How TPM Can Help CPGs Deliver Relevance at Scale

By Dr. Martin Burgard

Consumer goods companies are at a crucial point in their competitive and consumer journeys. Traditional market-leading positions are under threat from all sides. Consumer expectations are changing profoundly and permanently. And a host of new digital-by-birth market entrants are making hay in a rapidly-levelling competitive playing field.

It makes for a highly uncertain, disruptive environment. And it means consumer relevance is now the number one priority. Today’s consumers expect brands to know them inside out – and use that knowledge to deliver authentic products, services, and experiences that are entirely relevant when it really matters.

Doing this at scale takes an incredible amount of organizational agility. It also calls for a rethink of the entire value chain, all the way from developing new concepts, through manufacturing, to the store shelf and beyond.

It is worth remembering, however, that the rise of the digital consumer has created as many opportunities as it has challenges. Just look at how CPG companies can now harness growing volumes of consumer data through online marketing and direct-to-consumer sales platforms, while starting to use AI and machine learning to rethink and enhance the way they promote and sell products.

Enter Trade Promotion Management
Successful consumer goods companies will be those that build their commerce strategies around how the consumer is behaving in the moment. It means building promotional activities that talk to the tastes, preferences and needs of the individual. We have seen some brands try to personalize their marketing in recent years – albeit with mixed results, depending on the data, reliability and maturity of the technology.

But with the advances in AI and greater availability of consumer data, CPG brands can get a much better picture of what the consumer is looking for and how well their various trade promotions are performing by applying advanced analysis to real-time or near-real-time sales data.

Creating the New Normal
For many CPGs, the key to success is to invest in a platform that offers a single system of engagement, giving teams one version of the truth across different departments and geographies. This gives consumer goods executives a unified experience as they access their data across the multiple cloud and hybrid platforms that form the backbone of today’s organizations.

Doing so is not straightforward. It requires a seamless connection between marketing and sales to ensure data is shared and utilized. Over time, brands can use this powerful insight to help create stronger and better performing consumer promotions that boost revenue, profit and market share.

Relevance at Scale
Achieving moment-by-moment relevance at scale takes incredible organizational agility. Just think about the logistics of monitoring and delivering a product or service that’s wholly relevant to each individual at each point in time, across a marketplace of millions, and you get a sense of the size of the challenge.

For today’s CPG leaders who want to stay leaders tomorrow, there is an urgent need to meet this challenge head on. It means fully embracing the digital and analytics capabilities that are powering the industry’s transformation.

By digitalizing their trade promotion activity, CPG brands have a strong opportunity to increase cut-through in a highly competitive market. Achieving success is no small task, however, and requires commitment, management buy-in, and a sales team that instinctively “gets” new technology such as AI and machine learning and is passionate about using it to drive unprecedented results through data.

As marketing and social media data become more sophisticated and immediate, the next leap forward for CPG sales teams will be to combine insights from trade promotion with data from a wide range of internal and external sources. At the same time, ROI calculations will require stronger linkage between marketing and sales teams as TPM spend comprises traditional as well as digital channels. In so doing, they can ensure that the promotion team gets the data they need, when they need it

Dr. Martin Burgard is Accenture Cloud APP TPM Product Management Lead. For more information:

                                                                           June 2019
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