In recent years, and especially due to the pandemic, e-commerce has become very popular and the number of online customers has increased. After all, online shopping is very practical and saves time and effort, as you can choose and buy products from your armchair.
But some still like to go to stores to consult with the seller about a product, and the like. Others prefer multi-channel shopping and actively combine the physical with the virtual, as they use their phones to research and shop online in physical locations. That’s why companies must invest in both channels and find ways to connect them.
In this episode of The Marketing Rapport, Andrew Criezis, the SVP & GM, US at NielsenIQ, gets into the challenges facing brands and CPG today. Andrew and our host Tim Finnigan discuss the importance of balancing personalization and privacy, the growth of omnichannel sales, and what trends and challenges are impacting brands that seek out the expertise of NielsenIQ.
- Name: Andrew Criezis
- What he does: Andrew is the SVP & general manager, US at NielsenIQ.
- Company: NielsenIQ
- Noteworthy: Andrew is a subject matter expert in CPG, go-to-market strategy (GTM), retail and brand analytics, emerging brands, and revenue generation. Andrew spent seven years at Nielsen in senior leadership roles, including as SVP of Global Sales Operations and Sales Enablement, before helping launch Byzzer, an award-winning CPG data and analytics platform, as its chief product officer in 2020. His long and varied experience qualifies Andrew to speak authoritatively on topics ranging from global product and integrated marketing to sales enablement and retail industry forecasting.
- Where to find Andrew: LinkedIn | Website
- Balance between personalization and privacy. To keep your brand messages relevant and provide customers with the experience they demand, you need to personalize your communication, and the way to do that is by leveraging consumer data. However, while most consumers expect a personalized experience, they don’t want brands to get too personal with their messaging; so, you have to balance the line between personalization and data privacy to reap the full benefits of personalized communication. Regarding this balance and what NielsenIQ is trying to achieve, Andrew notes that it is important to follow all the guidelines. “Having guidelines or standards like there are in Europe and elsewhere, but also having companies that can centralize this and follow procedures and have a quality standard is important for the rest of the industry to be able to take advantage of that because it’s not just about, ‘Is data out there on a personal level?’ but it’s, ‘How is it being used and consumed?’ And where along that supply chain of personal data is it being altered or changed, and what’s it being used for?”
- Omnichannel sales will continue to grow, whether it’s shopping online or in a store. During COVID-19, online shopping has become the primary way to shop. COVID has been the driving force behind omnichannel sales, a multi-channel sales approach focused on providing a seamless customer experience, whether a customer is shopping online from a mobile device, on a laptop, or in a brick-and-mortar store. According to Andrew, the opposite effect of COVID is that people now want to get out of the house, so he believes that people expect to be able to shop both online and in-store. “COVID was staying in the house, shopping online, exposing people to online sales, but at the same time, people now want to be back out in society. So, I do think there’s going to be more of these — what I’ll call — hyper-local boutiques. There’s a shift in the consumer that is really valuing local — so local products, sourced locally — things that are more sustainable from local farming and things like that. So, I do think there’s going to be smaller store formats focusing on local products that are playing into this, more of those lifestyle trends, but that online is not going to slow down; it’s just going to grow.”
- Brands become influencers online. Sustainability has become an essential feature of any company and brand. Sustainability means meeting one’s own needs without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their needs and the power of a company to exist and develop without exhausting all the natural resources needed for life in the future. And even though it’s harder for a CPG to market that sustainability, Andrew says there are ways to do that because brands build incredible online followings. “A company that I work with, Mid-Day Squares, they make this chocolate brand, and they want to be the biggest chocolate brand in the world. They’re building an incredible following. They’re doing fantastic. They’re selling like crazy. But how they’re doing it is unique. They are leading with different attributes that are really important. And so, if you pick a sustainability brand, you can lead with that, and you can create a big following on social media.”
Small Brands Innovate Incredibly Fast
“We did a study, and around 47% of consumers are looking at small brands as a preferred purchase path, which is interesting. You’ve gotta have a certain percentage of individuals who want large brands because it’s nostalgic, it’s secure, it’s the same thing they’ve been having for 20 years, but a larger share is now shifting to wanting to try small brands because they think it’s healthier for them. They think it’s fewer ingredients, it’s less toxic, whatever it might be, or it’s something new and innovative because a lot of those small brands are the ones innovating. They’re listening to the wellness needs.”
Why Do Brands Come to NielsenIQ?
“There’s an influencer piece, but the first and foremost is just understanding what’s going on from a market share standpoint. Like, who are my competitors? What’s taking place? I’ve got my brand. I’ve got these five competitors; what are they doing? What’s selling in the marketplace? What are the comparisons? How am I doing in specific geographies, regions, or certain retailers, as well as online? Like, where are these competitors coming from? And also, what’s unique about their products? Which competitors are free from certain toxic ingredients or free from certain allergens that you can’t have? All of those ingredients and components become really important.
The second aspect would be a better understanding of who are the consumers — going into that panel insight. […] And then the other question they’re coming to us for is, ‘Who’s my online shopper?’ Because what’s interesting is that your online shopper is different from your in-store shopper. And those demographics and how you want to market or advertise to them is significantly
And then, when it comes to the influencer piece, it’s like, ‘Am I getting the lift off these influencer campaigns?’ So, if I’m going to spend 20,000, 50,000, or 100,000 on an influencer, what’s the lift and what’s the impact that I’m getting? And then, is that localized to where that influencer is or is it national? Is it global? And so, that level of measurement is becoming more important.”
Challenges for CPG
“CPG does not have its shortage of challenges. So, every call for a year was supply chain — that was the big one — and then it became inflation. And we’ve been living with that. That’s going to continue to be a challenge for the industry. A lot of brands I talk to are on their fourth round of pricing increases. Are they going to take a fifth? Are they going to take a sixth? So, that is a really tough decision. Also, they’re deciding where they want to be on the price ladder. Do you want to be a price premium, or do you want to be cheap? So you have all those options when inflation is high; we haven’t been in that environment before. So, that’s going to continue to be one. The second thing that is coming up when I look forward, aside from inflation — when it backs away more, which it’s starting to do — is around sustainability. It is a trend that is growing, as I talk to more industry veterans, influencers within the industry, celebrity influencers; that is becoming something that consumers are going to get and are becoming more educated on.”
[12:52] “People are more willing to trust reviews and trust others than they are to trust the history of a product.”
[29:36] “A depth of understanding around data is invaluable; understanding not just how you can use data but also the limitations.”
[31:16] “Maybe you started as a data person, but challenge yourself to go into marketing, even if that’s not your long-term vision or mission. Having that experience in marketing and then going back into the data side is incredibly useful, and likewise the opposite.”
[35:56] “The alignment across your functions is going to have the biggest impact on how successful and how much of a difference you can make to the bottom line.”