For brands competing with multinational CPG giants like P&G and Johnson & Johnson, remaining ahead of the competition can prove daunting. Paul Pacileo of Edgewell Personal Care looks to external data to track changes in his competitive landscape in real time, giving his company a significant information advantage.
CPG brand Edgewell Personal Care is headquartered in Shelton, CT. Best known for feminine care and hygiene products like Playtex, Carefree, Schick, Skintimate, Hawaiian Tropic, Banana Boat and Wet ones, the company employs over 60,000 people and operates in 50 countries.
According to Meltwater Founder & CEO Jorn Lyseggen’s book Outside Insight, sales operations executive Paul Pacileo uses Meltwater software to produce a report twice a week that pulls together all the pieces of external data that might impact Edgewell’s products.
According to Lyseggen, “Pacileo’s challenge is to determine what information is relevant to the organization from the deluge of industry data generated every day.” To help him do this, he’s created a series of real-time searches for each of his product lines and their competitors.
“Our main challenge is to stay relevant as a company and to have a presence where there are some big competitors we’re dealing with,” Pacileo said.
We have to be able to think differently, and one way of doing that is using Outside Insight because we can get a closer connection with what’s going on externally and share that with our retailers.
Pacileo’s team is focused on two areas. First, strategic information related to product lines, like new products coming to market, product enhancements and competitor news. Second, tactical retail data such as which products have been placed on sale, developments at major retailers like Walmart and Target, and discounting programmes.
“We look at the forecast without getting too heavy in the financial analysis. If we can understand why a product’s sales are either up or down, that’s more important: we’re interested in why it happened, and we’ll distribute that to our subscribers throughout the organization.”
The team looks at over 200 data points every day. Pacileo’s goal is to distill this information down and create what he calls a “single point of truth” which everyone in the company can refer back to.
“A single point of truth is centralized information that flows through the organization, giving everybody the opportunity to see that same information and react to it in his or her way.”
To Pacileo, real-time benchmarking via Outside Insight allows the team to come together and respond to changes in the competitive landscape, in the consumer mindset or in the political arena in a timely manner.
Outside Insight is exposure to that single point of truth, on a global level. You’ve really got to know your audience.
Feminine care and the new conversation
One of Edgewell’s most prominent lines of business is their feminine care products: Playtex, Carefree and Stayfree. Over time, conversations around this type of product have evolved dramatically, and according to Pacileo, if brands aren’t able to remain on top of these developments, they’ll quickly lose connection with the ever-evolving conscious female consumer.
“The conversation of feminine hygiene is much more frank today. Even going back 10 years, it was taboo to talk about these things. A post on Buzzfeed today instantly reaches 30 million plus. This is changing the lay of the land and how we promote products, how we convey the message of our products in a way that’s important to the female audience. The conversation has to be frank and to the point. Any organization that deals with this consumer has to cater to that.”
By keeping an eye on the conversation, the Edgewell team can use data to inform product development, marketing strategy and even retail. “We give our retailers the chance to respond to our findings and say ‘that’s an opportunity to sell more product.’ If you can better connect with that consumer and see their thoughts at a certain point in time, why not try to incorporate them?”
Always looking ahead
As the world of CPG continues to evolve, and competition for the increasingly savvy consumer remains high, brands will need to become smarter, and be able to react to changes in the marketplace faster, if they hope to survive. Using external data insights to inform strategic decisions will play an essential role in decision-making moving forward.
“Being Edgewell, we don’t have the horsepower, we don’t have the resources like some of our competitors do, so we have to use different resources. And one of them is knowledge – having a fuller awareness of what’s going on in this world. Increase the sense of what our surroundings are in the business world; increase our sense of who our retailers are and try to leverage that as an advantage to create stronger partnerships.”