Client Stories

Unlocking Profitable Promotions with PEA in BluePlanner

UpClear has worked with King’s Hawaiian, the creator of the “Original Hawaiian Sweet Bread”, since 2012. King’s Hawaiian is a household name brand easily found on shelves across the nation. Over the years, the brand has expanded item categories beyond their iconic sweet rolls, and even sells sauces and mixes. This product expansion has required significant analysis to understand the effectiveness and profitability of trade promotion spend. Post Event Analysis (PEA) in BluePlanner enables King’s Hawaiian to uncover promotion ROI, which is a complex process for Consumer Goods brands. With promotion ROI insights, the brand can evaluate different dimensions of promotions such as customers, products, seasons, holidays, and events, such as the Superbowl. 

Promotions Analysis 

BluePlanner is a flexible and scalable solution that organizes and structures data and creates reporting that enables better decision-making for future promotions. As portfolio and product lines grow, BluePlanner is able to digest new customer/product plans, volume targets, and spending budgets and add them to reporting and analytics already available within the platform. UpClear and BluePlanner are also able to support bespoke requirements, as was the case for King’s Hawaiian. 

Unlocked Opportunity 

In order to compare the effectiveness of promotions across different dimensions, a single, consistently calculated KPI is needed.  In consumer goods, the metric of choice is Return on Investment or ROI.  “Return” is the upside (aka incremental) results you are realizing because of the promotion. Sales data that is decomposed between base and incremental enables you to calculate “return.” 

Retail sales-based analysis, i.e. using point of sale (POS) data, is inarguably the best method for evaluating the effectiveness of promotions and trade spending. In this model you measure shopper response to your promotion tactics (retail sales), not what your customer buys from you (shipments). King’s Hawaiian would have had to change their configuration and business process to use BluePlanner’s built-in, turn-key retail sales-based Post Event Analysis (PEA) capabilities. 

While the configuration and business process change are goals for the future, their need was for a POS-based PEA that could be delivered quickly without a major configuration project or business process changes for their teams. The solution was a modification to UpClear’s existing PEA that integrated syndicated retail sales data and joined it to the existing transactional promotion data without changing configuration or business process. Using the actual retail sales volume with pricing, spending, and COGS from existing plans, BluePlanner calculated the components needed to produce the actual promotion ROI for promotions. Like our other analytics, new dashboard-style reports are delivered within the BluePlanner platform. Both tabular and graphical reports were produced to illustrate results of promotions. These results can then be viewed along different viewpoints, like customers, products, time, and/or holidays and other events. 

Not the Only Trick in Our Bag 

With King’s Hawaiian, the syndicated baseline figure was imported and used to distinguish between base and incremental sales and calculate ROI. There are, however, other retailers where a baseline sales metric is not available. In this situation UpClear is able to build a machine learning statistical base volume. There are two applications of this: 1) use in backward-looking PEA, and 2) use in planning future periods of time. As mentioned earlier, the benefit of this is one, uniform metric that is used across the organization. Finally, if planning consumption is already part of your BluePlanner set-up and business process, but you don’t yet have PEA, the capability can be enabled quickly. 

Moving Forward 

BluePlanner’s flexibility and automation empowers companies to understand business performance and build strategies to achieve growth year over year. PEA and deep promotion analysis – enabled by data services- allows growing brands to better understand holistic performance of trade spend dollars and optimize the discount depth, frequency, and mix of promotions.  

Says Jonathan Hackett, Data Engineer Senior Manager at UpClear, 

“It was a thrill to work with King’s Hawaiian on this project. In the Analytics team, any opportunity to leverage Point of Sale data is an exciting one, as we believe this is the key to delivering the most valuable, data-driven insights to our clients. Reaching a more accurate measurement of Promotion ROI is an excellent step that we hope can drive promotion planning for comparable events in the future.” 

UpClear’s Best Practices for PEA 

  • Attributes. Think about the ways you can compare promotions; across customers, products, holidays, seasons, corporate events, etc. Attribute your promotions in a way that enables you to slice promotions in these different ways. 
  • Common base volume.  In order to have an apples-to-apples comparison of ROI across customers and products, the definition of base volume must be consistent.  
  • Retail sales data.  Point of Sale (POS), retail sales data is the best way to measure the success of your promotions.  This data, however, is usually a patchwork of syndicated data directly from a customer.  Start with one source, but progressively build a consolidated and harmonized data set.  This is a major enabler for post-event analysis. 

About UpClear 

UpClear makes software used by Consumer Goods brands to improve the management of sales & trade spending. Its BluePlanner platform is an integrated solution supporting Trade Promotion ManagementTrade Promotion OptimizationIntegrated Business Planning, and Revenue Growth Management.    

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