Building Business-Impacting Solutions has been an in4mation insights specialization for over a decade. Our solutions always combine Data, Analysis, and insightful Delivery to provide outputs ranging from the simple when appropriate (e.g. raise price X% and your volume goes down Y%) to the complex (e.g. Optimizations with hundreds of variables).
Every business challenge and organization has different needs. We believe in delivering the solution that is right for you, one that will immediately generate the most impact. We scope what is appropriate now as a step towards the future complexity that the business will demand as it becomes more sophisticated, engages more with its analytics/analysts, and widens the user base for the insights generated by the solutions.
Marketing & Media Performance Measurement
The core analytic task in any company is to figure out how marketing, distribution, and other activities drive sales. Doing this core job correctly sets up a culture that is accountable for the efficiency of marketing spending and willing to experiment to see what might work better. Marketing mix and multi-touch attribution are the main tools. Both seek to refine our understanding of what is spent on marketing activities, how much contribution was made to sustaining the business, and whether our activities drove profitable growth. When extended to include factors outside our control, like macro-economics and weather, the analysis can become a deep, detailed model of all business drivers.
The successful implementation of a mix or attribution program requires a process involving the client, the media agencies, and the modelers. Even the simple review of data by all three groups around the same table can provide added value. The Modeling then adds the magic of explaining the relative contribution of all the activities at once. The end result should not be just a “report card” on the ROI of each media item. Instead, each member of the team should leave with a clear idea of what can be done to improve both the underlying business performance and the process of measuring it.
Unlike a lot of providers, in4mation insights provides both a modeling expert and a senior consultant in every engagement. This way, we do not miss the chance to adapt the model to your unique needs and, at the same time, extract maximum business value from the outputs.
As the practice of analytics grows in the organization, the question arises, often from the C-suite: “What is the best way to spend our money?” The solution to this is optimization of one sort or another.
Almost all activities in marketing and sales are capable of being optimized. Typically, we think of optimizing spending across a set of media channels: how can we deploy media dollars most efficiently to maximize reach or optimize revenue? But there are many other areas that require optimization. Even within media, we can talk of spending optimization as distinct from schedule or placement optimization. Outside of media, any time we have finite resources (money, people, time, shelf space) and need to maximize the return on those resources, we are engaged in optimization. So we can think of the selection of price points or product assortment, products in a market structure, where we site stores, the type and timing of promotions, or efficiently advertising as further candidates for optimization.
Like so many business activities, optimization is a journey. It forces both client and practitioner to be specific. What is it that we are optimizing? Are we talking the same language? What are the constraints? The journey teaches us about the assumptions we have to make and where can common sense help us to go beyond the models. At best, optimization clarifies what the company really wants to do. It takes marketing science and makes it talk the languages of the CFO and CMO.
You will not miss a trick with in4mation insights! We combine senior consultants with highly specialized staff to customize a solution to your needs. In addition to this, we maintain a network of top academic advisors with knowledge and experience that complements us and keeps us on the cutting edge.
Revenue & Growth Management
In the RGM space, in4mation insights is positioned as a company with advanced econometrics expertise and practical know-how. For a small company, we have done “big company” stuff such as integrating our models directly into the IT platforms of our clients’ enterprise salesforce tools. We have done pioneering work, on a global scale, to link trade promotions to their true costs and derive detailed ROIs. We have provided retailers with systems to measure elasticity in all categories – and condensed that into practical, timely guidance for individual price moves.
Our RGM expertise starts with the consumer then moves outward to the competitive retail environment. Along the way, different decision support tools are necessary and we supply those. Understanding consumer demand is central to all of our work. This may take the form of testing products, often new-to-world, at different price points using survey-based choice models. What attributes of the product will improve its value and “push out the demand curve.” For retail environments where the demand curve is fixed, we supply the tools and techniques of econometrics – and recommendations on the direction to change prices based on a company’s revenue or profit goals. In addition, our analytic approach to RGM does not work just one product at a time. We can simultaneously analyze the effects of price changes on hundreds of products, informing us not only of the sales lift associated with each product, but also the size of the cannibalization of other products in your portfolio, as well as the competitive draw associated with your lifts.
Using our RGM tools, we estimate that a well-executed program can realize a margin increase of 50 basis points and a revenue increase of 2% to 4%. To reach these goals, we believe that executives responsible for RGM should initiate small, focused projects to gain expertise and support and then leverage this insight and sponsorship to a broader and global set of products and markets.
Forecasting, Trend Prediction & Social Listening
The ultimate goal of trend prediction in business is to create a new product, or adapt an existing one, to meet an emerging need. There are many approaches to this kind of prediction – some based on surveys, some on experiments, others on parsing social media conversations, and yet others on looking at the historical sales of similar products. We have actually conducted analysis in all those ways; there is no one right way. It is the business objective that should decide how you go about trend prediction.
Approaches that use social media are especially useful if you want to track a broad range of emerging trends and your category has fairly broad visibility and relevance. We have worked with data partners to mine public social media posts, developed time series from them, and have predicted sales from emerging conversational trends. In addition to understanding which product features are most appealing, we also uncover the underlying motives which are driving preference for one product over another.
Our goal is to be as innovative in our approach to research as our clients are with their products and services. What differentiates us strongly is that we have seen innovation from many points of view – through conjoint/choice experiments, product research and by modeling the sales of new products. Our models are able to break down the components of the new product – from the motives that fundamentally drive consumer interest to the competitive retail environment to the social media buzz around emerging product spaces. We have produced breakthrough approaches that help our clients with quantitative decision support both before and during launch and, critically, in the first 6-18 months after introduction.
Broader Consulting, Outsourced Analytics & Software
There are many technical steps involved in finding the right solution to a business problem – but the ultimate success of an analytics program depends on timely solutions, local resources, and in not over-engineering the work. In the last twenty years, analytics has gone from being a specialty occupation within marketing to the situation today where there are lots of centers, each with their own data and often a different set of tools.
We have several approaches to help. One way is staff-augmentation. Here, we provide personnel dedicated to your business but who have access to the full range of expertise within in4mation insights. Sometimes the staff works from one of our offices and sometimes they need to be on-site. In the software domain, we provide a variety of services from single-purpose apps to full-on optimizers. Software may be used by your own expert staff but often we find that our clients are far too busy integrating data and addressing time-critical requests to run the software themselves. So we can provide local resources to support you. Alternatively, the heavy-lifting may be done by us (e.g. optimizations) and then we provide data feeds to “middleware” analytics such as Tableau that our clients can use.