Action, Innovation & Growth – Day 1 Afternoon Recap from SIA

Mahatma Gandhi once said “Actions express priorities.” Given the afternoon at the 12th annual Shopper Insights in Action conference in Chicago sponsored by IIR USA, one would conclude the priorities for the presenters were action, innovation and growth.

Two of the sessions I attended dealt with companies that were taking action based on their shopper marketing research and learning. Craig Geiger, Director Category Management at Barilla America, shared how they are applying shopper insights to drive seasonal sales in their pasta product lines. And Rafael Alcaraz, Ph.D., VP Global Advanced Analytics at The Hershey Company, shared their learning about the dangers of drawing conclusions or making inferences using large aggregate data when developing mobile marketing strategies to reach consumers. Both Geiger and Alcaraz have put their learning into action at their respective companies.

Two later sessions, one by Connie Walsh, Director of Marketing and Packaging at Staples and Harry Overly, VP of Marketing at Treehouse Foods, shared how they are driving growth in their respective private brands through innovation. Walsh’s presentation focused on the process they have put in place to use innovation as a strategy for differentiation. Overly stressed the importance of a nimble, flexible, disciplined innovation process that can be leveraged for localized customization. Both of these presentations put the priority on innovation for shoppers.

The final presentation of the day was very interesting too. In the Kick-Off Keynote, Ken Erickson, Ph.D., CEO & Cultural Anthropologist at Pacific Ethnography Company, discussed growth in China. Global retailers are only 1% of total retail in China so there’s lots of remaining opportunity for growth with all four of the generational segments identified: long march, transition, consumer and wired.

Gandhi also said, “The future depends on what you do today.” Based on these five presentations, your future will be better with action, innovation and a focus on growth.