Let’s not kid ourselves, successful marketing is no small task. This is especially true for companies in the consumer goods industry. Not only do consumer goods manufacturers have to worry about a long list of competing products, but they have to be especially clever to earn the attention of their prospective customers. And with tight deadlines and pressure from leadership, marketing and sales teams can easily make rash and unfounded decisions.

Not surprisingly, these types of decisions oftentimes result in costly promotions and wasted marketing dollars. Brand managers and marketing professionals have recognized that data and information are paramount to their success. Over the past 30 years, ‘gut-feeling’ marketing is slowly being replaced by fact-based marketing. The reason? Marketing teams understand that each campaign has varying results. The fact-based marketing approach puts sales metrics and customer data at the forefront, allowing companies to: 1) establish an accurate baseline, 2) identify the incremental lift for each campaign, and 3) calculate the return on investment for each marketing campaign.

The Solution: Retail Sales Analytics Software

To properly capture these metrics, companies have turned to retail analytics solutions to capture and analyze sales data. While different platforms offer varying value-added features, it’s important that marketing and sales teams have the functionality they need to truly transition towards fact-based marketing. Below are 3 key features that help sales and marketing make the most of retail analytics:

1. The Ability to Display Sales and Inventory Information from Any Channel

It’s no secret that e-commerce channels are continuing to gain traction in virtually every vertical. Considering the size and scope of e-commerce channels, including newer players like Walmart and pioneers such as Amazon, it’s becoming a major challenge for marketing teams to efficiently capture and organize sales metrics for each channel. Retail analytics software is the ultimate solution as it will automatically pull together sales and inventory information from each and every sales channel, organizing data without ever opening a single spreadsheet. Thanks to these new technologies, marketing teams are now just a few clicks away from their most coveted metrics.

2. The Ability to Calculate ROI and Visualize the Impact of Marketing Campaigns

As mentioned previously, it’s imperative that marketing teams are able to capture all of the relevant metrics to properly calculate ROI. Historically this has been a challenge for marketing professionals as it can take several days just to collect data for each channel. But with the help of analytics platforms, data is no longer trapped in silos. To see the impact of a specific marketing campaign, it’s now as simple as choosing the promoted product(s), selecting the retailers that are running the promotion, and specifying the time period. The heavy lifting of data collection and baseline calculations are handled by automated cloud software – allowing marketing and sales teams to free up valuable time while capturing greater insights.

3. The Ability to Reveal Cross-Channel Profitability

Cross-channel promotions have become the new norm for product companies selling through online and offline channels. Cross-channel marketing is the byproduct of the omnichannel revolution taking place in retail, whereby customers expect a holistic experience across every channel. The problem is that cross-channel marketing initiatives tend to be much more difficult to track. However, retail analytics software is now making it easier for marketing teams to analyze data for any subset of retailers, whether it be brick and mortar or e-commerce. The key here is being able to pinpoint which channels/retailers are experiencing the highest sales growth while also recognizing which channels have been ineffective throughout the duration of the campaign. This heightened level of visibility provides companies with greater assurance in how future promotions will affect sales. Most importantly, companies can reallocate marketing dollars to higher performing channels, investing in channels that produce the highest marketing ROI.

Unlocking Growth

Retail analytics is helping to define the future of fact-based marketing. With real-time insights, marketing teams are harnessing analytics to identify best practices and better allocate marketing resources. With these tools in hand, businesses have visibility into the most important factors impacting their business. Whether it’s knowing what’s in stock, what’s selling fastest, or which campaign is driving the best results, analytics software is redefining the decision-making process for leading product companies.

The bottom line: Retail analytics is an investment towards greater insights and better business results for product companies. And for marketing teams in search of establishing a transparent and data-driven culture, business analytics will continue to be an investment that pays dividends for now and the future.