Big Data meets Marketing Again: This Time in the World of “Offline” CPG
Today InfoScout announced the launch of their company and their analytics dashboard for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) marketers. Bain Capital Ventures, along with Founder Collective and Dunnhumby Ventures, led a $5M Series A funding round in the company. We are thrilled to be partnering with the InfoScout founders, Jared and Jon, along with the entire InfoScout team.
We’ve discussed in the past here and here the rise of Marketing as the next great function in enterprise technology. A new wave of startups is leveraging Big Data and cloud computing to deliver incredible power to CMOs, giving them access to real-time insights and helping them drive faster, more data-driven decisions. InfoScout is leading this trend in the CPG industry where the marketing challenge is even more acute since the CPG brands don’t’ have direct access to the customer data (this is owned by the retailers) and the customer purchases take place primarily offline.
Given the lack of access to customer data, the 4 trillion-dollar industry of Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) spends tens of billions of dollars on market research, syndicated data, and panel data to determine which products are selling to whom and why. For instance, why are a particular cereal brand’s sales declining? Are households substituting the brand for a private label brand? Are they shifting to other breakfast substitutes such as yogurt and granola bars? Or, are they simply eating less breakfast? Retail point of sale (POS) data is helpful for understanding aggregate SKU sales by retailer but sheds zero light on the behavior of individual consumers or segments of households.
The incumbent market research firms have tried to solve this problem by conducting surveys of households or by building panels of families who have to “self-report” their purchase behavior with the assistance of proprietary hardware solutions. The problem with the legacy data providers is that their solutions are typically not real-time (they often are one to two quarters behind); they have significant underlying data problems because they rely on human recollection and require significant reporting effort; and their solutions require significant professional services and consulting support to use.
InfoScout is entering this market with a disruptive solution – the first module of which they are launching today. With InfoScout’s dashboard, marketers at retailers and brands can access real-time household purchase data built on fifteen million offline receipts captured a year (via smartphones) containing 100 million SKU-level purchases with accurate prices and descriptions. The marketers can review and manipulate this data in an easy to use web and mobile interface – no coding, no data consultants, and no data warehouse folks required. Brand managers, shopper marketing analysts, CMOs, and CEOs can now for the first time (without calling a data jockey internally) see how their new product launches are performing instantly; how their marketing campaigns are affecting household buyer behavior; how competitor’s launches are impacting their sales; and whether these insights are consistent by demographic and geographic segment. In addition, because InfoScout has the richest data solution for offline CPG purchase data, these marketers can drill into granular levels of analysis that were never before possible.