So, on my way back from the recent Stagnito Media's Hispanic 360 Conference in Las Vegas, I reflected on the many topics that had been discussed during that thought-provoking meeting. In no particular order, and along the lines of how my mind works, the following topics summarize some of those conversations.
"Shopper experience" is terrific for study, but the initiative is extremely difficult to put into practice. The retail industry is too massive and diverse to easily specify an identifiable set of parameters for any given business model. Retailers are looking at price/value, size and scale, regional approaches and store sets. They're struggling with how to generate revenue and strategically contain costs for profitability. Do the shelves offer too many me-too products that overlap in sameness and value? Retailers are fixated on industry technology, but where are the videos and interactive product locators in the stores? Most importantly, what is the point of difference of the store, and why should I shop there? These are old questions, but retailers continue to struggle to find new answers.
Big data is dominating the way retailers and CPGs apply critical information for growth. But too much of the data is technology driven, not people driven, and it focuses on providing better technology, not on matching usable insights to customer needs. Knowing what to do isn't the challenge; doing it is. The emphasis must be on improving speed to market for everything.
Emotional messages beat rational ones with shoppers, but where is that clearly identified in most of big data's conclusions? Edward James Olmos, actor and humanitarian, was keynote speaker at the Hispanic Conference, and his message was, "The future is not in the numbers, but in understanding human behavior. Build self-esteem and a positive image in your marketing."
New products have a 75 percent failure rate because most don't carry an immediately intuitive point of difference. For the number of successes to increase, manufacturers, distributors and retailers must align their supply chain, merchandising, promotion and marketing efforts to launch programs in a much tighter collaboration than ever before.
Overlaying these thoughts were three recurring themes that continually arise during management discussions:
- Most changes occur not when management is satisfied, but when it is disappointed.
- The two reasons people don't do what you expect are because they don't know how, or don't want to.
- Don't have a serious conversation with someone when they are tired, angry or just made a mistake.
I'll be talking to you after my next long plane ride.
President and CEO, Stagnito Media