How PepsiCo Is a Case Study in Leveraging Data Science

CPG company shares learnings from 84.51°’s Collaborative Cloud
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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Data in store
PepsiCo recently touted the value of cross-functional partnerships in leveraging data science.

There’s data to be mined with every sip of a soda and crunch of a snack. PepsiCo is increasingly leveraging data science to understand its consumer habits and needs and, along the way, unlock new growth.

The venerable CPG recently teamed up with The Kroger Co.'s 84.51° customer analytics arm to capture and leverage data at scale. After using the 84.51° Collaborative Cloud, PepsiCo shared some of its learnings and supplied advice for CPGs across the spectrum.

[Read more: "How To Make Data Science a Competitive Retail Advantage"]

Barbara Connors, VP, strategy and acceleration for 84.51°, recapped some of those top findings for PepsiCo. “The three big things they learned were creating the right structure, prioritizing the right work that will have the greatest impact and giving new teams space to learn,” she told Progressive Grocer.

Connors highlighted the importance of those steps, for PepsiCo and for other organizations keen on best using the wealth of today’s available data. Creating the right structure, for example, involves having a dedicated cross-functional partnership between corporate headquarters teams and work streams, as well as ways of working across traditional areas of insights, category management and advanced analytics. Creating a strong delineation between classical data scientists and data analysts is also crucial, she noted. 

Meanwhile, Connors pointed out, PepsiCo affirmed that prioritizing the right work for the greatest impact includes sales teams, headquarters teams and the customer, and also requires the alignment of resources and a roadmap for an executional launch. Giving new teams space to learn sets a CPG up for success, after they recognize the nuances of data sets, master any necessary new languages and codes and determine when to use each data source depending in the insights uncovered.

Rich data, in turn, has influenced strategies to elevate PepsiCo’s brand performances at Kroger. “They embedded the research in new ways,” said Connors. Among other results, data science collaboration provided important support for the Kroger customer teams to deliver yearly commitments across the portfolio and elevated retail partnerships by enabling granular analysis in test solutions.

On another, broader level, PepsiCo used findings to better understand evolving beverage trends and analyze the snacking landscape. Ultimately, by working with the 84.51° Collaborative Cloud, the CPG was able to enrich, assess and understand basket analyses, conversion opportunities, segmentation matrices and e-commerce adoption. From there, they are also directly activating off these insights, leveraging the platform to build their own retail media audiences for Kroger Precision Marketing campaigns, according to Connors. 

Given the ever-competitive climate in the marketplace, why would PepsiCo be such an open book about its insights? “We are excited about the value we’ve been able to unlock with 84.51° Collaborative Cloud, and see the potential to expand the influence of customer-centric data science across decisions and processes. We were eager to share our learnings with industry peers because we believe that by sharing best practices, we can help expedite data science adoption across the CPG industry and in turn the pace of innovation,” said Jeremy Schmid, VP, category, strategy and data analytics for Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo.

Serving 60 million households annually nationwide through a digital shopping experience, and almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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