A conversation with the CEO of Bedrock Analytics
Words aren’t the only way to tell a story. Consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands want to interpret data to understand their business performance and make a stronger case to retailers. Small to mid-size CPG brands want to be more competitive with large brands that have in-house teams of analysts at their disposal. Technology can help level the playing field.
We spoke with Will Salcido, the CEO of Bedrock Analytics, a Cervin portfolio company, that uses machine learning to take syndicated & retail data and transform it into dynamic selling stories. He shares his insights about the impact of COVID-19 on the CPG industry, the value of good data, and how technology has transformed the way brands interact with product data.
Q: What is the current state of the CPG market?
A: The consumer packaged goods industry is the largest industry in the world, estimated to generate over $2 trillion annually in the U.S. alone. It encompasses food, beverages, household supplies, cosmetics, over the counter medicine, and more. There are thousands of CPG manufacturers selling tens of thousands of brands, and hundreds of thousands of items into about 300 major retailer chains.
Q: How has COVID-19 impacted the CPG industry?
A: In Q2 of 2020, supply chains were stressed. The industry has been able to work through many challenges and is seeing a resurgence of optimism due to heightened demand for products that are consumed at home. Changing shopping habits have led to:
- A spike in the sales of canned goods of 318%, followed by a sustained increase of 120% year over year
- A decrease in single serving packages by 40%, but an increase in family-sized packages by 60%
- Retailers devoting more shelf space to “core brands” and less space to specialty items, like gluten free foods.
As a result of these shifts, current sales data looks quite different than historical trends.
Q: What kind of stories can data tell?
A: Brands use a combination of brick & mortar retail, e-commerce & demographic data to determine what their performance is compared with that of their competitors in each micro-region of the country. CPG brands also rely on data to determine:
- Shifts in consumer demand and tastes
- The success of in-store promotions like BOGO (buy one, get one) sales and coupons
- The effectiveness of digital advertising like social media ads and sponsored content
Essentially, data tells the story of a brand’s strength.
Q: Why should CPG brands care about this data?
A: A brand’s goal is to convince a retail buyer that they can generate more revenue for the retailer than their next competitor. Brands have to convince retailers that they should be given additional shelf space because it will benefit both parties. When brands have access to complete data, this goal is much easier to achieve. Proposals need to be backed up by data.
Q: How has the CPG industry been impacted by digital transformation?
A: The CPG industry has lagged behind other industries in adopting technology that can transform its operations. The manufacturing industry as a whole tends to be more reluctant when it comes to introducing new technologies into its processes.
However, one functional group within the CPG industry is warming up to the idea of adopting new technology, and that is sales and marketing. As with most industries, sales and marketing teams at CPG manufacturers are looking to save time, increase brand awareness, and slay their competition. They are looking for tools, like the Bedrock Analytics platform, that allow them to perform time-consuming tasks in seconds. Our platform harmonizes disparate CPG data and automates the transformation of data. It allows commercial teams to build stronger data-driven stories to win increased retail shelf space. By leveraging machine learning & AI, customers can quickly interpret and pull key insights from their data and spend less time preparing it, enabling them to focus on higher-value analysis and strategies to beat the competition.
The industry needs platforms that can integrate, harmonize, and visualize data from various sources. CPG brands need to make decisions faster because rapidly changing consumer trends significantly impact CPG manufacturers’ business decisions. Our vision is to triangulate across the needs of consumers, CPG manufacturers, and retailers and support the industry’s transformation.