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
- 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?
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:
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.”
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.
RGM Isn’t Too Complex for AI — The Tech Just Needs to Be Demystified
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
Time to Party!
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.
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.”