September 13, 2021
Stacy Bohrer

How CPG marketing can catch its white whale

CPG marketers have always craved more data for precise targeting and analysis. This inherent and historical challenge in a business model where product is not sold directly, but rather through a complex network of distributors and retailers, leaves marketers constantly searching for more data-driven avenues to pursue. With the rise of Retail Media Networks, Foodtech, and the largest retailers beginning to monetize their data, marketers are inching closer than ever to connecting with their consumers directly. In fact, the largest brands are so eager to connect 1:1 with their audience that organizations are doubling down on DTC strategies more than ever before. And yet, while marketers are more data-driven than last year (or the year before), there are still silos preventing marketers from accessing meaningful data that can serve as the foundation to all activation. 

Without timely, accurate, and holistic retail data, CPG marketers are left to guesswork on core components of their job: understanding their consumer, precisely targeting their audience, and delivering the right message at the right time to drive measurable results. After many years at The Trade Desk, I saw CPG marketing come a long way — especially for the largest brands — but I have yet to see sales and inventory data meaningfully drive advertising strategy. That is, until now. Crisp is partnering with advertising platforms, retailers, and brands to connect the dots in CPG marketing, helping retailers and brands finally use sales and inventory data to build precise, efficient ad programs.

The missing piece in retail advertising

The status quo of CPG advertising has forced marketers to run campaigns without critical data about consumers, sales, distribution, or real-time inventory status. First-party data is non-existent outside of DTC (and let’s be honest: would you ever go to one site to buy ketchup and another to buy buns?). While second-party data from syndicated data sources is a strong proxy, it’s often limited to market-level rather than store-level detail. What’s more, syndicated data is usually available on a month-long delay, making it hard to use insights to optimize campaigns in real time. Data might be available from retail partners, but that requires taking dozens of spreadsheets and digesting them into something that can provide any value. If brands are doing this type of analysis, marketing teams and their agency partners don’t often gain access to it.  

As a result, advertising campaigns are activated without key visibility that could make them more effective and efficient. For example, say your brand is rolling out a new product in 500 test stores. Your company has target sales to hit, and it’s your job as a CPG marketer to help make that happen. Here’s the catch: you have no idea exactly when this new product is hitting retail shelves at any store or retailer. It won’t be placed on the shelves until all the existing older products have been sold, which could happen on any given day for any given store. So you’re faced with the decision to either launch an ad campaign knowing that much of your audience can’t even get the product yet, or wait a month or so to start advertising and miss the opportunity to make a timely splash. And if you’re just targeting by market, chances are you’re wasting some portion of ad spend on shoppers who aren’t even near one of the test store locations.

As any marketer spending ad dollars knows, you also need to prove your impact. But without data to tell you what products are selling where, it’s nearly impossible to take your advertising strategy and tie it to results at physical retail locations. As a result, marketing is often tied to digital KPIs, but not to core business objectives. That’s as good as it can get without true visibility into sales and distribution…but Crisp is changing this. 

Crisp bridges the gap in CPG marketing

With Crisp’s open-data platform, CPG marketers finally have access to the data they’ve been yearning for. Crisp’s open API facilitates the flow of real-time data from retailers and distributors, helping brands dictate their bidding strategy and whole approach to shopper marketing. By automatically ingesting sales and inventory data across grocery, drugstore, e-commerce, and convenience retailers and piping it into media buying platforms and business intelligence tools, brands and their technology partners can automate ad targeting and increase efficiency. 

Applying this data to marketing execution eliminates both the waste of ad spend and product on the shelf, as marketers can better understand where to drive in-store traffic and when support for that retailer is needed the most. Here’s another scenario: by looking at Crisp data, you can see that your product is approaching its expiration date at a given retailer or distribution center. You might decide to change your ad creative to focus on a coupon that can move that product faster, ensuring that no food is tossed and no dollar is wasted. This is a win-win for both retailers and brands, as brands can heavy-up support for driving in-store traffic to a retailer who is short on sales. Furthermore, Crisp couples sales and inventory data with AI, leveraging the past and present to predict the future. For example, Crisp will flag “out of stock” retailers for its brands. The result? Brand restock.

Crisp data also helps marketers plan their overall approach to ad spend to maximize returns. After all, not all sales are created equal: they may be more profitable at some retailers than others. This might mean you’re willing to spend $2 to acquire a customer for one retailer and $1.50 for another. Data can help refine your bidding strategy accordingly. Because Crisp’s platform normalizes data across various retailers, marketers can have a clear view of the world and easily drill into each retail partnership individually, too. Comparing data from different retailers or with different naming conventions can often be like comparing apples to oranges, but with Crisp, this data is consolidated for actionable insights. And with data flowing from a live feed, marketers can also accurately measure the impact of advertising by tracking sales for a given product and store in real time.

I’ve seen first-hand how marketers from small brands to the largest multi-billion dollar companies have struggled to find this level of insight. That’s why I’m delighted to work with advertising, retail, and brand partners at Crisp to help marketing teams across CPG get the data they need to drive profitable growth and strengthen retail relationships. 

For more information on Crisp’s open-data platform, contact us today for a demo. To stay up-to-date on CPG industry insights, subscribe to the blog.

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Be Data Ready for Anything

Crisp uses the power of the cloud to connect and analyze all of your data sources in real-time, providing you with the most meaningful insights and trends for your business. When you know exactly what’s in store, you can keep shelves stocked and customers happy while skyrocketing profitability.

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