CASE STUDY. Barber Foods. Successful Trade Promotion Optimization Strategy Improves Retail Effectiveness. Challenge. Solution.

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1 CASE STUDY Barber Foods Successful Trade Promotion Optimization Strategy Improves Retail Effectiveness Challenge Faced with escalating trade promotion costs and spend rates exceeding industry averages, Barber Foods was challenged to find better ways to track trade spending and improve promotional cost efficiency while maintaining sales volume. Solution As part of the overall initiative to create a world-class sales and marketing organization, Clarkston Consulting was engaged to develop a strategy and implementation plan for Barber Foods Trade Promotion Optimization (TPO) process based on industry best practices. The strategy and implementation plan included: We ve only scratched the surface of the savings that can be realized from trade promotion optimization. We will leverage this process across all of our retail partners to build more effective trade programs moving forward. David Barber, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing, Barber Foods Trade promotion maturity assessment for three channels Process review and improvement plan Technology review including gap analysis Quantifiable analytics creation based upon event-level metrics Dashboard and scorecard template design and creation Benefits Using fact-based trade promotion analytics, Barber Foods is able to collaborate with their retail customers to jointly restructure their trade programs. With better compliance and knowledge as to which types of merchandising activities produce the highest consumer sales for each specific retailer account, stronger trade partnerships are forming to drive topline growth and bottom line profits. These changes look to reduce promotional spending by nearly 10% while increasing consumer sales through improvement in trade performance and better retail execution (features, displays, and temporary price reductions). Through improved processes and internal change, Barber Foods is able to better invest funds in events that produce a positive Return on Trade Investment (ROTI). This will create gains in total profit between 1 2% per year.

2 Introduction Business Challenge CASE STUDY Barber Foods Trade promotion spending continues to outpace sales growth especially for mature consumer products brands, and is typically the second largest expense on the income statement averaging 15% to 20% of gross sales and 65% to 75% of marketing spend. 1 Overall, North American manufacturers spend about $500 billion annually on trade promotion. Companies are continuing to spend more and more, yet a recent industry study estimates that more than 80% of consumer products manufacturers promotions are not measured. 2 As trade promotions expenditures continue to hit new highs, many manufacturers still view trade promotion as a cost of doing business. Used to help bolster margins, retailers continue to apply pressure for additional backdoor funds and threaten delisting those companies that do not want to pay-to-play. With billions of dollars at stake, manufacturers and retailers are looking to optimize the results of trade promotions. The issues surrounding retailer trade promotions impact more than just the large manufacturers with thousands of SKUs, understanding and enhancing both the business relationship and Return On Trade Investment (ROTI) can be a significant competitive advantage for many mid-market manufacturers. By identifying and eliminating events that do not provide a positive return on investment, companies can better allocate funds to support events that not only increase top line sales but also bottom line profits. Developing trade programs based on fact-based analytics encourages collaboration and innovation; both of which are required to build programs designed to promote customer and brand loyalty. Companies are quickly learning that a technology solution alone will not automatically deliver successful trade promotion programs. They are discovering that only when the organizational and business process issues are resolved can the enabling technology be used effectively. Elevating traditional trade promotion programs to innovative Trade Promotion Optimization (TPO) strategies incorporates this holistic approach and creates a long-term solution for leading manufacturers. Barber Foods is a successful 50-year old mid-market company that produces a premium line of frozen chicken products with strong distribution in the Northeast and Middle Atlantic states. Sales are evenly distributed across the retail grocery, club stores, and foodservice channels and more than 90% of the sales and marketing budget is allocated to trade promotion. Annually the company has only a few Free Standing Insert (FSI) coupon drops. The company has tested radio advertising in a few markets; but does not advertise on radio or TV on a consistent basis. Most marketing is accomplished via trade promoted events. When annual account and channel planning started, events were created on the previous year s information. The situation was further complicated by an event planning system that was not tied to a real-time event tracking system. These static plans could only be updated manually thus inefficiently alerting the supply chain. This provided an environment where retail partners could adjust events without notifying Barber Foods. Growing demands from across all trade channels for higher trade spend rates, in-store merchandising, and pay-to-play pressure were eroding margins and forced Barber Foods to reevaluate its overall trade strategy. It was becoming more difficult to subsidize short-term sales while trying to maintain margins without very significant growth in volume. Business Solution Clarkston Consulting took a two-phased approach to help Barber Foods implement an effective TPO strategy. Phase 1: Process Improvement Plan via a Maturity Assessment Beginning with a predefined set of industry best practices for each of the seven steps in the trade promotion lifecycle, Clarkston helped senior management identify the business process and technology changes needed for improvement by: 2

3 Figure 1. Seven Steps of Trade Promotion Management Lifecycle. 7 Category Optimization 1 Customer Business Planning 2 Budget Allocation 6 Management Reporting and Post Event Analysis Trade Promotion Management 3 Promotion Development and Modeling CASE STUDY Barber Foods 5 Settlements Conducting interview sessions and workshops with key stakeholders. Creating an as-is process and functional state. Pinpointing gaps between best practices and as-is state. Developing a future state based upon a combination of best practices and pragmatic changes to the organization. Creating a short-term and long-term road map including: Resource needs Training requirements Time commitments Technology improvements Data warehousing needs 4 Retail Execution and Monitoring The maturity assessment identified the client s current practice for each step in the trade promotion lifecycle across all channels and departments to gain an understanding of how it compared to the industry, on average, across a sample set of industry best practices. Using a 1 5 scale, an overall score was computed for each of the steps depicted in Figure 1 to benchmark the client relative to industry leaders. In addition, Clarkston was able to establish where manual processes and multiple owners were causing gaps and breakdowns. Each major area within the trade promotion lifecycle provided valuable process improvement opportunities for Barber Foods. The team prioritized short-term versus long-term gains based upon return on investment metrics. Clarkston identified quick win opportunities for improving trade promotion efficiency across departments for each channel without significant capital investment in technology or external resources. Opportunities were prioritized based on need, time to implement, and expected gain. Improved account planning, budgeting allocation, and post-event analytics were the main focus for process

4 CASE STUDY Barber Foods improvements. Areas identified are expected to provide a positive return to Barber Foods within 6 to 18 weeks of implementation. Phase 2: Business Analytics Review The business analytics review evaluated the specific data, systems, and analytics used by Barber Foods in trade planning and execution. Data was collected manually from multiple information sources including syndicated scanning, internal shipments, and promotion costs for the purpose of estimating ROTI for selected retail accounts. The review revealed that the sales results achieved at retail could not support the current levels of trade spending for many key accounts. The preliminary analysis: Identified the best of in-store merchandising based upon historical data. Provided guidelines for restructuring trade funds to be better aligned with retailer compliance. Included insights into timing and frequency of trade events. Upon completion of the analysis, Clarkston made the following recommendations to improve trade analytics within the existing systems and available data: Create Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to help sales management measure trade event performance. Develop baseline models to quantify incremental volume and profit to determine ROTI. Implement demand-based what if simulation models for sales planning and demand-based forecasting. Create future trade events based upon historical successes. Eliminate wasteful funding of historically poor events based upon quantifiable evidence. generated during each retailer trade event. Incorporating the client s internal financial data, Clarkston performed cost-benefit analyses for key account trade events that measured ROTI. These baseline models can now be used to simulate what if scenarios for forecasting consumer demand and successfully planning future retail trade events. These consumer driven demand models will eventually be the basis of a future real-time integrated demand and supply network. In addition, Clarkston designed a custom Promotion Elasticity Study that was supported by the syndicated data supplier with Clarkston s leadership. This information was used to gain strategic insights on how consumers respond to Barber Foods brands during retail trade promotions. With this knowledge, Barber Foods can determine for specific retailers which type of in-store merchandising produces the highest level of consumer sales with the least cost. Clarkston also provided direction and recommendations for developing a strategic plan for custom business analytics using household data to better understand the Barber Foods consumer. A key success factor for the TPO initiative was Barber Foods executive sponsorship and leadership, which effectively drove the change needed within the organization. A collaborative team approach removed the major obstacles that were preventing a clear understanding of the financial consequences of high levels of trade spending on bottom line corporate profits. Involving the regional sales managers was vital in gaining acceptance and taking ownership of the changes required for improving sales performance and profitability. Throughout the entire TPO process, teams focused on learning from the past and implementing successful trade programs that will create outstanding retail collaboration. The new trade promotion KPIs are designed to measure trade promotion effectiveness and create customer insights. Traditional metrics such as product revenue, revenue per case, and case spend rates have been replaced with KPIs that are based on incremental volume using baseline models that measure both relative and absolute performance for brands within retailers. Using rule-based formulas, the KPIs are delivered in a dashboard style format for efficient use by field sales. Utilizing existing and available syndicated POS and internal shipment data, Clarkston developed baseline models to determine incremental volume and sales lift Business Benefits As a result of this project, Barber Foods now has: Greater control over their trade promotion expenditures. Ability to measure performance at retail chain level. Better understanding of what works best and why. A base system for predicting the financial results of future trade events. Though Barber Foods realizes that TPO is a continuous and evolving process, the company is quickly experiencing

5 CASE STUDY Barber Foods the benefits and financial rewards resulting from applying industry best practices with advanced analytics to real life situations in negotiating with their retail trading partners. Within weeks after project completion, Barber Foods changed its approach for account planning and business reviews. Instead of simply repeating last year s programs, Barber Foods was able to use trade analytics with one of their major retail customers to illustrate that many of the past events did not produce a positive return on investment. By eliminating the waste, Barber Foods was able to redistribute the trade spending at more favorable rates to yield higher sales and profits. This approach will be used for all major accounts in the future. Barber Foods and several of their retail trading partners are now working together to improve trade promotion efficiency. The result has been a positive change in behavior and a stronger commitment to collaborate in planning upcoming trade promotions events. In addition, with the trade promotion analytics framework and road map provided by Clarkston s assessment, Barber Foods will develop a trade promotion strategy for each business channel and specific retail customers. Training on the new KPIs used in the scorecards provided financial insights across all Barber Foods departments. With new processes and the ability to measure ROTI, the company now has the visibility and accountability needed to begin restructuring their trade promotions programs to better serve the retailer and consumer. Barber Foods also made the decision to hire a permanent TPM staff member to supplement their prior team. With these improvements taking place, Barber Foods expects to realize a 1 2% increase in total corporate profits and continued sales growth from the restructuring of its trade promotion budget in Notes 1. AMR Research, Promotion Effectiveness: More Important Than Ever for Consumer Products Companies, February CGT Magazine, Trading Up: Building Smarter Promotion Strategies, Clarkston Consulting is a leading management and technology consulting firm that provides strategic business solutions for clients within the life sciences and consumer products industries worldwide. These market leaders turn to Clarkston to help them bridge the gap between strategy and execution to sustain a competitive advantage. Clarkston is a sought-after business partner because of its recognized industry thought-leadership and superior client relationships, as measured by The Conference Board s survey on client satisfaction. For more information, visit

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