For the past several years, most reputable research firms and consulting groups have echoed the same piece of advice for CPG companies: Invest in Emerging Markets. When reading through the“ “forward looking trends” compilations from these think-tanks, many consider it the most critical pillar for revenue growth.
McKinsey reports that emerging markets will account for more than half of all CPG revenues by 2020. Deloitte finds that “Global retail sales of packaged foods is expected to rise to over $3 trillion by 2020 with emerging markets being the primary factor”. It’s ubiquitous wisdom: A must-do for large brands and a must-consider for small to medium brands.
While all compasses point to emerging markets, what’s often missing for CPG brands is a detailed map to success. Unlike finance, telecom, and other service industries where customer insight is digitally tracked, many CPG companies are left in the dark when it comes to the final steps of their product’s journey. Small businesses and retailers still make up a large percentage of distribution outlets in emerging markets, yet only 14% of these SMBs have an online footprint. Field data intelligence from these markets has been almost impossible to attain.
And yet, the competitive landscape today dictates that brands stay agile in emerging markets, systematically adjusting their pricing, marketing, and product lines at the local level. Without high quality, localized insights, CPG companies risk not remaining competitive.
dataPlor solves this data intelligence problem for CPG companies through our global on-demand mobile workforce and data collection software. The increasing adoption rates of smartphones in emerging markets presents a huge opportunity for companies to gain intelligence direct from the source in real-time.
For CPG companies, photo collection adds even more value to the equation. Some of the critical business insights CPGs can gather from SMB outlets include pricing and merchandising data, geolocation data, branding and competitive marketing intelligence, and display.
We recently ran a test on cola brands sold in mini-markets and local convenience stores in Mexico and Brazil. During our research, we were able to activate our on-demand local networks and gather pricing and placement information for Coca Cola and Pepsi products as well as the exact geo-location and contact information for the stores carrying them. Our pre-built network and easily customizable collection software allowed us to collect this information in a matter of two business days. Outlined below are some of the findings.
This data would be vital to a new beverage company looking to define their own pricing or positioning strategies, or to Pepsi and Coca Cola themselves when planning promotions or revisiting distribution plans.
This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the volume of insights CPG companies can collect with dataPlor. We can easily customize to your project scope. Other examples of how CPG companies could work with us in emerging markets:
Verify product placement and display requirements are in place
Understand geographic placement of product, including previously unmapped outlets
Improve distribution logistics
Research the category and common brands your products are competing with
Research local audience preferences such as local vs. multi-nation brands present in-store, popular flavors, branding trends and buzzwords
The best way to verify, augment, and gather information is on-site. Our on-demand network of local representatives creates a reliable mobile workforce for hire, which gathers data at the source. This is the best model for data collection in emerging markets for a few key reasons:
Trust-worthiness: Most small businesses in emerging markets are "mom and pop" operations. A local representative that speaks their language and understands their culture is more likely to be warmly received than a foreigner who can’t fully explain why they are there.
Human cognition: Technology has come a long way, but “boots on the ground” deliver higher quality, more robust information. A live person can identify more attributes, problem solve when issues arise, and, most importantly, perform tasks such as engaging a store-owner or delivering a product. On the flipside, our data collection software reduces human error and ensures accurate geo-tagging.
Flexibility: By leveraging a local workforce like dataPlor’s, businesses have the flexibility to scale up or down at will without having to commit long-term to a remote team, or spend a fortune on T&E.
As emerging markets and localization gain momentum, CPG companies need to be focused, data-driven, and agile enough to re-allocate resources to the best opportunities. Image recognition technology and localized networks of smartphone operators mean CPGs have access to more data than ever before from high-growth markets. As technologies such as image recognition and geolocation become more mature, the amount of intelligence that can be gathered by on-demand local workers grows exponentially. CPGs should consider the potential benefits and brand-specific applications they can leverage to gain advantage from new data opportunities.