The Executive Peer Group Summit (EPG) is a must in the CPG industry as the retail space continues to change drastically and the path to purchase is re-mapped year after year. At this year’s EPG the discussion revolved around how leaders of the CPG industry manage their third party broker(s) and the benefits of using your own direct sales force plus the additional capabilities and strategies gained.  Another important topic of discussion was using mobile technology and field analytics to boost retail execution initiatives as well as achieve greater impact at the shelf for 2016. The conversation was driven by how different manufacturers, of all sizes, are using data and field sales technology to lead in their respective categories.

This Years 2016 EPG Summit Presenters & Panelists

Nestle EPG RecapKing's EPG RecapKelloggs EPG Recap
ConAgra EPG RecapJennie O EPG RecapDaisy EPG Recap

EPG attendees came in with the understanding that the systematic approach presented by one company may not be the perfect solution for their organization. They took the opportunity to learn from some of the industry’s finest and refine their current strategy while taking advantage of new in-store technology features. Most of the companies use the InStore Execution Suite but utilize it in very distinct ways based on their particular sales model. A big advantage of implementing an out-of-the-box solution with the flexibility of a custom system is that you don’t need to compromise your model. “There wasn’t anything that couldn’t be adapted to our business needs,” said Bill Marlowe, Director Agency Strategy, Kellogg’s. “There’s not one thing in SmartCall that we wanted that we couldn’t get.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, CPG giant Nestle, gave an exclusive presentation on the development of their custom solution. “Nestle embraces a unique work flow to support all of their business units and their respective needs, which is why a custom solution approach enabling speed of thought in planning and executing is optimal for their field team,” said Mark Nichta, Sales Information Strategy, Nestle. While building a custom solution can be especially challenging for a large company, Nestle exemplified a successful development and implementation process.

The various application demos gave the attendees an opportunity to consider a different approach than they currently employ. It was easy to see that these leaders of the CPG industry understand that data and insights are the means but not the ends.

Key Takeaways from the EPG Presentations:

– Audit your broker through a multilayer validation process

– Educate and guide your broker or third party so everyone wins

– Organizational alignment is key to closing the loop between HQ and reps/brokers

– Streamline communication and educate your leaders for proper alignment

– Upgrade your old school retail strategy with innovative technology

– Retail prominence, even the small companies can compete if they have the adequate field sales technology

The truly insightful presentations generated rich discussions but unfortunately only two days to engage in it. However, with new industry studies being published and now our Summit attendees returning to HQ with new strategic approaches, there is sure to be new topics of discussion for next year’s EPG.

“If you don’t like the data, it’s your data, change it! Ask different questions.” – Bill Marlowe, Kellogg’s Director Agency Strategy


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Seth Nagle, Senior Marketing Manager at RW3 Technologies understands the power of innovation but also its limitations. Attending Salve Regina in New England, starting his career in Silicon Valley, and now living in Austin, Texas; Seth provides a unique tech perspective to a complex CPG and Retail Grocery Industry that is in constant disruption.

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