Consumer packaged goods manufacturers such as PepsiCo are rapidly increasing their direct knowledge of consumers in ways that are reminiscent of wider trends in the media and advertising sector.

Vikram Somaya, svp/chief data and analytics officer at PepsiCo, discussed this subject in an interview with MediaLink, the strategic advisory and business development firm, surrounding CES 2021. (MediaLink, like WARC, is owned by Ascential.)

Why it matters

In the past, CPGs frequently relied on their retail partners to deliver consumer insight. The rise of online retail, however, is pushing manufacturers to enhance their own data and analytics capabilities.


  • Lessons from the media sector: Somaya pointed to an “analogy” between CPGs and the prior trajectory of the media space, where streaming platform Netflix led a disruption that has now yielded the creation of properties like Disney+ and NBC Peacock.

    While many startups are present in the CPG sector, the industry is not currently “being pushed by an external vector” with Netflix’s muscle. “But we are in a place where we want to better understand our consumers,” Somaya said.
  • Right place, right time, right chips: Data and smart tech are being used across the supply chain, and with retail partners, to precisely match consumer needs.

    “In some ways, it’s very similar to the ad business: you want to have the right message, the right person, the right place. Guess what? We want to have the right bag of chips, at the right time, in the right place.”