Reliance on Retail Tracking Data to Deliver Category-Wide Analytics

In a recent client meeting, a description of the CIA® methodology led to an in-depth conversation about the use of retail tracking data acquired via scanners in developed markets or audits in emerging markets. It was a great discussion and reminded me of several of the foundational ideas that led to the formation of Middlegame. This is an excellent topic for the blog to share or refresh the conversation on whether category-wide analytics require household panel data. Continue reading

Connecting with Winners in Consumer Packaged Goods

A recent report by McKinsey and Nielsen highlights how FMCG companies could drive winning performances. It is an excellent analysis of top management practices within North American companies and is worth at least skimming through. Overall, the document compares what they have explained as “winning organizations” in FMCG versus the rest of the companies. Several criteria defined the winners. The most notable were sales growth and the response rate to various marketing efforts aligned with our typical assortment, pricing and merchandising initiatives. Continue reading

Evaluating Price Response as Opposed to Price Elasticity


Last year, Amy Gallo published “A Refresher on Price Elasticity” in the Harvard Business Review). It was a great primer for how most analytics firms address price questions from marketers, and I am a little frustrated with myself for taking so long to comment on it. Continue reading

Innovate or Renovate?


All of the key principle here at Middlegame got our start in sales and marketing at The Coca-Cola Company, aka what insiders simply call “The Company.” We preach many of the do’s and don’ts we’ve learned over the years with The Company to those who will listen.  And despite our analytics platform being called CIA®, none of us know the directions to Langley, VA. Continue reading

Understanding the Value of the Brand Versus the Value of the Brand’s Price Position


Recently, Middlegame leveraged our novel tool, the Competitive Interaction Analysis (CIA)®, for a very unique purpose. A Middlegame client wanted to a more customer-based evaluation of brand equity. She had worked with other researchers applying conjoint analysis, but was worried about the lack of accounting for the full marketing mix as well as very different channel dynamics that the brand was experiencing.

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Refreshing the Concept of Share of Voice in Media Effectiveness


At Middlegame, we usually work with direct shopper response levers like assortment, pricing, and merchandising. It is probably at our insistence that buyers shop by SKU which makes it our go-to level of analysis. However, we sometimes get asked to provide a detailed assessment of incrementality versus transferred demand for the media investment. Continue reading

Roles in the FMCG Portfolio … Recruitment, Frequency, Upsize, and Upscale


In the last blog, I described the PITA Model that we were introduced to while at The Coca-Cola Company. A quick review of that blog will familiarize you with the PITA Model if it is new to you.

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Shopper Analytics and the PITA Model


While at The Coca-Cola Company, I was introduced to a fairly straightforward approach to comparing markets and their potential. It was called the PITA Model. PITA is a method for breaking down sales into the components that are the real drivers of sales. I talk about this a lot and even brought it up in a recent conversation with Pedro Antonio Garcia Lopez that we included as another blog. I thought that I would do a quick overview for those who weren’t raised in the Coca-Cola System.

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Measuring the Complete Lift for Merchandising and Promotions

Blog_18_headerIn a recent project, we were fairly overwhelmed by the complexity of a client’s trade promotions calendar. It contained numerous and varying discount rates that depended on a complex series of requirements, e.g. 2 for £4, 3 for £5, etc., at about seven items each week. Although the category is generally consistent, subsequent SKUs and types of occasions met made the portfolio very complicated. As you would probably expect from the typical Middlegame perspective on assortment opportunities in FMCG, we wanted to tackle the big issue of incrementality and transferred demand first. However, it was easy to get lost in the potential overlapping deals.

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Pete Fader and Bruce Hardie: Middlegame Heroes





It is really amazing that almost 20 years have passed since the landmark article “Modeling Consumer Choice Among SKUs” by Peter S. Fader and Bruce G.S. Hardie in the Journal of Marketing Research (November, 1996). The following year, it was winner of the prestigious 1997 Paul E. Green Award for demonstrating the most potential to contribute to marketing research. If the judges from 1997 took a look at Middlegame, they would see that when the article is translated into the Multiplicative Competitive Interaction (MCI) framework of Cooper and Nakanishi, the entire foundation of Middlegame and its use of regular assessment of incrementality versus transferred demand is substantiated.

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