumers.”

“We need to move from transaction to humanism,” he said. “Do you think that people like to be called consumers? They hate that. They are not consumers, they are human.”

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Pascal Houdayer, chief executive officer of Orveon Global
Keynote: Pascal Houdayer, CEO, Orveon Global

As human needs and lifestyles shift, they are looking for more before committing to a purchase. They want to know who is behind the company, and there are several strategies Houdayer highlighted for achieving relationships based on trust and transparency. 

  • Implication on tone of voice: How do you speak to them? How can we connect with the end-consumer in a way that is human? This means not imposing on the human what we think. 
  • Benevolent activism: “I want to make sure what I put on them is good for their skin,” said Houdayer. It’s not just about carbon footprints, it's about the health of human beings.
  • Impactful offerings: Evolve offerings from product to service then to experience. “People don’t buy a product in a plastic bottle on your shelf,” said Houdayer. They buy their dream. They buy the emotional benefit. 

Also of importance is organizing the business in a modern way. The top-down hierarchy no longer wins. 

“With the Orveon ecosystem, it’s very agile; it's like a flower with petals. The brands, the markets, the core functions…they are co-owning one process,” said Houdayer.

The advantages, he said, are cost effectiveness, agility, and speed. “Consumers want access to you.”

The Art and Science of Loyalty Requires a Happy Marriage With Consumers

There are two often conflicting points of views in the effort to build consumer loyalty: "How do I get the most amount of revenue out of my consumer," queried Imteaz Ahamed, director of performance marketing for baby formula-maker Reckitt, "and deliver the products they actually need?"

Earning both maximum revenue and lifelong loyalty from customers is no longer a tricky and often conflicting balancing act, but in this new era of data-driven product development, branding, and marketing, is now the expected result for all brands, according to Ahamed and his fellow panelists on the The Art and Science of Consumer Loyalty panel.

Panelist Ahamed — and Ravi Parmeswar, VP and chief analytics officer for Johnson & Johnson; Mark Edmonson, CMO of Materne North America, Gogo SqueeZ.; and moderator Andy Walter, strategic advisor and longtime Procter & Gamble IT leader, now retired — acknowledged that success is no longer measured by individual products and sales, or about collecting, analyzing, and exploiting consumer data, but the need to provide a 360-degree view of both products and experiences that keep consumers returning to a brand, to not only create loyal customers but brand evangelists. 

Read the extended coverage here.

RGM Isn’t Too Complex for AI — The Tech Just Needs to Be Demystified

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From L to R:  Ujjwal Sehgal, Mars, Inc.; Aakarsh Kishore, The Math Company; David Miracle, The Match Company
From L to R: Ujjwal Sehgal, Mars, Inc.; Aakarsh Kishore, The Math Company; David Miracle, The Math Company

Setting the right pace and being dynamic with pricing strategies is key, particularly as the industry continues to evolve during and post-pandemic, said panelists during the “Is RGM Too Complex for AI” session at CGSM. 

According to Aakarsh Kishore, partner and head of customer success at The Math Company, the pandemic and the current state of inflation has created a lot of pressure on pricing and measurement, and understanding how to push promotions and offset some of these pressures is key.

David Miracle, associate principal at The Math Company, said this is where AI can help. 

There are, however, several questions on the table. Ujjwal Sehgal, who focuses on data science, machine learning, and advanced analytics at Mars, Inc., said there’s a lot of uncertainty about how to tackle AI. 

“What is the value? How am I going to implement it? Getting the most localized data and overlaying that into overall analytics is really important. How do I make it easy for consumption?”

A company can have the world’s most complex AI model, Sehgal said, but if the business doesn’t understand it, it’s going to go straight into the trash can. 

Sehgal said not enough companies are spending time making AI easy to understand across the enterprise, and that’s where the opportunity lies. 

“Before you invest in AI, invest in common sense,” he said. “People are so driven by the buzzword that they think it's a magic wand that will solve everything. But if you don't know how to use it, it's all just numbers at the end of the day.”

Additionally, AI efforts shouldn’t be siloed, Kishore emphasized. There should be strong executive and stakeholder buy-in, “bringing end-users into the mix, leveraging solutions partnerships, and mixing in internal and external capabilities to kickstart the journey.”

“There’s a lot of consensus building that needs to happen,” added Kishore.  

How The Pandemic Unexpectedly Shifted Consumer Behavior

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Khurram Moiz presenting
BlueConic's Khurram Moiz, Lead Principal for Retail Success.

How consumers shopped for products and engaged with brands was not only permanently disrupted by the pandemic, but accelerated investments in new first-party data strategies and technologies. But what pandemic lessons might consumer product companies be missing?

During his "Pandemic-Driven Shifts in Consumer Behavior and the Role 1P Data Plays in Everywhere" panel, Khurram Moiz, BlueConic's lead principal for retail customer success, noted that the pandemic revealed a lot about what's working for companies and what’s not. 

“Companies that were able to be agile, to rapidly shift gears to on board new capabilities, or change the way they were behaving … actually created a competitive differentiation."

Moiz detailed the surprising post-pandemic surge in brick-and-mortar retail expansion, the increased importance in integrating omnichannel online and offline data, rising consumer and regulatory first-party data privacy and trust issues, and the rapid growth in social media commerce. 

But, he observed, "consumers know we've got all this data, but what is its purpose? Do we have a cohesive understanding from an organizational perspective in terms of the right value propositions both for ourselves and our consumers?"

Winning Customers in an Omnichannel World: A Data & Analytics Perspective

What does it mean to win customers in an omnichannel world? The topic was discussed at CGSM, with Deepak Jose, global head and senior director of ODDA Analytics Solutions, Mars Wrigley, and Dipita Chakraborty, chief practice officer, CPG, Fractal, taking us through the journey. 

Chakraborty said we always talk about being consumer-centric; that the consumer is the only channel that matters. “But how do we understand the journey? How do we understand emotional markers to decode shoppable micro moments? Where can you take your data?”

These are all questions worth digging into, as all decisions are interlinked now, she said. 

The complexity of this omnichannel world poses challenges, introducing multiple touchpoints as brands compete with pure-play e-commerce companies, brick-and-mortars, aggregators, and more. 

“We have to make sure our search works, our social, our content, and reviews,” emphasized  Jose. “We cannot work in a silo.”

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Deepak Jose, global head and senior director of ODDA Analytics Solutions, Mars Wrigley, and Dipita Chakraborty, chief practice officer, CPG, Fractal
L to R: Deepak Jose, Global Head and Senior Director of ODDA Analytics Solutions, Mars Wrigley; Dipita Chakraborty, Chief Practice Officer, CPG, Fractal

Here’s where technology and analytics come in. Jose said connected capabilities can break through these silos and drive better decision-making.

“We have broadly classified decisions that can be automated and decisions that require human interaction,” he said. “Analytics should not be about generating insights from data but used instead to drive actions.”

The companies have joined forces on the AI front to achieve these goals. Together, Fractal and Mars Wrigley have created an AI code of conduct focused on the following. 

  • Governance to ensure fair AI models
  • Inclusion and diversity in talent
  • Privacy, security, and ethical collection of data
  • Sustainable use of resources
  • Test and learn mindset
  • Ensuring transparent and explainable AI products

Challenges remain, however. Traditional approaches and a lack of AI education across teams often lead companies to put the brakes on progress. 

“Unless we can challenge the orthodox mindset that is sometimes hundreds of years old, we need courage to challenge the status quo,” said Jose. 

The Consumerization of Commerce in CPG

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Pablo Nill, Sr. IT Product Group Manager, Nestle
Pablo Nill, Sr. IT Product Group Manager, Nestle

It's going to be an interactive session, Harris Fogel, global vice president, consumer products, SAP, said as he kicked off “Nestle: The Consumerization of Commerce in CPG”  and that it was. 

With so many questions from the audience that the session ran over time, it seems plenty were interested to hear how the brand is innovating with B2B commerce to deliver a unified one-stop-shop experience for customers and distributors at a global level.

Pablo Nill, senior IT product group manager, Nestle, spoke to the crowd about how the end-to-end capability drives significant efficiencies for Nestle and its channel partners.

Nill showcased how Nestle moved from internal focus and efficiency to a customer-centric journey. “We believed it was important to give our customers something, not just the ability to place orders.” He showed the Nestle customer portal to the audience, explaining how the end-to-end portal allows customer experiences to be shaped by their journeys.

The portal he showcased includes:

  • 34 live market/categories
  • 40-plus brands 
  • 5,000-plus active customers using the platform
  • 25-plus new features available (new claims, FAQ chatbots, analytics)

Fogel noted that the portal provides 24-hour access to the Nestle products, which allows the company the option to serve those points of sale where the consumer is, rather than sending a sales rep out. “It gives you that consumerization of the B2B commerce,” he said.

One of the questions raised was, if a sales rep used to come in and put the product in, is there resistance to that and ordering online? Nill said it varies in markets, but where people are used to e-commerce, they think it’s great. In Europe they are still resistant to e-commerce a bit, he noted.

“Customers that are small have all the benefits of a big customer,” said Nill, including 24-7 availability, as well as they don’t have to wait to talk to Nestle on the phone. This is a huge benefit for the company, he said, because they’ve decreased their order time. The portal also provides plenty of customer data.

He noted this is the problem of many companies. They have a ton of data and if you ask, “how are you going to use it?” they say “oh we don’t know yet.”

“We are sitting on a gold mine of data, we don’t know how to use it yet,” said Nill.

Combe International: A Case Study In Immersive Transformation

For large companies with vast resources, adopting modern digital technologies and techniques to create immersive consumer experiences is more of a challenge of execution than capability. Smaller CPGs need to more strategically place their technology investment bets, tailor unique approaches, target channels, and build cross-channel consistency to successfully build a consistent and immersive brand experience.

For Danielle Maurici-Arnone, global chief digital and technology officer for Combe International, makers of Just for Men and Vagisil, building an immersive experience all centers on the human connection and their experience with the product. 

“Being immersive, with this idea of everywhere commerce, starts with consumer insight and the human need to address concerns that people don't often really want to talk about, which is what we've become experts in," Maurici-Arnone told Albert Guffanti, CGT VP and group publisher, during a fireside chat at the Consumer Goods Sales & Marketing Summit. 

"How do you leverage that expertise in a way that drives loyalty, that drives engagement?" she asked.

Read the extended coverage here.

Scaling Foresight and Driving Impact Across the Organization

In a thought-provoking presentation, Kalindi Mehta, VP, consumer foresight and predictive analytics at The Estee Lauder Companies, illuminated the concept of foresight and its value in driving change across the enterprise. More than just an abstract term, foresight is a capability that must be embedded within the company in order to truly meet the needs of both the consumers of today and tomorrow.  

“Foresight is not just about five, 10 years from now — it’s about delivering the now,” said Mehta. Within the beauty industry, for example, what’s happening in business is directly correlated to what’s happening on TikTok. “It’s not enough to react to the trend — you have to create the trend.” 

A foresight team within a company must serve as the spark of imagination. It cannot be a single bullet point or a single person; instead, it must be built as a function in a hub-and-spoke model. What’s more, foresight is not simply about innovation, as it extends to even pricing and omnichannel. For example, foresight can be used to layer behavioral science into CRM data to predict what people are likely to do on a website. 

“It’s about using multiple sources of data,” noted Mehta. “It’s not just about consumer understanding, but you have to look at the consumer as a human being — what are they doing in their lives? …  It’s not just dashboards and reports, but about storytelling to inspire and impact.”  

Friday, October 28

 

What is the State of CPG Marketing?

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L to R: Danica Konetski, Treasure Data, Himanshu Shukla, Genpact; Anil Khanduja, HCLTech
L to R: Danica Konetski, Treasure Data; Himanshu Shukla, Genpact; Anil Khanduja, HCLTech

At CGT's "Everywhere Commerce" Consumer Goods Sales & Marketing Summit breakfast panel, four marketers voiced their views on the current and future state of first party data-driven consumer-centric CPG marketing.

"Stop thinking of consumers as consumers," insisted Himanshu Shukla, SVP at Genpact. "They are humans. Think about how a human will use that data, and what did he expect as an experience?"

"Folks are more confident that they can direct their time, attention, and money to brands that deliver that seamless connected experience or the experience they want," agreed Danica Konetski, Treasure Data’s consumer industry principal. "We have to meet them where they are. When you don't, it can be devastating."

"We are gonna have to find ways to reach consumers differently," advised Scott Anderson, chief revenue officer for Hivery. "It's not just reaching those humans where they are, but the importance of leveraging multiple different technologies to be able to do that."

"Whichever way you get to the consumer…is something that we should all be thinking about,” summarized Anil Khanduja, SVP of HCLTech. "Whether it is through the metaverse, through avatars, through customer service, through aftersales…how do you make customers more loyal and appreciative of what you have produced?"

How to Get Leadership Buy-In on Emerging Retail Media Opportunities

The retail media space can be a daunting environment for consumer goods executives who face challenges in leadership buy-in. Particularly as new, untested digital media opportunities emerge, corporate leaders are looking for firm evidence of success before investing massive budgets. 

But instead of being pulled back by the unknown, panelists at the “Betting on Future Media” session see only opportunity, shedding light on how to budget and measure investments and success in retail media, and how to communicate the value of targeted marketing and deep data insights to decision-makers. 

Part of formulating a winning retail media strategy is accepting its current uncertainty. Panelists repeatedly advocated for holistic approaches that include buy-ins and data sharing from marketing and sales departments, retailers, and other strategic partners — all of which helps speed retail media decisions and investments. 

"We can't do this alone," asserted Abhishek Ahluwalia, global e-commerce director, commercial strategy, and growth, for Mondelēz International. "Some of the partners, even some potentially here in this room, could help us connect the dots. There are still a lot of unknowns. We're still prioritizing agility over getting it perfectly right. Again, we're not perfect, we are on a journey."

Read the extended coverage here.

Pricing in an Anywhere Commerce World 

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Pricing in the Anywhere Commerce World panel
From L to R: Rob Hand, Hand Promotion Management; Craig Price, Distell; Peter Hall, Kraft Heinz Company; Justin Balke, Florida's Natural Growers

In today’s inflationary environment, there may be no more important task than getting pricing right. During the “Pricing in the Everywhere Commerce World” panel discussion, a trio of consumer goods manufacturers shared varying perspectives and strategies about how their companies are navigating the difficult landscape without alienating their retail partners or consumers. 

Moderated by Rob Hand, CEO, Hand Promotion Management, the panel included Peter Hall, president, away from home and Kraft Heinz Ingredients, Kraft Heinz Company; Craig Price, head of sales centre of excellence, Distell; and Justin Balke, senior manager, sales finance, Florida's Natural Growers

While their customers may vary, the group agreed that the “peanut butter” approach of applying promotions or pricing in a one-size-fits-all manner no longer cuts it. 

“We need to think about — and I think it's something that we need to challenge ourselves on and challenge retailers on — is how do we price differently for different consumers at different moments,” said Hall. “Consumers shopping at club are very different from consumers shopping in dollar stores. We need to treat them differently, and we need to have a very clear strategy, whether that’s price pack architecture [or something else]. We need to have that conversation with the retailers.” 

How DTC Is Shifting Beyond Online Shopping

Direct to consumer (DTC) isn't just another sales channel anymore, but an essential way to engage with consumers and collect valuable first-party data and insights right from the source. But how and why should B2B CPGs deploy DTC programs to strengthen consumer relationships, test new products, and build brand identity, but avoid conflicts with their retailers? 

These issues were the primary focus of the "No Channel Left Behind: How DTC Is Shifting Beyond Online Shopping" panel.

Panelists Carter Jensen, senior manager for global commerce innovation for General Mills; Mohamed Al Lawati, director digital and e-commerce for bread-maker Bimbo Canada; and Joel Layton, e-commerce, marketing and digital strategy VP for watch-maker Shinola, stressed that not only should DTC not be seen as a replacement for or competition with other channels, but not even provide a measurable return on investment. 

Read the extended coverage here.

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