John Deputato Discussed the Use of Analytics with Argyle Executive Forum
Scott Robbin: Can you start with some background on the NPD Group and how you fit in there?
John Deputato: I manage the analytic solutions practice for The NPD Group, having joined the company about 18 months ago. My role entails setting the strategic vision for analytic solutions and providing the ongoing direction for the company’s growth in this particular area.
Previously I spent 10 years at SymphonyIRI (IRI), where I served in several senior leadership roles managing large client solutions teams. Prior to that I spent 15 years in marketing and worked on a broad range of classic CPG brands, from household product brands like Woolite and Airwick to fragrance brands like Old Spice and Stetson. I actually began my career on the operations side of the business in production and distribution planning before crossing over to marketing.
How has analytics evolved and what types of analytics are retailers and manufacturers most interested in today?
I divide analytics into three distinct eras. In the first era, CPG marketers did analytics by using data from companies like Nielsen and IRI and some basic tracking measures. Then came the advent of weekly point-of-sales data and consumer household transaction data; with this type of data some new forms of analysis emerged and modeling really began, since the data could be trended at a very disaggregated level. That was the point at which local marketing became extremely important.
In the second era, as exemplified by the book and movie Moneyball, the use of statistics to plan the likely outcomes took the place of more gut-based decisions. So in this period – what I call the expansion era – the analytics field became very competitive, with many analytics firms emerging and some retailers and manufacturers actually inventing their own analytic capabilities.
Now we’ve moved into the new era of digital and social media, where we’re faced with many challenges about how we measure online transactions and ROI against marketing spend. And given the nuances of online, the basic metrics will change significantly in the future from how we once measured that spend. As far as which analytics retailers and manufacturers are most interested in, I would say setting price, measuring marketing spend and forecasting are the big three. But we must realize that not all retailers or manufacturers are created equal from a sophistication standpoint, and the common language for them should involve the use of analytics to best determine what’s providing ROI.
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