Aligning around True North at Shopper Insights Conference


I’ve just spent the day at Shopper Insights and Behaviours conference chairing the afternoon session and speaking in the morning session.

Theme of my presentation:
If organisations are going to transform using data , they need to be clear, unambiguous and aligned around an agreed vision , strategy and execution plan to be successful. All pointing together towards True North.

1. I laid out the what and how of transformation.
2. I talked through examples of how organisation have delivered transformational improvements to The Customer Experience , Customer Communication and Understanding of the Customer.
3. I then talked through my experience of how to deliver transformation in retailers, and how suppliers and retailers can work together to drive change. 

Other Key out-takes from the sessions :

Great case studies on solving strategic problems from

  1. Gary Seaman (RB) on developing environmental brands in cleaning.
  2. Chris Wrighton and Daniella Basain (Premier Foods)on turning around a declining MrKipling Brand
  3. Gizem Donmez (Nelsons) on starting with customer understanding in developing an omnichannel approach for Rescue Remedy
  4. Scott McPherson (Nairn’s) and Giorgio s Argyropoulos (Pepsi) on How Insights around missions need to be applied in the Convenience channel.

Panel Discussions with James Brett (Twinings) Maxime Dassonville (BIC) Neil Bellamy (General Mills) Sean McKee (Schuh) Daniella Bassein (Premier Foods) Dev Mukherji (PostOffice)  David Harrison (Coop) Caroline Walsh (Musgrave)


Key uptakes from the sessions and the panels

A. Deep understanding of shopper Needs: many techniques exist to deliver a deep understanding of customers ( with lots of technical suppliers in Martech specs). Nothing really beats watching customers first hand in stores , but using all the different techniques starting it’s important to start with clarity on the problem you are trying to solve first.

B.Technology Suppliers know their stuff but aren’t clear what problem their product solve – they don’t know how to sell or make it easy to buy. “There is a myriad of Tech companies but there is no technology to help me understand customers in store” James Brett.

C. Insights being split into two types of work: Strategic and tactical.

  1. Strategic deep view of understanding customers : longer term projects where spend time thinking about the problem as well as how to solve it. Look at triangulation or longer term trends, qual, quant.
  2. Tactical view quick response using panels, Skype groups, observations in store.

D. Insight Leaders becoming agnostic about mechanic, bigger focus on understanding the problem and then working on the solution. There needs to more of a focus on howdo you get clear on problem you are trying to solve. There is a recognition that retailers aren’t totally clear and aligned on the problems, and there isn’t alignment between suppliers and retailers.

Really understanding the problem and creating alignment around a solution is the challenge

F. Insight into Action: insight leaders need to be commercial as well as customer to align the organisation around change.

G. Understanding Retailers and Partnering with them. There was a consistent message from many speakers and participants that this was a key issue for suppliers: Understanding How CPG work with retailers to grow categories was an interesting panel session Good case studies and discussions from Premier Food (Chris & Dani) Dev & Giorgos  and David from Coop. Neil Bellamy From General Mills recommendation was to get clear on a message and identify and work with multiple stakeholders in retailer. Dani recommendation was to start with customer and see how that also aligns with retailers’ strategies Dev suggested focusing on Missions and integrating from prestore to purchase.

Building a consistent story and presentation that drives sales was a challenge many suppliers had with retailers: best solved by having a supplier and retailer perspective underpinned with a razor like focus on a commercial customer focus.

Author: Andrew Mann

Managing Partner at NorthBailey. Having had senior marketing & insight roles at Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Coop and M&S, I'm now using my experience & network to solve strategic marketing problems for NorthBailey clients

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