Are CPG Companies Agile Enough to Meet Consumer Demand?

I want to reflect on 3 insights from 2021 that I had shared back in December. Or maybe I should say 3 crucial questions we need to answer, for continuous growth in this new digital era, we’ve embarked on recently.

0:12 Intro
0:30 Are we agile enough? How can we – CPGs and FMCG - react more quickly to consumer demand?
3:16 Are we investing in the right technology?
5:13 How are we going to find the right talent?

Can we harness the power of data to act with the agility of a start-up? That's the question to answer for all CPGs to be really agile. When CPGs can aggregate disparate data sources, use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) solutions to recognize patterns in data, and automate processes based on AI and ML rules and models, then we can gain insights to act with agility of a start-up to uncover opportunities and overcome our industry challenges. Because demand is fragmented and the runway for innovation, digital transformation is getting shorter and shorter. We can’t look ahead 3-5 years anymore, the horizon is only 12-18 months away. Consumer preferences change rapidly, and the “digital natives”, Gen Z and now upcoming Gen Alpha, make their choices and purchases based on user-generated content (UGC), online reviews, and their favorite influencers’ posts, many of whom have millions more followers than the brands they promote. That’s the reality of the web 2.0 era that we’re living in, influencers can grow faster and bigger than brands, in terms of reach and loyalty, at a much lower cost.

If we can successfully incorporate omnichannel consumer analytics into our business processes, we can generate actionable insights about our consumers. There are significant changes taking place in shopping habits and we need to be at the forefront of that change, if we really want to engage with our consumers and create meaningful experiences for them.

Next steps to increase agility?
1) We should determine our high-level pain points,
2) take an inventory of our data sources, and
3) prioritize areas where we want to increase agility.

To generate a single view of D2C consumers, partners, suppliers, B2C or B2B customers, and business processes we’re going to need a holistic analytical platform. So, we can integrate the data about consumer behavior into our operations. This level of integrated analytics could help CPGs achieve omnichannel objectives and bring across-channel consumer preferences above the surface. So, we can make accurate and timely decisions about our operations across the organization.

People with technological skills in the fields companies need most, such as eCommerce and data science, are in high demand. Many new graduates choose to work for tech companies with high salaries, therefore hiring competition is intense. CPGs already started increasing their salary and benefits packages to attract them, so are consulting and technology firms.

We should reward agility over perfection while we need to figure out how to operate faster with clarity. We need to blend local and global, where we can enable business units locally within a global workflow.

#digitaltransformation #agility #talent

Opinions are my own, not the view of my employer. ____________________________________________________________

About Mert Damlapinar

Mert Damlapinar has been in director roles for eCommerce, digital marketing, and sales, he's currently Global eCommerce Lead for Mondelez International. He holds a master's degree in Applied Business Analytics from Boston University (magna cum laude), executive management certificates in Integrated Digital Marketing from Cornell University, and Applied Data Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He's a member of MIT Technology Review Global Insights Panel, Consumer Goods Technology Executive Council, The Digital Shelf Institute Executive Forum, and Brand Innovators Labs Innovation Advisory Council.

He's currently working on his 2nd book.
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