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Scary Trade Spend Stories


It’s the most spooky time of the year! As you ready yourself for Halloween fun, we’ve prepared a list of scary trade spend stories. Do any of these issues haunt you?

Double, double toil and trouble; you lose more when dipping doubles.


Double dipping is a witch’s brew of bad trade promotion claim validation practices.

Mix a little eye of newt with a claim submitted by a GPO plus a claim directly from the customer, and you’ve got a double dip. Chant the curse “the distributor just deducted” followed by “I already paid them,” and you have more double dipping darkness at your door.

The most terrifying part about double dipping? It haunts manufacturers all year.

Implement the right process to minimize over payments to distributors. “Implementing dynamic pricing approval has freed up a ton of my team’s time. Now, we can focus more on analytics, customer profitability, SKU rationalization and preempt other worrisome issues like double dips,” said Matt Stredney, Manager, Business Development Manager at Conagra Brands.




It’s indestructible. It’s unstoppable. It’s Amazon!


Like a scene out of The Blob, manufacturers and distributors alike fear the growing dominance of Amazon. As Amazon’s presence begins to ooze into the foodservice and CPG retail industries, people feel a sense of growing dread.

The pandemic could potentially “accelerate ecommerce by 10 years,” said Kris McDermott formerly of Edelman. “There are so many people rapidly adopting to the channel, where normally, we see incremental growth over time.”

In the month leading up to March 14—even before government issued shelter-in-place guidance—Amazon saw year-on-year growth:

  • 41% in household goods
  • 25% in health products
  • 23% in groceries

“Run, don’t walk,”  when it comes to preparing your Amazon strategy. Why?


Manufacturers: Amazon can quickly spot buying trends. Even if you leverage their platform to reach more customers, at some point, Amazon will be able to use your success against you by creating private label products to compete against your best sellers.

Distributors: Amazon could take a bite out of your independent and small chain operator business.


  • 81% of millennial foodservice operators use retail and eCommerce sites like Amazon in purchase decisions.
  • According to Technomic, 15% of independent operators already purchase via third-party eCommerce sources.
  • By 2025, Technomic expects 70% of operators to use eCommerce purchasing solutions.


We all go a little mad sometimes . . . when it comes to ROI


If you’re chasing return on investment on trade spend, you may feel like you’re going a little mad. On the surface, everything seems great. On the inside, you feel one step away from going Psycho on trade program performance.

After all, Gartner has discovered a pretty unsettling fact: as many as 67% of trade programs don’t break even.

Trade promotions usually consume 15% to 20% of a CPG organization’s revenue, but only about 20% of the companies can measure the performance of a promotion at an event level.


Nightmarish truths about your trade programs


In the 1992 adaptation of Dracula, Van Helsing said, “We are dealing with forces beyond all human experience, and enormous power.” Sure, he was talking about vampires, but aren’t deductions a little vampiric in nature? Deductions do suck the vitality out of your trade promotion initiatives after all.

The number one reason for deduction dollars is advertising, promotional and rebate claims. Ouch. Luckily, manufacturers have their own version of a real-life Van Helsing with advanced analytics solutions.

Is your trade spend data scattered throughout disparate sources, each of them as isolated and foreboding as the Overlook Hotel in The Shining? When you’re data isn’t harmonized, you have a frightful situation on your hands.

There is a bigger and costlier demon that lurks in enterprises… data silos. These silos are isolated islands of data, and they make it prohibitively costly to extract data and put it to other uses. … To move to the higher value uses and maintain a competitive edge, we need to lessen the impact of data silos on our businesses, said Edd Wilder-James.

When your data is murky, you can make bad decisions based on untruths. Without correct information, your revenues might stagnate. When you harmonize your data, you’ll have visibility into spend and control over decisions.

An Accenture survey discovered that 6 in 10 CPG company executives believe their technology investments have produced data that could generate actionable decisions and improve trade promotions.

With the right trade spend data analytics tools, you don’t have to just “wait here for a little while to see what happens.”

Take the Terror Out of Trade Spend


Many CPG companies see the process of organizing their data to be overwhelming. Thanks to the time-consuming and manually-intensive nature of spreadsheets and data logging — analysis becomes redundant and slow, preventing analysts from finding the valuable insights.

When practices are updated from spreadsheets to automated data flows, data analysis becomes significantly faster and more actionable. Don’t be afraid of your data, even if it’s a mess – you can make the switch to an analytical approach and optimize your trade programs.

Don’t go it alone – Escape the scares with a best-in-class SaaS trade promotion management application.