Profile: Jason Prowse, Associate Director, Insights & Planning, Iovate Health Sciences International
Jason Prowse says he ended up in his current role in the best possible way. He gained cross-functional experience in sales, category management, brand management and market intelligence through different industries such as engineering, alcoholic beverages, health and hygiene, and nutrition and well-being. He had to adapt and understand the drivers of each, so he learned to start with insights and analysis even before he really knew they were a discipline.
Please describe your current role.
PROWSE: I lead two teams under one banner – category and consumer insights and financial analytics – that provide an overall perspective on the consumers, market, competitors and ourselves. The team provides the why’s and the how’s that inform business decisions and actions, including working with our partner customers, annual planning, business performance measurement, innovation development and more.
How do insights, analytics and data fit into your organization?
PROWSE: Iovate is undergoing a transformation from entrepreneurial success to publicly held global CPG player, partnering with the biggest retailers in the world, so insights and analytics have become an important function. We are establishing ourselves as industry knowledge leaders, bolstering our 20-plus years of company experience with a suite of insights tools and learning. We’ve also increased resources against analytics and reporting, automation and data visualization. Lastly, our leadership has mandated that insights and data be the driver behind every business decision.
What are some of the key skills required to excel in market intelligence?
PROWSE: Having an open mind, adaptability and resourcefulness are critical to market intelligence. In our industry true measures like co-operated market data are not always available. To be successful, I’ve had to find ways to bridge data gaps and then validate. What’s also important is to not allow oneself to work in brand or retailer silos. Considering both and adding macroeconomics and the consumer view allows for better understanding of risks and opportunities.
What emerging technology and techniques does your team leverage at Iovate Health Sciences?
PROWSE: We’ve recently added many tools and resources, which are new to us, but probably standard for top-tier CPG firms. However, it’s exciting to bring in data visualization, social media listening, marketing measurement, intelligent algorithms to streamline big data, and regressive modeling. We’re looking ahead to using AI to help map out the increasingly complex consumer journeys.
Are any recent trends significantly impacting your team’s work?
PROWSE: The trend toward omnichannel and e-commerce shopping is broadening the scope of the analysis we do. E-commerce market data must be accounted for in almost everything we look at, but that comes with its own complexity with both a lack of data in total market measurement but also an abundance of data on the path to purchase and the “endless aisle.” Omnichannel strategy needs to be a part of most of our recommendations as well since shoppers blend between online and offline modes. Lastly, understanding channel shifting is more important with online search, advertising, and sales expanding and social media opening new avenues for network marketing and direct-to-consumer.
What’s the biggest challenge facing insights?
PROWSE: Volume of data and its meaning pose a challenge on how many resources can and should be applied to analyzing it all. There is a temptation to look toward “shiny new objects” or the latest and greatest tools and services, many of which really are outstanding and ingenious. But the core that we must come back to is which data and analysis will be most useful to us to make the right decisions.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work?
PROWSE: Providing the other business functions with market data and meaningful analysis that helps improve their business. Often, we get challenges from sales or brand on why a retailer or brand should go in a certain direction, which we answer with data and applicable strategy. Watching the “aha” moments as our colleagues realize something they had not seen or known before is great and lets us know that what we do makes the difference.