If something is difficult to sustain, people normally quit, right. I mean, it makes sense. Just look at all the failed fitness resolutions piling up outside your local gym every February.
The same is true when it comes to business practices. Those that are difficult to sustain get kicked to the curb. That’s why we’re advocating for simple and sustainable trade effectiveness processes and solutions that employees can adopt and continue utilizing to improve promotion management and optimization.
In the chase for elusive profitability, many companies overcomplicate trade promotion management and optimization with situation-specific spreadsheets, manual processes, costly software customizations, and ongoing consultative relationships.
The result may be incremental progress (if you’re lucky) – but often times companies never see measurable results from these initiatives. They abandon difficult-to-sustain practices in favor of doing what they did the year before with the same or even worse results.
Knowing that trade promotion spending will remain a significant investment of a CPG company’s sales and marketing budget, innovation that leads to quantifiable improvement in both process efficiency and revenue generation is a must.
Think about 4 criteria when evaluating solutions for performance improvement potential:
- Simplicity: Processes and solutions should make what is complex simple. Trade promotion applications should be easy to implement, easy to use and easy to adjust.
- Sustainability: Will your system provider evolve with your company’s needs and industry dynamics? Ideal TPx solutions will address today’s challenges with an eye toward tomorrow.
- Repeatability: Your team will thank you for reduction in tedious manual work. High performing teams favor integrated systems, automated intelligence and predictable outcomes.
- Measurability: Be sure that the processes and tools you’re putting in place allow you to observe what you did, how the promotion performed and how you might change the plan in the future for better results.
Prioritize 3 mindsets to build your ideal trade marketing program:
1. Analytics is for everyone
Your team won’t need a master’s degree in data science to pull analytical insights. With the right tools, post-event analysis is accessible to even novice analytical minds.
Trade marketing, sales and finance teams can have immediate access to quantified results with a trade promotion optimization (TPO) solution that automates data harmonization and post-event analysis. Analytics opens a window to past performance and your TPO solution should automate historical and predictive lift coefficients that guide the analytical approach during customer planning – without adding complexity to the sales planning team’s processes.
2. Integration is more important than customization
Companies often wish for very specific software customizations that address their unique approach to the market. Projects die on the vine when those needs cannot be met. It may be nice to customize your burger at your favorite restaurant, but when it comes to costly SaaS customizations, companies should think twice about going down a disparate path. Let’s say your company does get all the customizations they request; sure enough, those customizations will be followed by costly maintenance and enhancements due to a lack of alignment with the application proper.
We can empathize with the uniqueness paradigm. We all want to think our ways of doing things are special. The truth is that businesses often perform much more efficiently (and with better results) utilizing the best practices suggested by their trade application partner.
Focus on the seamless connectivity of your TPM and TPO solutions to get the most from your project. Make sure the data is flowing in a bidirectional manner to eliminate redundant data entry. When you have solutions that do the job well and take the workload off your team’s shoulders, the attention can shift toward business decisions and driving better results with optimized planning.
3. Simple and powerful can coexist
A TPR is a TPR. An ad is an ad. A display is a display. These key tactics of trade marketing don’t change. We know the challenge to building a revenue-generating, sustainable trade promotion program is determining the tactical mix – that provides optimal results – while meeting retail partner realities.
Your TPO solution must make the creation of events and plans, the calculation of historical and predictive KPIs, and the reporting of planned and executed performance easy for your teams to access, implement and share.
While the process should be simple, the outcomes should be powerful enough to make an impact. Is the data accurate? Can you compare multiple events or plans? Can you show your retail partner the advantages of shifting promotional strategy? Do you have the intelligence to build a better revenue growth management strategy for your business? Can you easily optimize an event or plan within constraints to align with the revenue, profit or volume objectives of the organization and your retail partners?
If the system is simple for your team to use and results in powerful insights for the business, the outcome is a proven path to overcoming stagnant trade promotion management practices.
So now is the time to go forth and conquer. Simple trade effectiveness can exist for your business. Sustainable solutions do exist. With the right approach, your team and your leaders will thank you for repeatable processes and trade investment improvements.