Trade Promotion Excellence

PwC’s Strategy& Trade Promotion Excellence (TPE) team offers clients the ability to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their trade promotion operations.

This dedicated team is comprised of experts who bring significant practical experience and expertise to bear in helping consumer products companies improve their trade operations.

Our TPE team is collaborative and works shoulder-to-shoulder with you to deliver practical solutions like PwC’s Performance Analyzer designed to improve the ROI of your trade spend while creating enduring competitive advantage. It is not unusual for our clients to realize a 5 to 20 percent improvement in annual profits within one to two years of program launch.

What we offer

Strategy& has a long history of helping its clients transform their trade promotion capabilities. We began by building bespoke software solutions for our clients and rapidly evolved to provide a wide range of services to help our clients build and sustain Trade Promotion Excellence capabilities that provide enduring competitive advantage. These capabilities provide the opportunity for growing both revenues and profits. It is not unusual for our CPG clients to realize a 5 to 20 percent improvement in financial results within one to two years of program launch.

  • Client experience
  • Technology experience
  • An expert team
  • Delivering results

Over the past 20 years, we have helped many consumer product companies transform their trade promotion strategies and capabilities. At any given time, we are usually assisting one or two clients with a major trade program.

Our clients have been diverse in size, product focus, and needs. This diversity of experience has given us a broad perspective on Trade Promotion Excellence which helps us better advise our clients. Our clients have included many of the largest and most respected companies in the industry – several with over $1B in annual trade spending – as well as many established but more focused CPG companies that have trade budgets of a few hundred million dollars per year.

We have served clients in all major FMCG segments including food, beverage, consumer healthcare, and household non-durables. Our clients’ needs have been equally diverse. Our work has been recognized by leading industry analysts (recommended as ‘first to call’ for help on trade-related projects) and industry publications where we have repeatedly been voted a favorite in readers’ polls.

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Client experience

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the software market for Trade Promotion Management (TPM) systems was very immature. For many years, there were no analytical TPM systems commercially available. During this period, we developed several custom analytical TPM systems and the supporting predictive models for our pioneering clients. While these custom systems have long since been replaced by modern systems, the basic design concepts have endured and are still considered best practice.

The TPM software market has matured substantially and there are now several enterprise-caliber TPM software packages commercially available. The major solutions are provided by CAS and SAP. These solutions require substantial design, configuration and integration effort, which are services we often provide for our clients.

We recognize that technology is an important part of most trade transformation programs. We have worked closely with the major TPM software providers over time to help advance our clients’ agendas and to keep current our knowledge of the solutions in this space. We’ve also developed our own enterprise-grade analytics platform called PwC’s Performance Analyzer to fill a void in advanced revenue management and trade analytics. Performance Analyzer is helping a number of our clients achieve year over year profit improvements from trade as well as address the many other struggles they face with revenue management.

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Technology experience

Strategy& maintains a dedicated team focused on Trade Promotion Excellence. We believe this is essential to providing the highest level of service to clients. It is the most effective way we have found to develop our skills, serve our clients, and advance our thinking in this space.

Throughout our history, we have experienced very little attrition, which has put us in the enviable position of having a very experienced team in a space where experience truly matters. The senior members of our TPE team have been with Strategy& for anywhere from 10 to 20 years or more and each has personally been involved in 3-10 major trade programs. Our core TPE team includes dedicated strategists, program managers, business analysts, architects, developers, and change specialists–many of whom have over 8 years of experience building trade promotion capabilities.

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An expert team

Strategy& has repeatedly shown that we can deliver the transformations needed to bring enduring improvements to our clients’ trade promotion effectiveness. It is not unusual for our CPG clients to realize a 5–20% improvement in annual profits within one to two years of program launch. These results can be tangibly measured as either increases in revenue or decreases in trade spending.

Our clients often realize secondary benefits as well, such as modernizing aging systems, providing more control over spending, or improving business intelligence. Our experience indicates that transformations based on an integration of strategic processes, organization, analytics, systems and data, and the right leadership yield the greatest results.

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Delivering results


Boosting the bottom line
Boosting the bottom line: Through improved trade promotion effectiveness
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What we do for our clients

Strategy& believes there is significant value to be gained from developing strong Customer Planning and Trade Promotion Management capabilities. We’ve worked with many CPG companies to do just that, enabling them to improve end-to-end capabilities for better organizational efficiency and a more holistic picture of their trade program; all of which has historically helped deliver net profit growth and better ROI for their trade spend. Learn more here about how we use our deep experience in Trade Promotion Excellence to help our clients.

The five key building blocks of effective Trade Promotion Excellence capabilities

Building Trade Promotion Excellence capabilities requires focusing on the elements required to create a world class trade capability: strategic processes, organization alignment, analytics, systems and data, and transformation leadership. This model effectively focuses the entire sales organization on the bottom line and can transform trade programs from being a drain on ROI to significantly driving financial growth.

  • 1. Strategic processes
  • 2. Organization alignment
  • 3. Analytics
  • 4. Systems and data
  • 5. Transformation leadership

The optimization of trade promotion plans is most effective when done in the context of the overall customer relationship and the business strategies of the manufacturer and retailer – and not as a one-time event but as an ongoing dialogue between trading partners. Several strategic processes are critical to making this happen – e.g., annual business planning, target setting, customer planning, forecasting, and post-event analysis to name a few.

We bring a thorough understanding of process best practices, common pitfalls, and benchmarks to help our clients diagnose their existing processes and re-engineer them to be more effective. In many cases, we assist our clients with their thorniest process challenges: e.g., transforming processes to support a new funding structure, optimizing new product introductions, and aligning planning to customer calendars.

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Strategic processes

Trade transformations often require some changes to our clients' organizational DNA. This could involve any combination of changes to organization structure, decision rights, roles and responsibilities, incentives, or skills. For instance, to fully realize the benefits of a robust analytical planning solution, sales planners need to play a more strategic role, which typically requires a new set of capabilities.

Strategy& offers an array of services to help leading corporations identify, diagnose, and remedy common organizational "roadblocks" to effective execution. We have extensive experience helping organizations achieve their objectives, whether enlightening management, transforming staff capabilities, or motivating major change.

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Organization alignment

Advancing beyond basic Trade Promotion Management (TPM) to best-in-class Trade Promotion Excellence (TPE) requires the application of analytics to the optimization of trade. Analytics mean more than a simple lift formula. A consistent set of analytics should be integrated into each strategic process.

We bring a comprehensive analytical framework for enabling Trade Promotion Excellence. Our framework has been continually refined over 20 years and is thoroughly embedded in our proprietary intellectual capital. In addition, we have extensive experience building the sophisticated scan- and shipment-based predictive models that underpin most analytical planning and post-event analysis systems. Our models have been implemented at several major CPG manufacturers.

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Systems and data are critical enablers of trade promotion capabilities – analytical or not. Not surprisingly, trade transformations often involve substantial system development and integration efforts.

Strategy& has been helping clients put in place best-in-class TPM systems for over 20 years. We have a dedicated team of designers, architects, and developers with extensive experience implementing TPM systems. Our team has experience with all the major TPM systems including SAP, CAS, Siebel, Demantra, DemandTec and MEI. Most importantly, we understand how technology can be leveraged to support business needs – and how to make that happen.

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Systems and data

Trade transformations require senior leadership from the business and an explicit change management plan to drive what is often a step change in behaviors, skills, and performance.

Strategy& brings a powerful combination of senior advisors with extensive experience managing transformations to help steward change programs and specialized change management professionals who can assist with more tactical change efforts – e.g., skill assessments, training programs, communication planning, etc.

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Transformation leadership

How we work with clients

Drawing on several decades of experience, we have developed a comprehensive tool kit of methodologies, approaches, and technical expertise to help our clients build Trade Promotion Excellence (TPE) capabilities. Our services cover the full spectrum of client needs, from strategy through implementation, and we deploy highly experienced professionals, many of whom have been working in the TPM space for 10 years or more. Our TPE team is collaborative and works shoulder-to-shoulder with you to deliver practical solutions designed to improve the ROI of your trade spend while creating enduring competitive advantage over the competition.

Trade promotion strategy

  • Formulation of a robust, fact-based two- to three-year trade promotion strategy
  • Typically broad in scope, reviewing funding structure, fund allocations, promotion guidelines, processes, organization, systems, and analytics
  • Usually requires competitive assessment and may address the critical link between pricing and trade promotion

Opportunity sizing

  • Highly focused effort to quantify and segment the potential benefits achieved by improving existing trade promotion efforts
  • Typically involves semi-manually creating an event-level database
  • Leverages our database of benchmarks from dozens of similar engagements and is underpinned by industry best practices

SWAT team

  • Focused effort to capture trade promotion efficiencies by focusing on sales operations
  • Involves deploying our TPE experts to work with customer teams to optimize their planning and sell-in efforts
  • Often involves defining and supporting appropriate benefits tracking processes

TPE transformation

  • A broad transformation program focused on driving maximum trade promotion efficiency benefits by implementing process improvement, organizational changes, analytics capabilities, and enhanced IT systems
  • Usually involves interim efforts to drive near-term trade promotion efficiencies

Guideline development

  • Involves developing guidelines to help the customer team improve their trade promotion efficiency
  • Often includes national, account-specific and brand equity guidelines
  • Typically requires semi-manually compiling an event-level database

Funding program restructuring

  • Involves restructuring a client’s trade funding program, balancing several factors including fairness and equity, efficiency, customer and competitive response, alignment of incentives, and diversion of product
  • May include diagnostic of existing funding program structure, including evaluating fund deployment and emphasis, such as EDLP, shopper marketing, digital path to purchase

TPE systems diagnostic

  • Assesses a client’s current TPM systems, taking into account processes, organization, and analytics
  • Benchmarks client’s capabilities against best practices using level charts
  • Identifies and prioritizes key pain points and ways to address the issues

Implementation program structuring

  • A focused effort to assist the client with structuring a TPE transformation program, focusing on process, organization, analytics, and/or system improvements
  • Rigorously defines options with associated scope, costs, benefits, risks, and timing
  • Leverages our extensive database of benchmarks from similar programs

TPM system renewal

  • Assists clients in identifying the benefits of TPM system renewal by developing a rigorous business case supported by in-depth financial benefits
  • We work shoulder-to-shoulder with the project team to assess relevant TPM/TPO/PEA software solutions
  • The program leads or supports implementation efforts to upgrade outdated and/or ineffective trade promotion systems
  • The TPE team can lead or support clients in phases from design through go-live