Foundation for a Successful CPG Brand: Consumer Data, Competitive Intelligence, and the Right Tools to Scale

April 1, 2021
by SPINS Marketing

Brand Growth Begins By Understanding Customers

Understanding your consumers and your competition is fundamental to a successful businessYour consumers inform every aspect of your business, from what products you offer and the retail stores you partner with to the way you market. Your competition is trying to earn your shopper’s dollars and retailers’ attention.  

Knowing what information to gather—and then actually doing it—is one of the biggest challenges CPG brands face. The brands that do focus on gathering this data, learning from it, and putting it into action are the businesses that have longevity and loyal consumers. 

To help you build a foundation for a successful CPG brand, we sat down with our solutions architect Kevin Snodgrass to outline a strategy that he has seen get results. Here’s what we’ll cover:  

  • Identify your customers and their motivations: Successful brands take time to understand how shoppers spend time and money at the store.  
  •  Understand your competitive landscape: Knowing your competition means knowing yourself, and that’s why brands take a hard look at their category before going into their retail pitch. 
  • Explore emerging trends and opportunities for innovation: The best way to grow is to look at trends that are on the horizon and identify your opportunity to claim whitespace with new products. 
  • Get the right tools for the right story: Arm yourself with the right data points you need for a great retail pitch. 
  • Know when to ask for help: Find the right partner who can be an extension of your team and coach you to be a power user.

Data-Based Approach to Shopper Motivations

To create the products your customers are looking for—or the products that they need but don’t even realize it yet—you want to understand who they are and motivates their spending. Successful brands know how many households are purchasing their products, the average amount they’re spending per shopping trip, and how many trips they’re taking. Certain demographic basics, such as income, occupation, generation, and more also help and are great details to have, but ultimately your focus is on finding out how they shop and what motivates them to spend. 

That consumer information is foundational and gives you an edge that helps begin formulating a strategy to earn share of a consumer’s wallet. It also lays a foundation for you to build layer on more insights that complete the picture of who your customer is and what they’re looking for.  

By understanding your competitive landscape you’ll begin to see how you stack up to the competition.

Understand Your Competitive Landscape

Now that you know how your consumers shop, you are ready to add insights about the competitive landscape. Together, you can begin to understand who is trying to earn their dollars and which emerging trends you should be paying attention to.  

When you look at category and channel data, you begin to see how you fit in the market. If, for example, you’re a ready-to-drink beverage manufacturer, you want to know how well you’re selling in comparison to other RTD products, which other RTD beverages and non-RTD beverages are on the rise and decline, and what sales look like in natural, conventional, and regional outlets. You’ll begin to see how you stack up to the competition—and that could mean you’re even stronger than you expected or you have room to improve. 

Find Innovation and Emerging Trends

As you see what your position is within your category and channel, you’ll start to notice trends emerge that give you directional insights: RTD drinks are outpacing conventional retailers, but sales across all channels are up year over year. That’s great information, but you can go even further and look at the details that will make your conversations with retailers even more powerful. 

Information like ingredients, nutritional panel, and packaging claims factor into a shopper’s buying process. Sales for RTD drinks don’t necessarily grow uniformly. When you look closer at this content and package information—also known as attributes—you can learn about trends that are rising and declining. RTD drinks with clean ingredients and all-natural sweeteners could be outperforming the rest of the category while enhanced waters are trending up but not as aggressively. Suddenly you know exactly what’s happening in your category. 

Craft a Retail Story With the Right Tools

The goal of every successful company is to get their products to as many customers as possible and build long-lasting relationships with them and with their retailers. That’s why brand teams rely on data before having conversations with retailers, whether they’re looking to pitch a new product or find greater distribution. Using data points, insights, and market trends to show why they deserve more shelf space, brand teams can speak directly to a retailer’s biggest priorities. 

That’s why you want to find a data partner that offers easy-to-use solutions that let you and your team turn access into actionYou shouldn’t have to be a data expert to understand what’s happening in the market and how you’re performing. (Though it does help if your data partner has experts on hand.)

“If not for SPINS giving us a better understanding of the consumer and functional attributes, we would not be having these conversations with retailers.”

Kim Feil
Chief Merchandising Officer Aspire Drinks

Solutions at Every Growth Stage

If you’re looking for more information about your customers, start with Consumer Panel Data. You can look at purchase behavior, demographic reports, and segmentation insights. CPD also offers a brand switching analysis that breaks down which brands customers are migrating toward and helps you identify threats early on.  

SPINS also has cross-channel data and market insights that help brands learn more about their own business through point-of-sale information. Key Account Data lets you see what is happening specifically within the retailers you have a relationship with so you can speak specifically to what is in happening their stores. 

Use SPINS Product Intelligence to find growth driversexplore the attributes that correlate to emerging trends, and identify potential to reposition your existing products or innovate.  

You can also enjoy the expertise of SPINS experts by using our JumpStart program as we help you craft an effective brand story that appeals to retailers and makes use of the rich data you’ve gathered. 

Together, these solutions allow you to learn more about your business, your market, and your retailers so that you can grow your business, expand your distribution, and stay ahead of the competition.