Sales and Marketing Strategies That Begin and End With the Consumer

Now in its 17th year, CGT’s annual Consumer Goods Sales & Marketing Summit aimed to help CGs navigate the most disrupted landscape in modern history. Perhaps more relevant today than ever before, the most successful brands are putting one thing at the center of everything they do: the consumer.

The two-day virtual experience Dec. 8-9 was packed full of inspiring keynotes, educational content and info about valuable solutions from our partners.

Insight was delivered from a unique collection of some of today’s most influential figures in the consumer goods and retail industries worldwide. Content centered around consumer-obsessed innovation was featured to help businesses plot their roadmap for today’s unprecedented sales and marketing landscape. 

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 — you can still register to watch and explore the virtual summit as much as you’d like until Jan. 6.


Opening Keynote: Strength in Numbers; Tapping into Innovative Partnerships

To explore how the CG and retail industries can collaborate and do their part to help make sustainability a reality, CGT brought together thought leaders from across CG, retail and the solution provider sector to kick off CGSM 2020. 

Tom Szaky, founder and CEO, TerraCycle; Maxence de Royer, VP strategy, business development and sustainability, Nestlé; and Giles Bolton, responsible sourcing director, Tesco [pictured above] joined CGT/RIS editor-in-chief Tim Denman for a panel discussion entitled “Strength in Numbers; Tapping into Innovative Partnerships.”

The panelists discussed how they are collaborating to offer innovative sustainability solutions to consumers to greatly reduce CG and retail packaging. 

Click here to read expanded coverage of this presentation.


Georgia-Pacific Pushes Their Digital Transformation Strategy Through Co-Innovation

Georgia-Pacific business process lead Chad Watson talked to Pete Charette, SAP global solution owner, consumer products, about how creating a virtuous cycle of mutual benefits occurring through preferred partnerships can result in long-term growth.

The consumer goods company, which includes such brands as Angel Soft, Brawny and Quilted Northern in its portfolio, has embarked on a digital transformation that includes integrating the SAP TPM trade management tool. Through this, it’s generated long-term profitable growth via experimental discovery, in which the two companies work collectively to find the best solutions by sharing broad-based cross knowledge.

It also allows Georgia-Pacific to have a risk-taking mentality in which it can try something nine times that might fail, but remain confident that 10th time will succeed, Watson said. Teaming with the solutions provider minimizes the likelihood it will fail upfront while increase the likelihood it will have a successful venture much sooner.

Georgia-Pacific has had to manage wild demand shifts during the beginning of the health crisis, and Watson explained some of the ways the company was able to successfully navigate them. For one thing, it partially came down to focusing “on the blocking and tackling.” 

“We’ve dedicated a lot for resources to supply chain management and trade promotion management to make sure we’re optimizing value wherever we can, and get as much products to retailers and consumers as possible,” he noted.

Charette also shared insight about the different levels of maturity of investment in trade claims management across the consumer goods industry, noting that it varies based on region.

“Some are pen and paper, and there are some really mature markets,” he said. “You can get more value quicker in those larger markets — but it really depends — and some markets have different characteristics that provide more data.”


Less Is More: How Tech Accelerates and Monetizes Brand Intelligence

Traditional approaches for gathering consumer insights are often complex, time consuming and expensive, and rarely yield actionable data. They can also be inaccurate, with the gap between reality and research findings growing. With the COVID crisis, the need to challenge the status quo and think about new ways of doing things more efficiently is accelerating. In this session, Franck Sarrazit, senior XM (experience management) scientist for Qualtrics, talked about how to accelerate tech to monetize brand intelligence.

First, Sarrazit had his eyes on 2021, which is right around the corner. He dove into how there is a unique opportunity for brands to explore ideas after the onset of COVID-19 changing consumer behavior (which has been changed forever). 

Next, he focused on the five stages of the global COVID-19 response [see image below]. There was some denial at first, but tools were developed to keep an eye on the pulse of employees and consumers. Then they evolved to survival, and CG brands pivoted to e-commerce and DTC to meet shoppers where there was consumption.

Next, Sarrazit shifted to getting the people and the experiences right, and why brand matters even more. “Without people, there’s no market,” he said. The circumstances have forced consumers to really look into what they’re buying. They are sensitive to what is happening in the environment right now.

The pandemic has become a moment for brands to re-establish themselves in new ways for the future and putting people at the core of this is crucial. “We need to keep reminding ourselves that without people, there is no market. …. If you only think of your brand as an exchange of dollars, it’s a myopic view. People see your brands as a conduit into themselves.” 

So, how can CG brands answer? By building simple brand intelligence systems. Technology enables companies to unify multiple data sources for a simplified, actionable view. The result is a clear and quantitative understanding of what drives brand growth, and a higher return on the market research investment. Don’t start by reacting, but “start connecting the dots through technology," while “less is more," Sarrazit cautioned. 


Revenue Growth Management Share Group – RGM Maturity Assessment, Part 2 

Where does your organization stand on Integrated Business Planning? 

That is just one of the questions posed in this second part of the Share Group meetings in 2020. The group first reviewed the CPG RGM framework and its continuum, before diving into integrated business planning and consensus forecast to explore organizational maturity. It is at this stage in the promotion planning lifecycle when the alignment from sales, finance and supply chain are most critical, as they drive commercial plans.

Through a series of poll questions, participants assessed their own organizations’ maturity on that journey, in order to outline the next steps on their roadmaps. Click here to read a more in-depth recap of the meeting from the Group's host, UpClear. Additionally, if you are interested in joining this Share Group, please contact Albert Guffanti, [email protected]


Closing Keynote: From the Frontlines of Convenience: How to 'Win with Winners'

Convenience chain Yesway is determined to make its way during this turbulent time with a relentless focus on its brand promise of keeping stores going 24/7.

In order to succeed on this mission, the four-year-old chain has made great strides to protect its associates and its customers in part by rewarding certain desired behaviors, chief marketing officer Derek Gaskins shared in the Consumer Goods Sales and Marketing Summit keynote, “From the Frontlines of Convenience: How to ‘Win with Winners.’”

Click here to read expanded coverage of this presentation. 



Opening Keynote: CG Brands Leading From the Front With E-Commerce

If there can be a universally accepted truth in today’s consumer goods industry, it’s that the pandemic has served as e-commerce rocket fuel. And while the panel of e-com experts who convened at the Summit all brought varying perspectives, it was agreed that the brands able to seize this digital moment will be the ones that maintain a competitive advantage moving forward — and that it requires a true team effort to get there.  

Moderated by Innovationedge CEO Cheryl Perkins, the panel included Lee Bogner, Mars global e-commerce architecture leader and strategist; Surabhi Pokhriyal, global director e-commerce acceleration, Johnson & Johnson; and Claudia Fenske, WD-40 Company sales director.

Click here to read expanded coverage of this presentation. 

How Whirlpool Achieves Its Perfect Store Ambitions

Consumer products companies can no longer rely on the strength of their brand alone. In order to connect with modern consumers and build customer loyalty, they need to deliver the right products at the right place and time.

Whirlpool, one of the world’s largest household appliance manufacturers, shared how it creates the perfect store with intelligent sales tools that turn its sales reps into trusted advisors.

Mauro Gaeta, go-to-market solution architect, Whirlpool EMEA, was joined by Simon Dechent, global center of excellence lead, sales cloud retail execution, SAP SE, to explore the challenges Whirlpool faces in today’s retail environment and how through the innovative use of technology it has increased sales rep productivity as well as store performance.

Dechent kicked off the session with a discussion on market trends in the CG industry with a focus on advances in go-to-market strategies and technologies, and why now is the time to take a long-hard look at your retail execution capabilities.

“There are big changing happening right now in the market,” Dechent said. “We have the COVID-19 situation as well as a big shift in technology. But it is not so much about a perfect store application as it is about the mindset of the perfect store.”

After Deschent set the landscape and reviewed some of the biggest challenges and opportunities in the current marketplace, he turned the virtual mic over to Gaeta. He explored how Whirlpool is leveraging new technologies to improve store execution and streamline its sales process and back-end data management.

“We come from a fragmented situation,” he said. “We had more than 30 different approaches to crucial processes like trade and promotions. We decided to invest in these areas because sales intelligence is quite important. We implemented a new system to standardize and improve the system in the sales area. Now sales reps can see everything they need to manage the customer relationship in one place.”

The new solution allows Whirlpool to more efficiently manage its relationship with its retail customers, which in turn improves the in-store experience for consumers, leading to greater engagement and increased sales. 

Consumer Product Brands Are Moving Closer to Consumers

Getting closer to the consumer has never been more important. That’s why Paul Smith, SAP CX global industry principal, brought trends, insights and a handy DTC playbook to this session, in order to share how DTC digital natives behave differently. 

Smith explored why understanding evolving un-met needs and real-time, hyper-personalized trust-based engagement is a must for consumer product brands; why DTC commerce platforms need to have a low total cost of ownership; how smart innovations for remote selling matter; and how to fulfill to the last mile successfully while offering consumers an A+ experience.

“In the modern world, consumers are looking for the best possible experience,” said Smith. They are not purchasing products for the sake of purchasing products, but are looking to solve a problem. Consumers have different needs and values today that can’t be simply serviced with new products. 

Smith covered three things that impacting this new consumer:

  1. Large waves of consumers are at home and prefer (or need) deliveries. 
  2. Consumers believe COVID-19 will last 6-18 months. 
  3. Consumers value those who can reduce health risk.

Next, Sunny Neely, global solutions director for SAP, took the stage with some advice: “You need to look for platforms that can be implemented rapidly, offer rapid ROI, platforms that have predictable cost.” Neely added companies can prove the results without the IT cost being too much, and tell your brand story with rich content. 

Consumer tastes are changing. For example, Carlsberg competes in a challenging sector and recognized it needed to make a change. It looked at its flagship offering and realized it was not necessarily differentiated. So, the beverage company launched a new campaign and reformulated its product. They were willing to put everything on the table and look at the consumer first, according to Neely. “Knowing your consumers, listening, understanding and acting on their feedback, experiences and insights has never been more essential.”

Why is this easier said than done?

  • Too many data silos
  • Questionable data collection practices
  • Inability to manage data volume
  • Consumer data managed by brands and regions and agencies


Workshop: What’s Holding You Back From DTC?

In this interactive workshop, Smith and Shady Ghattas, SAP global director, invited attendees to “think big and think wild” when it comes to direct to consumer.

Using the Mural platform, participants shared the various challenges they’re experiencing with DTC selling, some of the learnings they’ve had with their own experimentation, enablers to success, and how this success can be measured. Through video chatting and digital Post-It notes, the group had a lively and collaborative conversation about one of today’s most discussed channels.

Experiences and expectations varied, but one common advantage expressed was that selling DTC enables consumer goods brands to test new products without heavy lifting, which can be a benefit for both the manufacturer and the retailer.

In facing the headwinds, it was also noted that the level of commitment to DTC can vary across an organization. Companies that initially underinvest because of caution may set themselves up for an uphill battle in succeeding in a channel that requires more resources to launch and maintain. 


Closing Keynote: Consumer-Obsessed SMBs

Chief digital officer for e.l.f. Beauty Ekta Chopra, president of Catalina Snacks Joel Warady, and CEO and co-founder of Tiesta Tea Dan Klein, talked about building meaningful, long-term, and mutually beneficial relationships with consumers, which is the heart and soul of this industry. These brands have consumer-obsessed innovation embedded throughout their sales and marketing strategies, as well as their organizations as a whole. 

These mid-market powerhouses revealed their biggest challenges, how technology can help, direct-to-consumer strategies and best practices for sales and marketing success that enables them to compete with their largest competitors. Warady, Chopra and Klein also revealed how they are able to stay nimble and pivot during a time like now. Flexing with what’s going on in the world, being willing to experiment and change your mindset, and removing the red tape, was among some of the advice. 

Click here to read expanded coverage of this presentation.