Working with Numbers - Part 1

So Anupriya has been kind enough to write again, this time a 3 part series!

Its quite intimidating for freshers like me to get into a brand management environment and manage an entire array of numbers stemming from different sources - which ones do you use for what? It gets quite overwhelming, so here's the first part of "Working with numbers".


I am almost a regular on this blog now – though the initiators of this blog call me the guest writer!!!
Well this post is a continuation of my last post – A Day in the life of an ABM. As I said for a marketer  more than 50% of his working life goes into numbers and making sense of them – even if at times there is little to make sense of.
And trust me there are a lot of numbers floating around – to be able to pick up the right ones is almost like fighting a new battle every day. To my mind – “A beautiful mind” portrays this very beautifully – how Nash picks up words and numbers when he is out of his mind – well numbers crunching is almost like that.
Am hoping this post will make some of it easier for the young budding marketers.
First things first – some cardinal rules of making sense of data. I will explain each of the cardinal rules during the rest of the post but still take note of them for now:

1.       Always make a framework before you start looking at numbers  - to start with borrow someone else framework and then develop your own

2.       Always start with macro – getting into details is a good thing but without the larger picture it is futile. At the end of the day all work is towards the “Big Picture”

3.       Always have an objective – culling and crunching of numbers without an objective is like going shopping without a shopping list – you will end up finding everything except what you went shopping for

4.       Make hypothesis and then prove or disprove them

There are basically 5 regular sources of data and 1 mother of all researches which you will keep going back to – all the time:
1.       Internal Sales – Primary & Secondary
2.       Nielsen
3.       Household Panel
4.       Brand Track
5.       SOV & GRPs
6.       Usage & Attitude Study
Most of your life will revolve around these data sources. Now let’s look at the role of each source

Internal Sales: this is the ONLY reality of your life.  This is what is the “DHANDA” and everything else in life may be hunky dory but if this is not – then well sorry to put it bluntly but your brand is screwed. Just as a refresher course:
Primary Sales is what as a company you bill to your distributors. This is what we all call “turnover” of our brands. This is the actual realization of your brand for the company.
Secondary Sales is what the distributor sells to trade. In an ideal scenario Secondary=Primary but then as everything ideological it is only a myth. Secondary sale is the most important parameter to track as this determines what your consumer will get to buy (stay with this statement for some time and I will explain how). 

Nielsen: This is what gives you your brands performance at the retail (universe of all shops where you or your category is present) level. This is your single point of reference for all competition benchmarking, Market Share, Distribution, Offtakes, Brand health at the store level etc.  

Household Panel: This is your Consumer Reality. It answers a lot of questions regarding the purchase behavior for your brands or category:
·         Who buys you – demographics, town level, city wise, how many kids et al
·         How much they buy you
·         How many times they buy you
·         What else do they buy etc.

Brand Track: This measures your brand’s health. This is a measure of “What your brand stand for” in the consumer’s mind:
·         Brand Awareness
·         Ad Awareness
·         Share of Endorsements
·         Trials, Repeats etc

SOV & GRPs:  This measures your competitiveness in media – how much money is competition pumping in, how much your consumers see your ad etc

Usage & Attitude Study: Well this is basically your bible for consumer behavior – how they use your product, why they use your product, how often they use your product, where they buy it from, why do they not use your product etc
Now the next question is how to use all these sources together. Well I am a marketer and am going to make you wait and read the next post for that.


  1. Hi Anupriya
    Can you please elaborate on SOV and share of endorsements; is it just Word of Mouth or there is more to it?
    Eagerly waiting for next part!

    1. Hi while I will elaborate on this in the rest of my posts....SOV is a share of voice that you make in the market place. SOV = Brands GRPs/Category GRPs

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. well thats an interesting intro you've started off with... 4 months into an FMCG company, as an MT I found it very relevant and apt!
    Looking fwd to the series of posts :)

    1. Thanx Shruti :) the next one should be up just post Diwali hoping to finish it this weekend.

  3. Please give the link to next blog in the present blog itself. Prevents from searching
    Thanks :)

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