Category Captain: Analgesics: Bayer HealthCare
Bayer HealthCare undertook two major initiatives in the past year to address both the immediate and longer-term needs of retailers.
The immediate initiative focused on the impact of the 2010 McNeil recall of Tylenol, Motrin and St. Joseph products, with the objective of helping retailers understand the switching behavior of previous McNeil shoppers for the period when product availability was limited, so that retailers could adjust their distribution and forecasts.
Tracking the shopping dynamics of more than 500,000 households based on loyalty card data, the analysis followed purchase patterns from shoppers’ first post-recall purchase, as well as their subsequent category purchases. The end result provided retailers with a customized forecast that enabled them to adjust their inventory and safety stock levels for all category items, including private label.
The other initiative offered a framework for managing a category that had long-term potential but was facing some short-term challenges. Retailers were instructed that to enhance growth and maintain strong margins, they needed to leverage the more chronic conditions that drive category volume, the key ingredients that consumers seek and the future trends that would affect the category in the long term.
These undertakings helped Bayer perform significantly better than its competitors and the overall category in 2010. According to IRI, total category dollar sales in FDMx were down 3.7 percent in 2010, while Bayer Aspirin grew 6.7 percent and Aleve was up 10.7 percent. Additionally, Bayer received the Analgesics Category A-1 category management position at a major food retailer early this year.