Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) is a leader in delivering powerful market, consumer and media exposure information, predictive analytics and consulting services to the consumer packaged goods (CPG) and over-the-counter healthcare industries.
IRI works with clients to secure the data most relevant to understanding the attitudes and behaviors of their shoppers, and offers a wide range of analytics services developed to segment and target discrete shopper groups. IRI arms CPG companies with the solutions necessary to drive sustained growth by optimizing business strategies. These include new product introductions, pricing and promotions, assortments and store layouts, and collaboration.
IDC spoke with Srishti Gupta, president of IRI Media Center of Excellence (COE) about working with Oracle Data Cloud to generate deeper insights into consumers’ social media activities. Gupta is responsible for IRI’s digital media business that includes a suite of digital targeting and measurement solutions for CPG, retail and healthcare companies. She works with IRI’s clients to develop digital media strategies designed to generate sales uplift, increase brand awareness, and promote dialogue across social media channels.
IRI has developed solutions by integrating the world’s largest cross-channel media, social and online/offline purchase datasets to help clients maximize the ROI for their media spend.
CPG decision makers are continuously trying to better understand who their high-value shoppers are, the products and retail environments that most interest them, and the information “journey” they pursue. This journey starts from the time they make their shopping list at home, while they are walking the aisles or shopping online to the time they check out and either drive home or await home delivery.
Gaining these insights is dramatically more difficult than it was only a few years ago because of the following trends:
The changing composition of the household – away from the nuclear family to situations, such as single parent, same-sex parents, and multigenerational parents.
The diversity of the shopper – ethnic buyer groups, such as Hispanics and Asians, with specific food and shopping preferences, are growing dramatically faster in terms of dollar sales than “traditional” shoppers.
The sheer volume of information available to shoppers – unlike as little as 10 years ago, today’s shopper is often influenced by content from manufacturers’ and retailers’ website; social media, print/TV/digital advertising; and over a wide range of devices often viewed concurrently; e.g., watching TV while viewing an iPhone.
IRI and Oracle are collaborating to make Oracle Data Cloud information available through IRI database and analytics solutions with the objective of enabling CPG decision makers to convert new insights on the changing face of the shopper into accelerated, sustained growth.
IRI sought a data partner that could provide convenient and quality one-stop access to all social services, in lieu of using the data services associated with each social platform.
IRI sought several features that Oracle Data Cloud could provide, including:
A robust API data feed that is flexible and easy to use. IRI has leveraged different aspects of the API for various projects, sometimes using it as an ongoing data stream or as an ad-hoc mechanism to gather specific data points.
A full set of semantic tools that IRI can tap into and then analyze, dissect, and merge social media data together with the consumer-goods data IRI already owns.
Ongoing training and assistance for IRI’s development staff by the Oracle Data Cloud team to get the most value from the social media data used with IRI’s own purchase and product data. The Oracle Data Cloud team also assists with product taxonomies/hierarchies, brand definitions, and other tools to enhance the value of the solutions for IRI’s customers.
The inclusion of Oracle Social Data is still relatively new for the company since the product was launched this spring. According to Gupta, “The initial reaction has been phenomenal.” The data provides clients with an opportunity to look at media, exposure, purchasing, and social, all together in one platform.
Social media data adds a layer of insight for IRI’s clients and Gupta believes that this can provide significant value to their customer base in two ways. One is the value to integration to drive speed to insights. Clients already using IRI’s tools can now easily access and benefit from the social information that they did not have access to previously, such as customer sentiment. The second value is the ability to use social media data to help IRI’s clients and customers understand the relationship between social sentiment and purchase behavior.
Gupta states social media data and analytics will rapidly become an integral part of IRI’s core product. As an example, IRI’s Liquid Data platform has evolved from purchase data to include a wide range of data, such as media (Rentrak TV viewership data) and comScore (digital viewership data). The platform was enhanced with other macroeconomic data, such as weather information and gas prices.
Gupta also sees the partnership with Oracle in a larger and more strategic context. Social media data and other types of data are expanding the value of analytics platforms for the retail and CPG industries. Gupta believes that over time these industries will use a broader set of platforms and not rely on point solutions for tasks, such as social media analysis. IRI built a platform integrating a wide range of structured and unstructured data sources in a holistic approach to advance analytics with correspondence across data types and data silos.
“Oracle Data Cloud data represents another level impacting purchase that is available to our clients,” says Gupta. “In that respect, it becomes a core part of our product.”
Gupta believes this integration will impact other marketing facets. “As an industry, we haven’t done a very good job with it,” she says. “The social tools are separate, the analytics are separate, and the teams are separate in many cases. We need to look at data in a much more holistic way. The social metrics are interesting, but in isolation they are irrelevant.”
According to Gupta, the future for retail and CPG marketing is to work with a data and analytics platform provider offering a wide range of services and capabilities—from purchase data to social media analysis and providing analytics around intent. IRI’s partnership with Oracle Data Cloud provides it with the tools, data, and services needed to be a full-service provider to the retail and CPG market.
The project and company information contained in this document was obtained from multiple sources, including information supplied by Oracle, questions posed by IDC directly to IRI employees, and IRI corporate documents.