Food & Beverage and Beauty & Personal Care are key markets Skai serves, where our advanced analytics platform is used by business leaders to drive critical growth decisions in a very competitive and supercharged landscape.
We spent some time with Rigo Viezca, our head of FMCG Solutions (connect with him on LinkedIn here) to understand how leading FMCG brands are using advanced analytics to drive data-driven business decisions and what it is about Skai’s platform that drives more successful business outcomes as opposed to standard analytics or data management approaches.
Tell us about your career path and how you got into the world of advanced analytics
My first analytical job was in college as a Marketing Intern with the Big Ten Network. I was responsible for conducting primary research on a palm pilot and running statistical models to determine their ideal target market based on survey data. After college, I supported manufacturing companies where I was exposed to how products were developed and delivered from the lab to the conveyor belt.
A couple of years later I began working with a market intelligence services company where I was exposed to consumer data at scale, and got an appreciation for the importance of clustering/segmentation methods along with market sizing & forecasts, qualitative data, and other secondary data to paint a full picture of what is happening in the market. From there, I focused more on advanced techniques to predict future trends & behaviors.
When I joined Skai, I immediately got an appreciation for what it takes to uncover really relevant and actionable predictions and insights, and how being able to connect a wide array of disparate data sets can result in more granular outputs.
Why do you think advanced analytics are so important for FMCG manufacturers? Do you think they impact one segment more than another?
Advanced analytics do one thing more than anything – speed to action. It used to be to gain insight faster but insights alone are not good enough. The insights need to be relevant and actionable to drive a business decision. FMCGs operate in a super-charged competitive market landscape. They need to anticipate consumer demand, keep up their supply, outpace the competition and offer their product at a reasonable price. There are so many factors to consider when making all of these decisions and it changes from one zip code to the next sometimes, so access to data needs to be inherently embedded within their systems and business processes to allow them to surface insight.
Every FMCG segment works at a different pace. Most work on innovations two years out, so it’s often critical to prioritize efforts at the right moment with data.
Also, it doesn’t always mean large amounts of data are available to sift through to drive your strategy. Fresh Strawberries have different data assets to tap into than Color Cosmetics. Sexual Health or Feminine Hygiene might not benefit from all of the external data compared to Vitamins & Supplements or Household Products. Incorporating the maximum data sets and extracting the relevant context is key. There are also great opportunities with cross-category innovations, so being able to understand the relationships and the influences between and among categories and also uncover white spaces for FMCGs to tap into. Advanced analytics can surface all of these things.
What does being Head of FMCG Solutions at Skai entail?
Every day is a different day which is exciting but at the core, my goal is to demonstrate to clients how they can use big data and advanced analytics to inform the business decisions that they face.
Right now, there is a great need for FMCG brands to understand how consumer sentiments are changing and shifting and whether those changes will be short-lived or more permanent. They can use the insights gleaned from our platform to align their product strategies accordingly, and to adjust their positioning and marketing messages to be more resonant with how consumers are feeling and thinking about specific product benefits and attributes. My job is to empower them and to show them that the signals are all out there, and they can use the platform to surface the market intelligence they are looking for or are not even aware is out there.
My team consists of the Solutions Consultants and Customer Success teams across clients of all shapes and sizes that touch FMCG. We work closely with the commercial and operations team to drive client value and align on the overall strategy. If I’m not in front of a client, then I’m telling a story to demonstrate the power of external data.
What do you like most about what you do?
Pivoting from one category to the next and learning about client challenges. Being naturally curious and a problem solver helps me empathize with their needs and having been in the industry for a while allows me to offer a wide range of data strategies and solutions, not just insights. I’m a consumer so it’s intriguing to see my purchases impacted by some of the data-driven decisions that I’m helping to inform as well.
How do you think clients and potential clients can leverage you best as a trusted source inside the company?
Working with CPG/Retailer/Supplier clients for the past 10 years, I’ve listened to needs from CEOs down to interns across every category. My unique consultative point of view of different data sets and approaches can help point them in the right direction based on the business questions they are trying to tackle.
It is well-known that many data initiatives have actually failed for many companies. In as few words as possible, tell us why our clients are bucking this trend: what is it about Skai that drives successful business outcomes?
Data initiatives do not just fail in my opinion. They just simply tend to either realign often so it’s a constant moving target or they do not align with business strategies.
Here at Skai, we connect so many different data sources and apply a deep curated taxonomy that makes the outcome of the advanced analytics platform an objective feed to business and product decision making. The insights the advanced analytics platform provides gives clients the granular evidence and confidence they need to act at scale. We are helping clients reimagine how they consume and apply data to support product lifecycle decisions from pre to post-launch.
What do you think the future holds for advanced analytics initiatives in FMCG?
As FMCG companies continue to adopt digital transformation initiatives, we’ll see more advanced analytics across every business decision. Everyone is thinking about it, but it takes time to understand how to scenario plan, for example with a prediction report, etc. or how to incorporate different types of data, including internal and external data into one connected platform. Smart data and change management are key to help push it all forward.
*This blog post originally appeared on Signals-Analytics.com. Kenshoo acquired Signals-Analytics in December 2020. Read the press release.