Reva: Over the course of the past 25 years, we have seen a dramatic shift in the way consumers leverage technologies, in all forms, in their paths to purchase. Many of these digital advancements increasingly put consumers at the center of the buying experience, but change hasn't come easily to many of the long-established consumer products firms.
Today, we're going to unpack the evolution of technology and how CP firms can leverage technology to support their bottom lines. I'm joined today by Sabrina MacPherson, Managing Director at Publicis Sapient and Scott Petry, Senior Vice President of Engineering. Now let's dive in.
Sabrina, I'm going to kick things off with a question for you. Technology and the CP industry is a super meaty topic and can mean a lot of different things for different firms, from marketing technology to experience and ecommerce. Can you provide some context on the various functional areas where technology is playing an increasingly important role for consumer products firms?
Sabrina: Sure. So, you know, that's it, that's a big loaded question and to sort of kick it off. I think I would bucket two extremely topical areas right now, especially in light of the pandemic. Um, the first area is what, what I call always on engagement and that covers a lot of different components. But what that really is, is around CPG companies—changing fundamentally how they engage with their consumers. So moving from being more campaign focused and intermittent, being more offline and not very personalized, having individual, not really knowing their audience and their consumer to be recurring primarily digital personalized, or from by one P-data and content—that's always evolving and touching their consumers in an “always” way. And to drive that capability or change in engagement it really comes down to having a really strong data capability and a strong technology capability. So that's one bucket. And then I'd say the other bucket is no surprise around commerce. And so, what we're seeing right now is, is really the time is now for DTC and CPG.
You know, the industry has been flirting with the idea of going direct, a big, big CPG companies have been flirting with the idea of going direct given the success of some of the challenger brands going direct. But now there's no choice. Especially again, in light of the pandemic, which has behaviors, changing behaviors that were really seen as being relatively sticky and not going to be going away just because we solved, “solved” the pandemic.
So, in commerce, it's ironic you know, technology really helping these companies to engage and sell products directly to their consumers that are now going to become their customers.
Scott: If I could just add, I think, especially highlighted due to the pandemic, but also relevant any time as our, as our CBG clients start to go more direct to consumer, is getting better at demand planning and forecasting and figuring out where they need to have products, which shelves they need to be on in order to actually deliver them to end consumers.
And what are the supply chain implications of that? So again, another place where data and technology is a huge enabler and it's an area where not enough, not enough focus has been put over the last few years, and that was highlighted as soon as demand got really spiky for certain products and disappeared for other products.
And people started having trouble finding them and supply chains got disrupted as the pandemic kind of moved globally.