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Major consumer goods company: Profitable trade promotions with Accenture CAS

Accenture CAS helped a major consumer goods company revamp trade promotion process for increased profitability.


We helped the company improve trade spending return on investment, design consistent processes and policies to improve control and visibility, and reduce the level of effort required to manage the trade promotion process.

The consumer goods company realized that it was generating a negative return on investment (ROI) on its trade promotions. The company also identified that each account team had defined its own tools and processes for planning trade spending, which made it time consuming to combine the individual plans and determine overall spending levels accurately.

This hampered the company’s ability to compile timely and accurate accounting information, ultimately leading to distrust between the company and its field representatives. In fact, the problem ran so deep that it was difficult to establish a baseline of factual financial data from which to implement a solution.


Accenture took a three-phased implementation approach:

  1. Building the foundation: We analyzed trade promotion performance, and documented current processes used and time spent in planning, managing and analyzing trade promotion plans.

  2. Creating process transformation: We focused on creating a consistent, sustainable trade promotion process that would address fund allocation, account planning and settlement. Our team also identified functional and data requirements from related processes, such as sales and service operation and finance, to ensure data requirements could be addressed through the new trade promotion processes and metrics.

    The team developed use cases to cover the range of options the client might require, such as off-invoice, credit memo, and bill back and check.

  3. Implementing trade promotion transformation: During the initial phases, the team spent considerable time defining the functional requirements for the third phase and the ultimate objectives of the trade promotion transformation. 

Desired future-state capabilities implemented included:

  • Automated postevent ROI analysis

  • Enhanced tracking metrics for measuring event and overall plan efficiency

  • Specific processes for planning new and special pack item

  • Event and plan optimization capabilities (best results with a given investment)

The initial ROI analysis demonstrated the power and potential of predictive analytics to improve future promotion event profitability. We also designed a promotion modeling tool for use with those accounts where syndicated data is available. The tool models anticipated consumer demand based on a set of promotion inputs using a set of proprietary algorithms.


Following the implementation, the trade promotion spending has improved by nearly 22 percent. In addition, two other key performance indicators produced strong results: reduction in retailer diversion and more efficient processes at the retail execution level.

The company has also freed up a substantial amount in additional sales labor, which can be redeployed to high-value activities. It has realized other significant benefits from the transformation project including:

  • Reduced back-office time spent on payments and post-audit deductions

  • Reduced post-audit claims

  • Fewer unauthorized deductions

  • Improved forecast accuracy, resulting in reduced working capital in safety stock

  • Increased accuracy of promotion production plans, particularly for custom displays

  • Accenture CAS brought added value by providing a deep understanding of trade promotion management, deploying the necessary solutions and defining a clear development roadmap.