McKinsey & Co 2016 survey of North American companies highlights best practices in customer and channel management.
Consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) companies today are dealing with a host of challenges—including political and economic uncertainty, value-conscious consumers with fast-changing needs, and intensified cost pressure due to retailer consolidation and the rise of hard discounters. Against this backdrop, growth has been particularly elusive for the largest CPG players: over the past four years, large food-and-beverage manufacturers—which account for about half of total category sales—have remained stagnant, growing only 0.3 percent on average per year. By contrast, midsize companies have expanded sales by 3.8 percent and small companies by 10.2 percent.1
But irrespective of size, certain best practices set the most successful CPG companies apart from their competitors. Our latest survey of North American CPG companies, developed in partnership with the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Nielsen, brings to light the customer- and channel-management practices of “winners”—companies that outperform their peers in the categories in which they compete.
Five imperatives for growth
As once-average performers have upped their game, it’s become harder for CPG companies to differentiate themselves. The survey results bear this out: the gap between winners and others in sales strategy, for instance, has narrowed significantly—from a difference in sales-growth performance of 5.4 percentage points in 2014 to a mere 1.1 percentage points in 2016. Yet even this small gap can be worth tens of millions of dollars in sales and is meaningful in today’s slow-growth market. We have identified five imperatives for CPG companies seeking to break away from the pack.
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