How to evaluate Trade Promotion ROI in the CPG industry  

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Guidance for CPG sales executives to increase trade promotion effectiveness by leveraging data-driven tools and frameworks 

Trade promotions stand as a crucial element in the CPG industry’s marketing arsenal. Yet, the challenge of measuring the ROI of these promotions is multifaceted, demanding a thorough analysis of baseline and incremental sales, promotional costs, cannibalization effects, and long-term impacts. This careful approach is key to understanding how well promotional activities are working and deciding where to best put resources to boost profits and grow the business. On the other hand, optimizing trade promotion ROI presents its own set of complexities. Many CPG companies grapple with not only evaluating the effectiveness of their promotions but also refining and enhancing these strategies to ensure the highest return on their investment. 

Some of the common issues include: 

Fortunately, technology has revolutionized the way CPG companies can evaluate and optimize their trade promotion ROI. In this blog article, we will explore how data-driven decision-making, predictive analytics, and optimization tools can significantly enhance the outcomes of promotional events. 

Challenges in evaluating trade promotion ROI 

Pre-evaluation 

Predicting the exact contribution of a specific promotion to revenue goals is challenging due to the dynamic nature of market conditions and the complexity of consumer behavior. Furthermore, the influence of multiple factors, such as competitor activity, must be considered, as they significantly affect the success of a promotion. However, predictive analytics can offer valuable insights. This approach involves the application of statistical and machine learning techniques to analyze data, thereby enabling predictions about future events or outcomes. It leverages both historical and current data, and incorporates external factors like economic trends and shifting consumer behaviors to enhance accuracy. 

Post-evaluation 

Promotion post-evaluation uses actuals (sell-in and sell-out data) to determine the exact contribution of a promotion. It uses mathematical analysis to identify key factors of performance so that CPGs can improve future promotions. This can be complicated by missing data or poor data integration and analysis. In addition, if other major promotional or marketing events occurred simultaneously, it becomes more difficult to isolate the effects of a particular promotion, making it hard to pinpoint its specific contribution. 

Identifying key drivers of performance 

As mentioned before, an important challenge is determining the specific factors that determine the results of promotions. For effective post-evaluation, it is essential to determine what aspects of consumer behavior increase the effectiveness of a campaign or whether competitor activities influence results. Answering these questions is crucial for strategizing future promotions, reliable pre-evaluation and making informed decisions. 

The trade promotion optimization process with Visualfabriq 

1. Define top and flop promotions based on event ranking  

Choose a promotional period, and rank events based on their promo effectiveness, worst to best. This enables you to prioritize, tackling the poorest performers with the largest promotional investment first, as these present the biggest opportunities for optimization. 

2. Review product profitability   

Map the evolution over time of price, volume and promo investment for any product, to help visualize interdependencies between the variables and build hypotheses on potential drivers of ineffectiveness. 

3. Refine future promotions and assess ROI  

Conduct a thorough analysis of various Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to assess the underlying factors influencing performance. Validate assumptions to ensure that the events you choose to discontinue or repeat meet expectations across all pertinent KPIs. 

4. Set guidelines for (re-)allocation of investments  

Assess the promotional investment, return on investment (ROI), and the increase in sales volume to identify areas where funds can be better allocated. This process will empower category specialists to provide both data-driven and insightful recommendations, and to establish guidelines for promotional strategies, discount levels, and timing considerations. Focus on discontinuing or expanding tactics and discount levels based on their effectiveness. Additionally, take into account that ROI isn’t the sole objective. Factor in activities that are primarily aimed at encouraging trials for new products or gaining market share, even if they do not increase revenue. 

5. Create a win-win plan 

Ensure that any proposed reallocation or optimization of events also provides value to the retailer, creating a persuasive narrative for sell-in. Reevaluate and adjust the strategy for lose-lose events, that result in a disadvantage for both parties. 

Taking trade promotion ROI calculation to the next level 

For businesses in the consumer goods market, using specialized software for managing and improving trade promotions is a big step up from old-school methods like spreadsheets or legacy ERP systems. Such modern software gives companies a powerful way to look at data and make smart choices, helping them get the best results from their promotions and increase revenue. 

Visualfabriq, for example, provides a fully integrated analytical SaaS solution for ROI calculation and promotional strategy optimization. The software: 

Takeaways 

Evaluating and optimizing trade promotion ROI is a critical and challenging task for CPG sales executives. It requires a comprehensive and systematic approach that considers various factors and dimensions of promotional events. Technology has transformed the way CPG companies can evaluate and optimize their trade promotion ROI. As a result, CPG sales executives can significantly enhance trade promotion effectiveness by using powerful software tools such as Visualfabriq. 

Interested to learn more about how Visualfabriq enhances trade promotion ROI calculation?  Arrange a demo today


Choosing the right CPG solutions for your business

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Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Solutions can play an important role in whether a CPG business achieves success or not. These solutions span a wide range of tools and technologies designed to optimize various operations, from sales and distribution to marketing and supply chain management. Choosing the right CPG solution can significantly impact a company’s growth trajectory and ability to gain a competitive advantage in the market.  

In this guide, we’ll delve into the complexities of CPG solutions and provide insights into how selecting the most suitable options can help businesses unlock their growth potential. 

Selecting cutting-edge CPG solutions 

Impactful 

Choosing a new software solution is a significant step for any organization. It’s more than just selecting a platform; it’s a choice that can deeply influence the path the company takes in a dynamic market. The right CPG solutions can be critical to a company’s ability to navigate contemporary challenges. Organizations need cutting-edge CPG solutions that not only meet but exceed their needs, driving forward progress. 

Scalable 

Scalability isn’t just a desirable feature; it’s a non-negotiable prerequisite for sustainable growth. CPG solutions must have the ability to seamlessly adapt to evolving business demands, whether that is expanding product lines, broadening customer outreach, or managing intricate planning scenarios. The goal is to transform planning software into a strategic enabler, empowering organizations to pursue their ambitions without constraints. 

Connected 

The ability to integrate historical data and leverage machine learning capabilities should be at the heart of any advanced CPG solution. By harnessing data as a strategic asset, organizations can gain insights for precise forecasting and informed decision-making, steering them towards success in an increasingly competitive landscape. 

Flexible 

While transitioning from legacy systems may present challenges, reliable CPG solutions should streamline processes and ensure minimal disruptions to daily operations. The ideal software solution transcends conventional expectations, offering flexibility, configurability, and leveraging the latest technological advancements. It serves as a powerful driver, enabling organizations to embrace next-gen solutions with confidence. 

The decision to adopt a CPG solution is about empowering organizations to thrive in today’s fast-paced business environment. With the right CPG solution, businesses can set themselves up for long-term success and growth, ready to adapt and succeed in a constantly changing industry. 

Key CPG solutions from Visualfabriq 

Visualfabriq offers a comprehensive suite of CPG solutions tailored to meet the evolving needs of modern businesses, and centered on three key pillars: 

Trade Promotion Management and Optimization:  

Visualfabriq’s Trade Promotion Master™ offers sophisticated trade promotion management and optimization capabilities. It equips commercial teams with the tools to develop well-informed trade promotion strategies, leveraging automated data-driven insights and AI. With features like uplift insights, budget tracking, simplified planning, automated account proposals, and an audit-proof workflow, this solution empowers businesses to drive predictable, long-term revenue growth and profitability while minimizing manual efforts. 

Trade Spend Management: 

Visualfabriq’s Trade Spend Master™ provides commercial teams with comprehensive visibility into the financial impact of pricing and contract strategies. By integrating relevant internal and external data sources, this solution enables businesses to plan and optimize contractual trade spend and pricing strategies at any level of granularity. With an audit-proof workflow and minimal effort, organizations can drive sustainable, profitable revenue growth, ensuring long-term success in the market. 

Demand Forecast Management: 
 
Visualfabriq’s Demand Forecast Master™ delivers accurate baseline forecasts powered by best-in-class statistical AI models. By unifying diverse data sources across the supply chain, this solution provides CPG teams with a single source of truth, reducing errors and ensuring aligned decision-making. With AI modeling and automated data integration, businesses can generate precise sell-in and consumption-based predictions, leading to reduced errors, improved decision-making alignment, and enhanced operational efficiency. 

Takeaways 

CPG Solutions are vital assets for businesses in the industry, offering a suite of tools and technologies to optimize operations and drive growth. This exploration has provided insights into the significance of selecting the right CPG solutions, emphasizing their pivotal role in shaping a company’s trajectory and competitive advantage. 

The need for modern and adaptable CPG solutions is clear. Visualfabriq’s suite of solutions, including Trade Promotion Management and Optimization, Trade Spend Management, and Demand Forecast Management, exemplifies the cutting-edge capabilities needed to thrive in today’s landscape. 

By leveraging these advanced tools, organizations can empower their commercial teams with data-driven insights, streamline processes, and foster sustainable growth. The integration of Visualfabriq’s solutions represents not only a software upgrade but a strategic investment in the future success of businesses. 

To explore how Visualfabriq’s suite of CPG solutions can revolutionize your business, arrange a demo today



From Legacy CAS to next-gen TPM solution – The complete guide

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Managing price and trade investment is now more critical than ever. Legacy tools like CAS are struggling to keep up with modern market demands. As CAS approaches its sunset in 2026, businesses need to strategically plan for a seamless transition to advanced solutions, particularly next-gen TPM solutions, which offer significant advantages over Legacy CAS. 

The importance of transitioning from Legacy tools 

Transitioning from CAS to a modern solution is more than a technological shift; it’s a strategic response to the evolving technology landscape. Collaborating with PwC, Visualfabriq has developed a comprehensive playbook for this transition, ranging from nine to eighteen months. This approach emphasizes a human-led and tech-enabled strategy to navigate through outdated technology constraints and position companies for sustained growth. 

Next-gen TPM solutions provide various advantages, such as flexibility, scalability, and serving as a one-source-of-truth solution.  

The evolving IT landscape within CPG organizations underscores the importance of advanced tooling for driving revenue growth. The shift towards Holistic Enterprise Planning (EPx) signifies a departure from traditional trade promotion management, extending to encompass revenue growth management, pricing, forecasting, and optimization across the entire value chain. With TPx and RGM capabilities shaping the Holistic EPx, businesses have the potential to revolutionize their entire value chain. 

Emphasizing data as a key success factor, establishing an enterprise data and analytics owner fosters transparency, consistency, and accuracy, streamlining forecasting and leading to downstream benefits. Ultimately, transitioning away from Legacy CAS isn’t merely about replacing an outdated tool; it’s a strategic move towards modernization, aligning with industry trends, and positioning companies for sustained growth. 

Planning a smooth transition to replace legacy systems

The transition process comprises three key steps:  

  1. Capability diagnostic to prioritize needs and define the TPx operating model,   
  1. Strategic technology selection for seamless integration 
  1. Precision planning outlining implementation costs and benefits. 

By starting with a 3–5-week capability diagnostic, businesses can focus on their change journey while mitigating common migration risks, ensuring they address current needs while positioning for future success. 

Transitioning away from Legacy TPM is more than just discarding an outdated tool; it’s a strategic maneuver to embrace modernization and position for sustained growth. Together with PwC, Visualfabriq offers businesses a roadmap for this transition, ensuring they address current needs while preparing for future success in the modern CPG landscape. This transformative journey unlocks strategic advantages, turning the transition into an opportunity for growth. 

Download the full guide now to: 

Start your journey towards revolutionizing price and trade investment management today. 

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Trade Spend strategy: common mistakes and effective tips for success

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Trade spend strategy should be a powerful tool for driving growth and securing market share. Crafting a robust trade spend strategy requires a delicate balance of foresight, data analysis, and industry insight. However, the exciting journey towards business success is littered with obstacles that can disrupt even the most careful strategies. Mistakes in trade spend strategy can lead not only to financial setbacks but also to missed opportunities and, ultimately, declining market presence.  

In this blog post, we delve into the critical errors that often affect trade spend strategies, shedding light on the missteps that can hinder success and offering guidance on how to avoid them. 

The costly pitfalls of poor trade spend strategy 

Trade spend management is a critical aspect of the CPG industry, but mistakes can significantly impact a company’s bottom line. Here are some common mistakes to avoid: 

Data-driven trade spend strategy 

Data analytics can play a crucial role in optimizing trade spend strategies. By leveraging data insights, companies can make more informed decisions and drive better results. Key aspects include: 

Crafting a winning trade spend strategy 

A successful trade spend strategy requires careful planning and execution. Here are some essential elements to consider: 

Technology and tools for trade spend strategy success 

Technology can be a significant contributor to trade spend strategy, empowering companies to streamline processes and make data-driven decisions. Some key tools and technologies include: 

Collaborative partnerships: strengthening relationships with retailers 

Here are some trade spend strategies for fostering collaborative relationships to maximize the effectiveness: 

Measuring success: key metrics and performance evaluation 

Takeaways 

Crafting a successful trade spend strategy requires careful planning, data-driven insights, and collaborative partnerships between manufacturer and retailer. By avoiding common pitfalls and implementing best practices, companies can optimize their trade spend initiatives and drive sustainable growth and market dominance.  

Take the first step towards mastering the art of trade spend strategy and pave the way for a brighter future for your brand. 

Learn more about the Visualfabriq Trade Spend Master software and arrange a demo today

AI-Driven Demand Forecasting in CPG - A comprehensive guide

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Accurate demand forecasting is essential in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry. It underpins inventory management, production planning, and reliable financial predictions, and ensures CPGs have sufficient stock to answer account demand, provides commercial teams with the right data to base their plans on, and much more. With the evolution of Artificial Intelligence (AI), a new era of baseline forecasting is taking shape, revolutionizing the way CPG companies optimize their operations. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of AI-driven demand forecasting for the CPG industry. We’ll explore the technical aspects, challenges, and solutions, examine the user perspective, discover best practices, and analyze real-life examples and common pitfalls in AI-driven forecasting. 

Understanding AI in CPG Demand Forecasting and the technical aspects 

AI for CPG demand forecasting is a powerful tool that leverages advanced algorithms and predictive capabilities to revolutionize traditional approaches to baseline forecasting. Let’s break down the details: 

Technical complexity: AI algorithms can be intricate, making it challenging for non-technical users to comprehend their inner workings. This technical complexity can deter users from trusting AI-driven insights. Addressing this challenge involves providing user-friendly interfaces and clear explanations of the measures in place to ensure the model’s reliability and user understanding of the outcomes. Conducting training workshops to empower users with basic knowledge can also be beneficial. Demystifying the “Black Box” is not just about explaining AI concepts but, more importantly, unpacking the metrics and processes that the software employs to make AI insights accessible, alleviating these concerns. 

Validation and testing: Users might fear that AI models, being complex, could produce unpredictable results or errors, leading to misguided business decisions. To address this concern, implementing rigorous validation and testing processes can enhance the reliability of AI models. Regular audits, validation against historical data, and feedback loops can all help identify and rectify errors promptly, instilling confidence in users. 

Maintaining human control: Users might worry about becoming overly reliant on AI, leading to a loss of human control and intuition in decision-making processes. It’s crucial to emphasize that AI is a tool to enhance decision-making, not replace it. Encouraging users to interpret AI-driven insights in conjunction with their domain expertise ensures a balanced approach, where human expertise and intuition and AI-driven predictions complement each other. 

Resistance to change: Users might resist adopting AI-based solutions due to a fear of change, especially if existing methods have been in place for a long time. Change management initiatives, user education, and highlighting the benefits of AI-driven forecasting, such as increased accuracy and efficiency, can mitigate resistance. Involving users in the transition process and addressing their concerns can foster a positive attitude toward change. 

From a technical perspective, AI-driven demand forecasting relies on sophisticated algorithms and a diverse range of data sources: 

Data sources: AI algorithms analyze vast datasets, including customer purchase history, online behavior, social media interactions, market trends, and various external factors. The quality and diversity of these data sources significantly impacts the accuracy of forecasts. 

Algorithm complexity: The technical foundation of AI-driven forecasting is rooted in complex machine learning and statistical models. The selection of an appropriate algorithm and model complexity plays a crucial role in the accuracy of predictions. 

Continuous learning: AI models are not static; they can adapt and learn from new data. Continuous retraining of AI models is essential to account for changing market dynamics and external factors. 

User interface: Ensuring user-friendly interfaces is vital for bridging the gap between technical AI capabilities and end-user comprehension. This point emphasizes usability and the importance of simplicity in gaining insights from AI. 

Understanding the technical aspects of AI in demand forecasting in CPG is essential for businesses looking to harness the full potential of these advanced systems. By addressing technical complexity, validation, and user-friendliness, organizations can navigate the intricacies of AI and leverage it for more accurate and efficient CPG demand forecasting. 

Challenges and solutions from the user perspective 

While AI holds immense potential for CPG demand forecasting, adopting it comes with a unique set of challenges, particularly from the user perspective. Users may have concerns, fears, and hesitations that need to be addressed. Let’s explore these challenges and discuss practical solutions: 

Understanding complex AI algorithms 

Ensuring predictability and reliability 

Balancing human control with AI 

This approach empowers users to leverage AI effectively while maintaining their vital role in the decision-making process. 

Overcoming resistance to change 

Addressing these challenges from the user perspective is crucial for the successful adoption of AI in CPG demand forecasting. By providing support, clear explanations, and real-world results, businesses can help users embrace AI as a valuable tool in enhancing their decision-making processes. 

Learn more about Visualfabriq Demand forecasting software.

Download the full guide now to delve into best practices for optimizing revenue predictions, explore real-life examples and use cases, and learn about common pitfalls in AI-Driven Forecasting in CPG. Download your copy today for actionable insights and guidance.

Download the full guide: AI-driven CPG Demand Forecasting

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Trade Promotion strategies: Adapting to retail changes

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Mastering trade promotion strategies is essential for brands in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry. As consumers increasingly turn to online platforms to make purchases, explore different channels, and consolidate their preferences, brands must adapt their promotional tactics to effectively engage with their target audience and drive sales. This blog will take a closer look at how these changes are affecting the retail sector and explore actionable strategies to deal with them. 

Optimizing Trade Promotion strategies for success 

The retail landscape has changed significantly due to the rise of online shopping platforms, providing consumers with numerous options for making purchases, whether it’s at supermarkets or through mobile apps. As consumers constantly seek more convenience, online retail has become the preferred choice, fundamentally changing traditional shopping habits. 

This shift towards online retail underscores the necessity for brands to recalibrate their strategies.  

Consumer preferences are perpetually in flux, influenced by an array of factors including evolving trends, emerging technologies, and shifting lifestyles. It is crucial for brands to remain agile and in sync with these changing preferences. By employing a more dynamic, agile approach to trade promotion strategies, brands can effectively adapt to the changing consumer landscape, ensuring their continued relevance and competitiveness in the market. 

Understanding consumer behavior through comprehensive market research and leveraging insights to tailor trade promotions is essential. By crafting trade promotion strategies that resonate directly with target audiences, brands foster consumer loyalty and drive sustainable growth. By embracing flexibility and agility in their promotional approaches, brands can meet the unique needs and preferences of their customers, building long-lasting brand relationships and ensuring long-term success. 

Trade Promotion Strategies with Next-Generation TPM Software 

When navigating the shifts within the CPG industry, it is crucial for sales teams to have a reliable source of data and insights for assessing previous promotions. This empowers them to craft informed trade promotion strategies tailored to their brand category. With next-generation TPM solutions, sales teams can: 

Takeaways 

By leveraging the data-driven insights and advanced analytics provided by next-gen TPM software, sales teams can optimize performance, drive sales, and stay ahead in the competitive CPG landscape. With the ability to experiment with different promotion types, compare revenue outlooks, analyze pricing dynamics, and utilize advanced modeling techniques, sales teams can make informed decisions. This in turn enables them to maximize ROI and drive long-term success for their brands, ensuring they are truly mastering trade promotion strategies. 


Mapping the future of CPG Demand Planning

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No matter how unpredictable the world becomes, humans will try to divine the future and plan accordingly. 

But in the consumer packaged goods world, intuition and educated guess are not enough.  

Rather, executive leaders, functional teams, and individual professionals and specialists all need to understand what their company can achieve and consider their part in achieving it. 

And because the future isn’t written in a stone, they need to be able to envision and plan for multiple future scenarios. 

This article will look at the technology choices CPG teams face if they want to collaborate to improve CPG demand planning so that they’re not just forecasting the future, but actively shaping it in a sustainable way. 

The changing context in CPG Demand Planning

Faced with a complex, even volatile, world, companies and teams are naturally keen to understand how everything from global events to their own actions will affect demand and how they should tailor their own plans accordingly. 

Innovative technologies, in particular artificial intelligence, hold out the promise of more reliable, more accurate forecasts at a broad level, and better insight into how particular external events and internal initiatives may affect demand key metrics, particularly profitability. 

Achieving this level of holistic insight into current operations and future performance is fundamental to developing a sustainable revenue generation management strategy. 

But amazing as AI is, it requires one essential ingredient – a flow of timely accurate data. Each department has its part to play in shaping the organization’s future, and it is essential that the data and information they generate is easily available to AI demand planning tools. 

But it also critical that the insights generated are relevant and accessible to the entire organization, whether that’s a promotion specialist evolving new strategies with a given retailer, or a C suite executive looking to evolve corporate targets which deliver sustainable profitability over the long term. 

Key factors to look for in CPG Demand Planning tools

CPG planning is an ongoing, collaborative and holistic task. Once that is grasped, it’s clear that robust demand forecasting relies on the organization as a whole and the underlying technology which it is using. Choosing the right platform means considering a range of factors. 

  1. Using AI to produce accurate baselines and forecasts 

It’s no secret that artificial intelligence has the potential to transform CPG demand planning and forecasting in CPG, just as it has in virtually every other industry.  

Cutting edge AI models have the potential to improve baselines, helping CPG professionals gain insight into precisely how they’ve performed in the past. This in turn gives them a reliable starting point for making future predictions, and, ideally evolving multiple scenarios which can take account of both unexpected events and the impact of their own initiatives.  

Ideally, both the C-suite and frontline workers will be able to drill down as necessary, from gauging the effect of given actions at a macro level, to the impact on individual product lines or retailers. 

But the potential of AI must be seen within a broader context. 

  1. Smoothing data connectivity 

As we’ve seen, AI-powered forecasting is simply not possible without quality data.  

In legacy systems data can become trapped in departmental tools or spreadsheets, where it becomes stale and unshared. Feeding algorithms will usually mean breaking open the silos that separate different teams and functions – promotions and pricing for example. 

And if AI forecasting tools are going to deliver the broadest, most nuanced possible view of the CPG’s world, they need to incorporate external information, such as syndicated data, market analysis, weather data, and more. 

This means the latest AI must be allied with an underlying data connectivity platform that smoothly integrates the latest data and keeps it flowing. 

Without that data flow, you may get a snapshot of the future, but not the evolving, multi-dimensional picture you need for resilient CPG demand planning. 

  1. Enable cohesive teamwork and collaboration 

This data flow is not unidirectional. The forecasts and insights generated by AI need to be disseminated across the organization, so that each department and team is working on the same version of the truth.  

This also means they can see how their actions, and innovations, can affect those forecasts. The organization as a whole needs to be able to tailor these workflows, linking together different departments, and ensuring compliance and approvals accelerate decision-making rather than impeding it. 

  1. Tying it all together to benefit the organization

CPG Demand planning, in addition to cutting edge forecasting technology, requires a platform that breaks down the barriers between functional teams, allowing the free flow of data and ideas. This will enable better synchronization and coordination between teams, ultimately ensuring their plans are optimized for the benefit of the company as a whole. 

That could be as simple as ensuring that marketing and trade promotion in a given quarter are coordinated for maximum impact. But it also means that over time, teams are working to ensure all their activities feed into a long-term, sustainable revenue generation management strategy, delivering value for the CPG, and its retail partners, and ultimately, the consumer. 

How Visualfabriq helps in CPG Demand Planning

Visualfabriq delivers tailored modules for key CPG functions such as trade promotions, trade spend, demand forecasting, and revenue management

These are underpinned by a unique data integration suite, easing data management and sharing, both between the modules and with other corporate systems such as ERP. It also smooths the integration of external data from third partners, EPOS systems, and retail partners. All without the need for manual or semi-manual updating, reducing the possibility of mistakes and freeing CPG professionals from repetitive, uninspiring tasks. 

The embedded AI at the heart of Visualfabriq ensures CPGs can extract the maximum value from the data. That includes ensuring accurate baselines and gaining insights into past performance. These in turn provide a launchpad for far more precise forecasts of future demand, including the ability to model multiple scenarios, taking into account the unexpected, such as potential supply chain disruptions, and factors under their control, such as new launches or promotions. 

The highly integrated nature of Visualfabriq’s demand forecasting software ensures that individual teams can share plans and optimize accordingly. And they can tailor workflows to suit their organization’s needs. 

Because Visualfabriq is delivered as a service, teams are always working with the latest features and most up to date algorithms. And costs are predictable. 

The result is that all staff are working not just on a single view of the truth when it comes to the past and present but can collaborate on shaping the best future possible for the company, its retail partners, and its customers. 

Takeaways 

In an increasingly unpredictable world, it’s more imperative than ever that CPG companies focus on CPG demand planning as they look to ensure their own sustainable growth and deliver value to retail partners and customers. 

AI has the potential to deliver more accurate baselines and forecasts – if it has access to the right data from the outset, including external information. That’s why it is best seen as part of an overall CPG demand planning platform that encompasses the key functions within a CPG organization, allowing them to pull together to deliver value for all stakeholders. 

To understand how Visualfabriq’s software can help you shape your organization’s future get in touch and arrange a demo today

How to select the right Revenue Growth Management software

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Let’s face it. The consumer packaged goods world is not exactly predictable. 

Carefully laid plans can be thrown off track by anything from volatile interest rates crimping customer spending, to political instability adding 9000 miles to shipping routes for tea leaves. 

With so many short-term problems to react to, it can be hard to take the long view. 

Yet that is exactly what leaders and frontline leader need to do, if they want to build a more sustainable, predictable and resilient business model. In other words, if they want to move towards revenue growth management (RGM) software

Revenue growth management means leaders work to embrace the methodical and holistic management of all the functions at the company’s command: from promotions to pricing, trade investment, marketing and also sales & operations planning. 

At one level, adopting Revenue growth management software is a question of mindset. Leaders and leaders must consciously break out of their silos and pull together towards common, sustainable objectives that deliver value for the company as well as for retailers and consumers. 

But this is much easier to achieve when the right technology foundation means everyone in the organization has the right tools, and the right data, to complete their own tasks and projects, and understand how they depend on each other. 

So, what do CPGs need to look for in their Revenue growth management software? 

It’s complicated. 

The CPG business is complex, with long supply chains and sophisticated retail networks. 

But each CPG company will also have their own complex internal ecosystem of demand forecasters and marketers, account managers, sales professionals, and promotion specialists. Some will be more internally focused, while others will be working closely with the retail partners and networks who get the product to the customers. 

When a CPG company adopts Revenue growth management software, these diverse teams must come together to pursue sustainable and profitable growth under a comprehensive commercial plan. 

This requires synchronization across five key pillars: promotion management; pricing; trade spend; brand positioning; and mix optimization. This is predicated on diverse teams sharing a single and centralized version of the truth, which allows them to develop their own plans, while other teams and senior management can see their potential impact. 

This makes it easier for all teams to optimize their own operations, coordinate them with other teams, and spot opportunities for further sustainable growth and potential efficiencies. 

It’s hard to argue with this vision. Making it a reality means some serious thought about the underlying systems teams are operating on. Legacy, siloed systems impede the sharing of information that allows teams to build reliable forecasts and coordinate the plans they put in place to achieve them. 

It perhaps makes more sense to think about the game changing characteristics of a Revenue growth management approach and how they map to a potential software. 

The enabler map for Revenue Growth Management software 

Enabler 1: Does it lower the total costs of ownership? 

As we’ve seen, when different teams are using different tools, it becomes impossible to develop a single view of the truth, compromising efforts to develop a revenue growth management approach.  

But fragmented tool chains also have a direct financial effect as well. Tech teams must support and pay for multiple platforms. Trouble shooting becomes arduous. Outages take longer to resolve. Upgrades or development becomes tortuous and expensive.  

An integrated SaaS software designed to support Revenue growth management from the outset doesn’t just connect previously siloed teams and enable smooth data flows. It ensures teams are working with common tooling, can optimize workflows, and enjoy cutting edge analytics. And with automatic updates, they are always working with the latest features. 

Enabler 2: Will it drive efficiency through data alignment? 

Creating a holistic revenue growth management plan will be virtually impossible unless all teams are working to a single view of the truth. Creating that “one number” requires data alignment across the organization.  

This isn’t just about data flow through the organization. It’s about ensuring the different tools that teams use to analyze that data and plan their programs, investments, promotions, and marketing activations, form a single, logically connected ecosystem. That way, changes to one plan or activity are reflected across the organization, meaning teams and their plans are coordinated and constantly optimized. 

Enabler 3: Does seamless data integration increase efficiency? 

Building a holistic revenue plan requires a holistic view of the environment a CPG exists within. 

When functional teams rely on spreadsheets or bespoke tools, updating data is often a semi-manual, sporadic and error-prone process. Sharing data is also arduous, slowing data flow and opening the possibility of mistakes. And all these pots of data must still be poured into the ERP system at the heart of the company. Eventually. 

Getting to a single view of the truth means breaking open those silos. But that still doesn’t give the complete picture. CPG teams need access to external sources of information such as syndicated data, EPoS returns, or even weather or sentiment information. And this needs to be automated from the outset. 

Seamless data integration and efficient data management is a pre-requisite for developing the win-win investment strategies needed for revenue growth management. 

Enabler 4: Can it increase predictability and drive optimization? 

Data integration and alignment give leaders a more holistic view of their operations and the broader environment. However, to take things to the next level, they need to have access to cutting edge AI algorithms and analytics to unlock the value in that data. 

Applying AI to historical data, informed by external information, results in more accurate baselines. These set the stage for much more accurate forecasts, which in turn enables demand planners to think beyond the most likely outcome, and plan for a range of potential scenarios. These could be based on external factors, but equally could be based on different actions by the CPG company.  

Senior management and front-line professionals can begin to optimize as they plan, making it far easier to plot the sustainable growth which is the ultimate aim of revenue growth management software. 

Enabler 5: How can you eliminate repetitive tasks? 

Manual processes for updating information, sharing proposals, or approving plans don’t just slow things down. They open up the possibility of both minor but irritating, and major and catastrophic mistakes. Moreover, they suck up the time of CPG professionals with repetitive and unproductive manual work.  

Transitioning to Revenue growth management software requires automation to ensure consistency and allows workflows to be tailored for maximum efficiency. This frees up your highly knowledgeable CPG pros to focus on optimizing their current programs, spot opportunities to innovate for the future, and contribute to the long-term revenue plan. 

How Visualfabriq helps 

Visualfabriq’s software spans the key pillars of revenue growth management, with tailored, but highly integrated, modules covering trade promotions, trade spend, marketing, demand forecasting, and revenue growth. 

A unique data integration suite smooths connectivity, giving CPG pros a complete overview of all the relevant data, including external information, and the ability to share projects and insights, and construct workflows. 

Advanced AI is embedded in the ecosystem, allowing each team to get the most out of their data, optimize projects and plan for the unexpected. 

And because Visualfabriq is delivered as a service, implementation and support costs are reduced, while frontline professionals always have the latest tooling. 

The result is that all teams are on a common software that eliminates routine manual tasks and delivers accurate forecasting and full visibility across all teams. Users benefit from Visualfabriq’s product lifecycle technology, smoothing product switching throughout the system. 

The underlying data connectivity, and the advanced analytics, mean professionals can optimize as they plan, and evolve multiple scenarios. This in turn produces better and more coordinated plans cutting across different functions.  

Your team are no longer reacting to the unexpected, but actively anticipating and planning for them This leaves them better placed to work holistically, both with their colleagues, and with their retail partners, to deliver on the sustainable revenue and profit growth the company needs.  

Takeaways 

The current volatility CPGs must grapple with means adopting Revenue growth management software is both more important, and harder to achieve, than ever. 

Once an organization has made the decision to adopt a Revenue growth management software, it has to match this mindset change with the appropriate technology. Visualfabriq delivers both the hands-on tools and the underlying data connectivity to support Revenue growth management. 

To see how Visualfabriq’s software maps to the key attributes of a Revenue growth management strategy, get in touch with a consultant here. 

Maximizing CPG Product growth in Major Events

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Major events, such as international sporting tournaments, can bring together families, communities, and entire populations. And every time large groups of people come together in this way, they will need and want food, drink and other essential supplies. 

So it’s clear that major events represent a major opportunity for consumer packaged good manufacturers and their retail partners. But just as a sporting team’s tournament campaign will have been planned over months, or even years, so a CPG’s ability to derive the full benefit of a major event requires multiple teams to pull together. 

This blog will explore the opportunities major events offer to CPG, as well as the challenges they face in realising them. It will also show how an integrated approach can overcome them and explain how Visualfabriq’s software positions CPG teams to build strategies that will see them through successive major events in winning style. 


 
The Influence on CPG Sales and Brand Loyalty

Research by Nielsen has shown that major events have a dramatic impact on CPG sales, particularly around snacks and beverages. The 2018 FIFA World Cup boosted total UK FMCG store sales by 3.8 percent, while the Euro 2020 final boosted drink sales by 33 percent the firm reported. In the US, sales of salty snacks increased 11 percent in the week of 2023’s Superbowl. 

But there are other, less direct effects, such as positive publicity for sponsors, as well as a general improvement in “consumer mood” which can give CPG sales a boost. Beyond the short term impact, by enabling positive experiences, major events can cement brand loyalty, leading to repeat purchases.  

Clearly, there is much to play for. But making the most of such opportunities is a complex undertaking.  

Christmas is all encompassing, with virtually every CPG manufacturer bidding for part of the piece. But major events are not quite as wide in their impact. While not everyone is a soccer or American football fan, this also means there is not quite as much competition for shelf space in retailers. 

But it is essential to have the right selection of products, in the right amounts, and to market them accordingly. Many firms will pursue an umbrella strategy, emphasising specific products from across their portfolio. For example, alcoholic and soft drinks, pizzas, BBQ goods, and of course, the salty snacks that go so well with all the above. 

For companies that can focus all their relevant product teams, and coordinate the relevant departments – marketing, promotions, forecasting – major events can deliver rewards in both the short and longer-term. 

But, just as success is not guaranteed on the pitch, there are major hurdles to CPG companies being able to make the best of the opportunity major events offer. 

Understanding the challenges of Major Events for CPG

On the face of it major events might promise many of the same benefits and challenges as seasonal events such as Christmas. But there are some distinct differences. 

The timing of major events is not as predictable as seasonal events. The Olympics and World Cup are held every four years, as are regional championships. But the precise dates are subject to change. Others – such as the Superbowl in the US – are annual. 

As well as complicating timings, this can make it even harder to separate out the event’s impact on sales compared to the usual background business. Without the ability to establish reliable baselines, it becomes even harder both to plan and measure the impact of promotions in the future. 

Trying to do this with clunky, legacy systems and bespoke spreadsheet-based models compounds the challenge. Simply pulling the historical data needed to produce accurate baselines can be a challenge when this is a manual process. 

Moreover, traditional ERP systems can be inflexible, making it hard to compare product lines that are similar but geared towards different tournaments. Meanwhile, siloed systems make it harder to gain visibility and share data across the different functions necessary for a successful campaign – for example coordinating marketing and advertising activities with instore promotions. 

And if this is difficult with one product line, how much harder is it is when a company wants to pursue an umbrella strategy with multiple related promotions and partners. 

Taken together, fragmented data, sub-standard forecasting tools, and a lack of automation and visibility make it harder to plan promotions to maximise impact during major events, and to realise the potential ongoing benefits after they’ve concluded. 

Capitalizing on Major Events 

Knowing a major event can have a dramatic impact on sales of key CPG products is one thing. Being able to forecast and optimize the impact is another. 

CPG companies need to move beyond hunches and “this usually works” thinking, and adopt a data driven approach. 

That means siloed systems, that don’t allow data to flow to the right people, need to give way to integrated system which can smoothly and efficiently harvest the data needed to produce forecasts and plan campaigns, and continue to do so as information changes. Internal data is part of this, with a trade promotion, marketing, and demand forecasters all standing to benefit from working on a single version of the truth. 

But achieving full visibility means also having access to other data sources, such as market research of syndicated numbers. 

That is just the start. Modern AI technologies make for more accurate and detailed baselines, and well-founded forecasts. This in turn enables CPG professionals to see the potential impact of different strategies, for instance in trade promotion or trade spend. From there, it’s just a step to optimizing strategies for maximum impact, whether the key aim is increasing profit contribution, customer loyalty, or establishing a new brand in the market. 

CPGs don’t operate in a vacuum. Finely tuned marketing and trade promotion strategies need to mesh with retailers’ own plans. If they don’t, CPG teams might have to go back to the drawing board, delaying the finalization of plans – and potentially yielding the field to rival CPG players. 

But if planners and account managers can plan for multiple scenarios, if negotiations take an unexpected turn, they can quickly offer a retail partner an alternative that meets both their needs. 

Once plans are agreed, full visibility across the product range and down through the supply chain means CPG pros can ensure programs are on track – and can be optimised or even altered. For instance, if a particular team goes out early, or the half time show is a letdown. Some things, after all, can’t be predicted. 

How Visualfabriq helps

Visualfabriq’s Trade promotion software gives disparate functional and brand teams a single platform with bespoke modules for key functions such as trade promotion management, marketing events, demand forecasting and more. 

Data integration becomes smoother and automated, relieving CPG professionals of the drudgery of pulling data manually, and ensuring information is up to date and accurate. 

Visualfabriq’s cutting edge AI and analytics technology enables the creation of accurate historical baselines, and more precise forecasts. Its product lifecycle management module means planners preparing for major events can perform product switches, making it much easier to compare similar products from one year or one tournament to another. 

The high degree of integration between different functions means each team can model the impact of their plans, and how they contribute to the success of the company overall. The ability to optimize as you plan, and to create multiple scenarios means CPG account teams can present multiple, well-founded options to their retail partners speeding negotiations and leading to faster decisions. 

All of which contributes to a more sustainable, more predictable path to growth from year to year – and from major event to major event. 

Takeaways 

Major events represent an opportunity for CPG manufacturers to boost sales and gain market share for key product categories in the short term, and to cement brand loyalty in the longer term – if they can deploy the right mix of products and back them up with optimum promotion and marketing activities. This is far easier to achieve with a data-driven approach that uses AI to delivers accurate baselines and forecasts, allowing professionals to execute trade promotion optimization as they plan, and explore multiple scenarios.

To find out how Visualfabriq’s software can help you achieve all this, and build a base for sustainable revenue generation management, head here to arrange a demonstration


Optimizing pricing in CPG: Leveraging Visualfabriq for seamless adjustments

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Agreeing pricing with retail partners is one of the most important challenges a consumer packaged goods manufacturer faces. But the hard work doesn’t quite stop there. 

In an ideal world, you will have deployed your full range of expertise and tooling to work out a deal that meets your organization’s targets, while also delivering value to the retailer. 

You could be forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief, before focusing on how results are playing out in the short term, and ways in which pricing and programs can be optimized. Then, in time, you begin to think about next year’s negotiations and how to continue evolving a more holistic trade spend strategy in CPG. 

But are you sure the deals you’ve struck have been fully approved, and all the implications have been worked through? And is the data accurately reflected in the ERP system which sits at the heart of your organization? 

In this blog we’ll examine the aftercare a CPG should have in place post negotiations, highlighting the potential traps that could throw your plans off course. And we’ll show how an integrated platform can ensure pricing information is approved and shared, adjustments are made accurately and swiftly, and the implications are fully understood by all stakeholders. 

Strategic Pricing in CPG: From negotiation to implementation 

Pricing negotiations in CPG can be intense. Senior management and finance will have set the overall financial targets for the company. But it is account managers and other frontline professionals who will have pored over historic data, analyzed current market and economic conditions, and evolved a range of forecasts to prepare a bulletproof pricing strategy in CPG ahead of sitting down with retailers for negotiations.  

They will also have taken into account the needs of their individual retail partners to ensure that they are delivering value to all stakeholders.  

Unsurprisingly, these negotiations can run right to the wire. But when they’re done, they’re done. The frontline team will probably enjoy a brief respite before turning their attention to the next round of negotiations. 

It’s all too easy to feel that once a deal in principle is agreed with a retailer, the hard work is done. But those adjustments still need to cascade through the company, so that all stakeholders are aware of them and their potential impact.  

Adjustments and discounts will need to be calculated for each account and each product. And these must all be tracked, approved, and signed off. 

Ultimately, they need to be reflected in the organization’s ERP system. Accurately and precisely. 

After the rush of the planning and negotiation phase, this pricing adjustment in CPG phase can feel like an afterthought. But until it is carried out, and the relevant details are in the ERP system, the manufacturer cannot begin invoicing. And other frontline staffers cannot begin planning for the year ahead – and the year after that. 

It’s tempting to think this is purely an administrative process. What could possibly go wrong? 

Overcoming Pricing challenges in CPG 

A lot depends on the platforms CPG professionals rely on.  

If the teams negotiating with retailers still rely on bespoke models based on spreadsheets or other disconnected tools, data might need to be transferred and adjustments might need to be made by hand. Vital information could even be dispersed through multiple email chains. 

And that’s before we consider the ERP system itself. The agreed pricing in CPG has to end up here. Simply issuing invoices and taking orders becomes impossible otherwise, never mind the broader impact on supply chain management. 

But legacy systems can be a problem if they offer limited, or no, connectivity to other platforms in the organization. Somehow, that vital pricing information must jump this airgap. This can mean more manual or semi-manual work, meaning more delay and, potentially, more mistakes. 

But this is just one of the challenges. 

Wherever they are, those price structures, discounts, and deals, have to be approved. Again, with manual or semi-manual systems, this could mean spreadsheets or other documents being shunted around the organization. Each move, query, or check is another possibility for delay or loss. Every edit or recalculation is a chance for an error to find its way in. Workflows and chains of approval become impossible to track. 

Only when those deals have been approved, can the information be added to the ERP system. 

For an organization with many products and partners, that is an awful lot more keying in. Each digit presents another opportunity for a typo or transposition or a miscalculation. 

And that raises the prospect of mistakes being replicated throughout the supply chain. An individual item price could be attached to a box, or a pallet, for example. 

Such mistakes can cause friction between CPGs and their stakeholders. While a good relationship between manufacturer and retailer will help smooth things over, this still reduces the amount of time and goodwill available to collaborate on optimizing programs and planning for a more mutually beneficial future. 

Simplifying pricing adjustments in CPG 

Mutual trust is crucial in CPG. As we’ve seen, a good relationship between partners, backed up by clear contractual terms, can resolve the occasional pricing mistake without too much drama. 

But it is clearly far, far better to simply not run into this sort of problem in the first place. And that is a question of governance, visibility, and workflows. 

When different teams are using different, unconnected tools, sharing information becomes difficult before, during, and after a presentation. 

A common platform that connects multiple teams and ensures they are working on the same version of the truth can also allow a CPG organization to tie them into clear workflows and chains of responsibility. 

So, when frontline teams reach an agreement with their retail counterparts, the appropriate prices and discounts can be seamlessly shared with the appropriate supervisors for approval. No need for batch transfers of cut and pasted information or, even worse, keying in data by hand. 

And once it has been approved, that information doesn’t have to leap a virtual or even physical airgap into the ERP system. Rather, it is reflected there and cascades into the systems of other relevant departments, including finance and the C-suite. Any changes – and any mistakes – can be identified and tracked. The entire organization can have far more confidence in the numbers they are seeing and in governance overall. 

The data is also immediately available for teams planning for the next period, providing fuel for AI-powered forecasting tools. Forecasters and planners can be confident they are working with accurate, up to date data, and do not have to constantly second guess themselves. 

Equally importantly, the close relationship between CPG and retailer is no longer the thing that ensures occasional mistakes can be ironed out. It becomes the basis for collaborating on optimizing current plans and developing new, more innovative programs for the future. 

How Does Visualfabriq Help with Pricing in CPG? 

Visualfabriq’s Trade Spend Master pulls together the full array of data and tooling that CPG teams need to establish accurate forecasts, build trade spend management and promotion plans, and plan marketing programs. 

But that same integrated platform which allows companies to evolve and collaborate on a single version of the truth, also allows them to build tailored workflows to share data and approve plans, before, during and after negotiations. 

As well as setting approval chains, notifications for key stakeholders can be set and enforced, removing the possibility of delays. And once approved, the data can flow effortlessly into your ERP system. No manual work, no mistakes. 

So, instead of pricing adjustments in CPG being at best an afterthought, at worst a chore, they become just another seamless, auditable workflow. 

The result is that following a successful negotiation, price adjustments are approved and distributed, swiftly and accurately, highlighting current performance, and providing a solid foundation for planning for the future. 

Takeaways 

Pricing adjustments and approval processes are an inescapable part of doing business for CPGs. The sooner they are reflected in company systems, particularly ERP systems, the sooner the organization can get on with business.  

But too often they are treated as a chore, after the excitement of pricing negotiations. This can be complicated by siloed and legacy systems, which cause delays and raise the possibility of errors. 

Visualfabriq’s software helps CPG professionals prepare for pricing negotiations and, once they are concluded, smooths the path to approving and updating prices quickly and accurately. This means that sales professionals and other CPG specialists can get back to business quickly. But it also means that they are working with exact, up to date information as they prepare for future negotiations. 

To discuss how Trade spend optimization can help your organization develop a sustainable, holistic pricing strategy into the future, get in touch to arrange a demo