The new year is kicking off with plenty of challenges for consumers, retailers and CPG brands alike — and it seems we’ll start another year under a cloud of uncertainty. But if we learned anything from 2021, it’s that the businesses demonstrating the greatest agility and ability to connect with consumers will find themselves in the best position to thrive and outperform their competitors.
The best way to demonstrate that performance edge for CPG brands is with a successful strategic approach to promotions. Worldwide supply chain disruptions, rising production costs and labor struggles have all made pricing and promotions decisions more complicated. Brands need more advanced tools and intelligence in their arsenals than ever before to optimize their promotional planning for 2022.
Promotions Align with Changing Shopping Habits
It may feel natural for brands to run fewer discounts when dealing with tighter margins and inflationary pressures, but promotions are too effective at driving sales to disappear entirely. Indeed, in times of rising prices and product availability issues, promotions can resonate even more strongly with consumers.
Brands need the right data sets to help them promote more precisely while still offering perceived value to customers. That doesn’t mean all promotional tactics are created equal, however. It’s critical for brands to know exactly which discount, display and feature support generate the most lift for their products most efficiently, and how and when to deploy them to maximum effect.
Shoppers have been battered by the economic ups and downs of the pandemic, and they’re doing a better job of scrutinizing their purchases, weighing what matters to them, and deciding whether items are worth the cost — or not. Particularly now, as they face significant price increases across goods and service categories this winter, global consumers are expected to continue restructuring their spending and changing their habits throughout 2022.
Data Fills in the Gaps for Small Brands
This year, sales data and insights are an absolute must to win over these careful and value-conscious shoppers, especially for small and midsize CPG manufacturers. Emerging brands often struggle to identify opportunities that increase market share and sales, not because they’re overly cautious but because they lack the data and consumer insights to illuminate when, where and how best to make their moves.
For example, 66% of consumers globally, according to NielsenIQ research, say they have changed how they buy categories and brands, which has significant implications for manufacturers and retailers. Large numbers of consumers are also employing new coping mechanisms to manage household budgets: 46% say they buy products based solely on promotions, irrespective of brand; 42% say the lowest price drives them; and 45% always seek private label/store brands to save money.
That type of market-level data is invaluable to smaller brands trying to grow and succeed during such uncertain pandemic-era circumstances. More granular, store-level performance data allows CPG manufacturers to make more strategic pricing and promotion decisions and helps them understand how their promotions impact sales in real time.
No Time to Waste in 2022
With the retail landscape changing fast, brands should be leveraging product promotions to remain competitive. If your brand is focused on growth, reflect on critical questions such as, where can we break into a retailer’s assortment, and what level of promotional support will help keep us on the shelf? Can our new products capitalize on a broader category or market trend, and will an aggressive feature or display strategy catapult our products to the top of consumers’ minds? Which markets give us the best chance to increase distribution, and what shape would our promotional strategies need to take to maintain it?
Data can answer these questions. It can reveal which markets are the best choice for expanded distribution and where there are opportunities to increase everyday prices or promote more aggressively. Data can also show where consumer attitudes or market trends have created a niche that a new product can fill. and how promotions influence existing product sales within that niche or category. All of this insight translates into a competitive advantage.
Seize this advantage early and often in 2022. If you invest in quality sales data and data tools, you’ll be better prepared to plan for future promotional campaigns and price adjustments across different regions and retailers. Uncovering category trends and optimizing your promotion strategy will ultimately give your brand a winning edge.
Andrew Criezis is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of NielsenIQ SMB business. He is a subject matter expert in CPG, go-to-market strategy (GTM), retail and brand analytics, global operations and revenue generation. Criezis spent eight years at NielsenIQ in senior leadership roles including SVP of Global Sales Operations and Sales Enablement before helping launch Byzzer as its Chief Product Officer in 2020. His long and varied experience qualifies Criezis to speak authoritatively on topics ranging from global product and integrated marketing to sales enablement to retail industry forecasting.