More Is Less

A recent Wall Street Journal article put one of the most repeated Middlegame findings front and center. Most portfolios are too big and managing all these SKUs is draining clients of resources to effectively compete and win through pricing and merchandising. Although the article focuses on the full-scale introduction of Aldi to the retail market here in the United States, the learning from their strategy thus far is identical to what we see when looking at many of the portfolios of our clients.
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Blabbering About Marketing Analytics

In late September 2017, I participated on a panel at the Marketing Metrics & Analytics Summit in Chicago. A few weeks ago, I realized that the team at Insights Exchange Network had sent me a transcript of the session shortly after the conference. Hopefully, I was somewhat articulate for the audience without being too controversial. I decided to put these remarks here on the blog. Continue reading

Levels of Demand: A Deeper Dive


Last year, I reacted to a Retail Wire discussion on category management by going into three ways to increase sales. Recently, my colleague Anne mentioned that I kind of left the conversation hanging and that further discussion about the ways that marketing tools work depending on the level of demand being pursued was in order. I agreed and wrote this post… thank you, Anne. Continue reading

Promotional Price Cuts Are Just Another Product Attribute

For quite some time, Middlegame has argued that promotional price cuts are only an additional attribute for the product during those six or seven seconds that the average shopper surveys the category and makes a choice. It was probably far from controversial when we described these and other merchandising conditions as “temporary” attributes in alignment with predominant TPR (temporary price reduction) terminology. However, price reductions and merchandising conditions continue to use advanced analytics that primarily ignore that these temporary product attributes should probably be evaluated side-by-side with the permanent product attributes. Continue reading

Why is it called ATG?

Sometimes we use the blog for shameless promotion, but often I like to talk about people who have been important to Middlegame. We call these our “heroes” entries. Earlier this year, we had a soft launch of our cloud-based simulator studio software . It leverages an integrated stack of primarily SQL and Python to process the data as well as some incredible HTML to provide the user interface. Continue reading

Another Great Renovation Story, but this Time it’s Back to the Three-Ways-to-Grow-Sales

A great discussion was started on Retail Wire in early August about “reinventing” category management. Graeme McVie offers an excellent and very Middlegame-oriented introduction of how category management should be used: Continue reading

Producing a Market Structure without Costly Shopper Data? Sure!

Market Structure has always been one of the three key elements of the CIA® platform for the assessment of assortment, pricing, merchandising, and sometimes media. Basically, our Market Structure is the first step in the modeling architecture that identifies the structure of competition among SKUs in a competitive category. Market Structure is one of the inputs for determining the drivers of Market Share simultaneously for all competitive SKUs in the category (transferred demand) as well as estimating the drivers of Market Size across geographies and time periods (incrementality). Continue reading

The Real Key to Omni-Channel Management … Incrementality

One of our larger FMCG clients recently asked Middlegame if we could help them understand how to better develop and leverage Omni-Channel. Omni-channel management is a multichannel approach to sales designed to provide a seamless shopping experience. Continue reading

Incrementality Goes Beyond Assortment, Pricing, and Merchandising

The overwhelming majority of our work at Middlegame focuses on Assortment, Pricing, and Merchandising to provide what we call Shopper Response Analytics. The significance of these three to overall brand performance is enough to keep us busy and is often at the heart of enormous opportunities we see for our clients in emerging markets. However, this obviously isn’t the only place where marketers focus their efforts. Continue reading

Thinking like a Portfolio Manager

In the blog “Evaluating Price Response as Opposed to Price Elasticity”, I reinforced the powerful impact of transforming the marketing mindset from the “brand management” approach (which has dominated the FMCG market) to a “portfolio management” approach. Continue reading