Valassis Predicts Tech Trends Changing Marketing and Retail

A borderless shopping experience, continued growth in Big Data, and the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) across the marketing and retail landscapes are key tech predictions for 2018 from Valassis, a provider of media and marketing services.
The consumer experience will be paramount as their borderless shopping journey continues, predicts Curtis Tingle, Chief Marketing Officer. “Consumers will expect even more value from brands, restaurants and retailers – getting access to relevant savings, convenience and an easy shopping experience,” he said. “It will be critical that marketers improve consumers’ shopping experiences – online and in-store. This also means they need to have a consumer-centric approach to marketing – blending first-party and third-party data to reach, engage, influence and activate consumers.”

Greg Green, Chief Data and Analytics Officer, Harland Clarke Holdings said the abundance of data will challenge marketers to drive relevancy in a fast-paced, disruptive industry.

“We’ll see the continued growth of data, stemming from Internet of Things (IoT) devices, expanding media options and the low cost of storage to the point where marketers may feel overwhelmed,” he said. “The expansion of data engineering teams, more sophisticated data mobilization, and the continued growth of analytics, data science and AI tools – that will become the norm rather than the shiny object – will help guide marketers. As innovation continues, change will be constant, markets will be disrupted and consumers will have more options and want more control. Marketers and advertisers may face an additional challenge as consumers become more hesitant to share PII data unless brands can better provide well-defined value propositions.”

Pehr Luedtke, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Valassis Digital, sees AI and chatbots evolving and continuing to grab headlines in 2018. He said advertisers will increasingly understand how the technology can fit into their customer engagement plans as consumers seek more engaging and convenient brand interactions.

“A prime example can be seen with Valassis’ chatbots, which empower brands to have direct, automated conversations with customers 24/7/365,” he said. “The key is to deliver relevant messages and engagement through this new media (chatbots, or voice recognition devices) as part of a holistic consumer-centric approach that includes audience understanding, targeting, delivery and measurement. Next year, marketers will test and learn even more in order to integrate these programs naturally and effectively into their omni-channel initiatives.”

Food Industry Welcomes Passage of Tax Reform

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) have given thumbs up for the tax reform legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Trump recently.

“This is the most significant piece of tax reform legislation in 30 years. It will help spur job creation within the grocery manufacturing industry and provide tax relief for working families. The food, beverage and consumer products industry have long urged action to fix our broken tax system, which must work in favor of both consumers and manufacturers. We applaud congress for its hard work to pass this bill to support American jobs and American families,” said Pamela Bailey, President and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA).

Jenifer Hatcher, FMI's Chief Public Policy Officer and Senior Vice President for Government Relation, called passage of the legislation a landmark step forward.

“Food wholesale and retail are low margin, high tax industries that have been waiting for just this type of relief to spur investment and create jobs,” she said. “FMI and its members are anxious to see this legislation implemented as quickly as possible.

“The bill dramatically lowers the corporate tax rate and increases expensing levels, which should help fuel improvements in technology and job growth within our industry,” she said. “It does so while also preserving industry priorities like Last-In, First-Out (LIFO accounting) and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and does not impose a punitive Border Adjustment Tax (BAT). Consumers will also benefit from having more money in their pockets, thanks to a doubling of the standard deduction and lower tax rates,” she said.

Accelerating Digital Innovation: GMA Report

A new Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) report, conducted and written by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), outlines how consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies can face the challenges of digital disruption and thrive in the new digital marketplace.

“As the e-commerce and digital landscape evolves with rapid speed, CPG companies must update their digital tactics and meet the growing needs of the tech-savvy consumer,” said Keith Olscamp, GMA Director of Industry Affairs and Collaboration. “GMA has partnered with BCG to offer a comprehensive, instructive report that outlines how CPG companies are adapting, and steps CIOs and IT teams can take to develop new strategies for innovation. We hope this report can be used as a guide for any companies grappling with the growing demands of the new digital landscape.”

This year’s IT Benchmarking Report is based on a 2017 survey of 37 major CPG companies by BCG and GMA, and follow-up interviews with roughly a third of the participating companies. It provides a snapshot of how the industry’s CIOs are balancing a growing set of responsibilities, and provides guidance from BCG for future CIOs and IT teams. The last GMA/BCG IT Benchmarking survey was conducted two years ago.

Gartner Includes AFS in its Market Guide for Retail Execution

AFS Technologies, a global provider of software solutions purpose-built for consumer goods companies, has been recognized in Gartner’s 2017 Market Guide for Retail Execution and Monitoring Solutions for the Consumer Goods Industry. The report offers a view of the marketplace and vendor offerings in retail execution and monitoring solutions for the consumer goods industry.

AFS Retail Execution suite are an easy-to-use, flexible and robust mobile solution. It is designed to be used by field sales, merchandising and delivery teams to improve field efficiency as well as drive increased market share, revenue and margin per square foot.

“We are proud that our team and solution is recognized in this annual Gartner Market Guide. Our customer base has grown in all geographies, including emerging markets, and across all tiers.” said Joe Bellini, CEO, AFS Technologies. “We have a highly satisfied universe of retail execution users spread across hundreds of customers operating in more than 50 countries.”

Cheese Down, Yogurt Up in Australian Supermarkets

While dairy continues to be a staple in Australia, consumers today are eating less cheese. In fact, data from Mintel Market Sizes shows that Australia’s cheese market has grown at a sluggish pace over the last five years. In contrast, the yogurt and milk sectors have been growing in value at faster average rates.

Private label cheese has been gaining share in Australia in recent years, however, with quite a discrepancy between value (29 percent) and volume (42 percent) share. This suggests that private label cheese is the entry-level option in Australia, said Mintel officials.


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                                                                         Early January 2018
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