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Brian Ross

President, Precima
As president of Precima, Brian works with some of the world’s leading brands to deliver world-class customer-centric solutions through strategic consulting, industry-leading analytics and a next-generation technology platform. His vision and leadership helped launch Precima in 2008 as a three-person startup, and he has since grown it into a global leader in retail, B2B and CPG strategy and analytics with over 300 experts in Canada, the United States and Europe. With an extensive background in loyalty solutions, customer marketing and merchandising strategies, Brian oversees the strategic and operational management responsibilities, as well as relationships with customers and business partners. Before Precima, Brian spent several years in management positions across LoyaltyOne businesses, notably providing client management and analytics support for key partners of the AIR MILES Reward Program. He used data-driven customer insights to develop successful programs for clients in grocery, pharmacy, department store, specialty retailing, financial services and consumer packaged goods. Brian shares his broad range of expertise and thought leadership in regular features in leading marketing publications, and is a frequent speaker at industry events and forums.
  • Posted on: 01/14/2021

    Which emerging tech will transform marketing this year?

    Personalization at scale. In the face of a prolonged pandemic and increasing uncertainty, consumers have changed virtually every aspect of their lives, including how they eat and how they shop, which has and will have profound impacts on needs. The retailers that best understand changing consumer needs and those that can best deliver on those needs will be the retailers that win. To do this successfully, retailers need to truly personalize their offering to each individual customer. Delivering on the promise of mass personalization is challenging and has been elusive to most retailers because it requires fundamental new capabilities and a new approach. Specifically, mass personalization requires leading AI-powered analytics to understand individual customer changing needs and preferences including which categories, which items, which brands, their channel preference across store, online and delivery or pick-up; what information they need and their meal preferences. Once you have robust customer insights, Personalization at scale requires the ability to execute in an omnichannel way to best reach the customer, to personalize content to the needs of customers and to do this in real-time or near-real time to reflect the dynamic nature of today's environment and the rapidly changing needs of customers.
  • Posted on: 08/25/2020

    How should grocers prepare for a possible pandemic stockpiling redux?

    One of the lessons learned during the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 is that "not all products are created equal." As an example, we all know by now hard scarce toilet-paper became by April and it quickly became the # 1 stock-up item in the U.S. Over the ensuing weeks and months, manufacturing disruptions, supply-chain issues and shifts in stock-up behavior resulted in dramatic shifts in in-stock position and on-shelf availability across many categories -- some intuitive, some less so at first. There are definitely lessons learned from the first pandemic that retailers can use in anticipation and planning for the future and potential additional waves. In our work with grocery retailers and mass merchants globally over the past six months, we have learned that the rise in out-of-stocks and changes in availability reveal consumer choices and preferences across brands. By understanding "switching" behavior and understanding the true item value of an item and its substitutes and complements, retailers can understand which items matter most. Faced with continuous pressure on inventory and supply chain planning, grocers can focus on rationalizing the assortment to those most important items and maximizing inventory on-hand and availability to meet customer’s needs. Further understanding which items are most prone to stock-up by analyzing past trends, further enables retailers to forward-buy -- where you have DC/warehouse space to have excess inventory available in the event of future shortages. While increasing carrying costs, for those items that be stored, it creates a future ability to meet shoppers changing demands. By monitoring the state of the pandemic by market and by tracking early-indicators of shopper behavior change, retailers can anticipate future trends and meet the needs of shoppers in the next/new normal.
  • Posted on: 02/20/2020

    Are loyalty cards key to online-to-offline attribution?

    Without question, personalization is THE future of loyalty. For the past 30+ years, loyalty cards were the mechanism to engage customers with the goal of delivering improved customer relevance and experience. In today’s increasingly digital world, the power of loyalty remains better understanding customers and delivering personalized, relevant and enhanced value. In that spirit, to rephrase the question from “is data from loyalty programs” critical – the answer is a resounding “absolutely.” The strongest benefit with "data from loyalty programs" is that it’s the purest source of customer behavior – what, where and when they buy and in what channel. The “pro” of loyalty data is that it is the most accurate view of actual behavior. That said, loyalty data is one part of understanding the broader customer view – and a critical part – the con is that it doesn’t provide a holistic view. Other sources are key – including what they didn’t buy (e.g., what products did the search but did not add to cart) and what other information they saw as well as understanding the why? Overall, the answer is definitely a “Yes” with an important AND, which is loyalty data needs to be combined without customer insights to understand the full view – ultimately which is the true goal – maximizing relevance with the strongest understanding of your customers.
  • Posted on: 12/10/2019

    Why do so many people say ‘no’ to retailer loyalty programs?

    These numbers are not surprising and are consistent with retail loyalty trends that we have seen over the past 20+ years. Typically, as a general rule, use the “third/third/third” model:
    • One-third of customers are highly engaged and actively participate in programs (“avids “ or “superFans”);
    • One-third of customers are selectively engaged – they participate and their engagement ebbs and flows based on value delivered over time;
    • One-third of customers are “unengaged” – and either don’t participate or participate very passively.
  • Posted on: 11/15/2019

    Should customers just be paid for their data?

    The concept of paying consumers directly for data first gained popularity in the late '90s with the dawn of the internet and the concept of the “infomediary.” While paying customers directly has some clear benefits, it is fraught with risks and challenges both ethically and legally. In fact, there is an equal likelihood that paying for data negatively impacts personalization and relevance if consumers would “accept” irrelevance in exchange for money. The reality is today is that customers increasingly vote with their time and with their engagement – and will favor the brands who deliver relevant value. Increasingly, as they share data, their expectations for relevance and for value increase and move from advantage to table-stakes and those that best deliver relevance will win “share of customer” over time. Personalization and relevance are, in fact, the “value” that customers want most and the path for how leading organizations can best position themselves to win over time.
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