Technology File

DECISIONEDGE MANAGES MARKETING CAMPAIGNS IBM Canada has launched new business intelligence software that it says will enable companies to plan, execute, track and refine marketing campaigns. DecisionEdge for Campaign Management allows users to set up 'dialogues' with their customers, store customer...

DECISIONEDGE MANAGES MARKETING CAMPAIGNS

IBM Canada has launched new business intelligence software that it says will enable companies to plan, execute, track and refine marketing campaigns. DecisionEdge for Campaign Management allows users to set up ‘dialogues’ with their customers, store customer information in a data warehouse, and build on customer contact history to produce more precise cross-selling and up-selling opportunities. IBM says DecisionEdge can manage three kinds of campaigns: those that identify prospects in certain segments, those that are triggered by specific customer actions, and those that are triggered by customer inquiries.

VISITOR INSIGHT TARGETS WEB SITE CUSTOMERS

Orange, Calif.-based Experian has unveiled an e-commerce product, Visitor Insight, which runs in the background of a business Web site and enables marketers to target specific customers. When a consumer registers on the site, Visitor Insight supplements the information provided with demographic data from Experian’s Insource database, which contains consumer data on 98% of all U.S. households, according to the company. Using this data, the Web site marketer can immediately tailor product and service offerings to the needs of individual visitors.

CALL CENTRE SOFTWARE SIMPLIFIES CUSTOMER CONTACTS

Nortel Networks of Dallas, Tex., has launched Web-enabled customer relationship management software that it says will ease the processing required by call centre agents.

Symposium Call Centre Server (Release 3.0) customer relationship management software is incorporated with Internet and Computer Telephony Integration (CTI). According to the company, use of the Internet-enabled application will result in increased productivity, minimized operational costs and maximized agent scheduling. Symposium is currently available to those call centres using Nortel Networks Meridian 1 and Meridian SL-100 and DMS Centrex systems.

Meat and plant-based sales are both strong at Maple Leaf

Both priority areas performed well in the company's full-year results, helped by a boost in marketing for new products.
Maples Leaf All Natural 4

Maple Leaf Foods reported higher Q4 and full-year 2020 sales, driven by its sustainable meats and plant-based proteins. 

The CPG co. reported quarterly sales of $1.13 billion, up from $1.02 billion for Q4 2019, as well as net earnings of $25.4 million, compared to $17.5 million for the same period the year prior (an increase of 45.2%).

For full fiscal 2020, the company reported a total increase of 9.2% in sales, driven by what it says is “strong growth in both the meat and plant protein groups.”

“We have repositioned our portfolio towards two high-growth categories now representing 20% of our annual sales generating a compounded growth rate in excess of 25% over the last three years,” says Michael McCain, the company’s president and CEO.

Meat protein group sales  comprised of prepared meats, ready-to-cook and ready-to-serve meals, snack kits, value-added fresh pork and poultry products that are sold to retail, foodservice and industrial channels, and agricultural operations  grew 11.3% for the quarter. 

Meanwhile, sales of plant protein products  refrigerated plant protein brands such as Lightlife and Field Roast, premium grain-based protein, and vegan cheese products sold to retail, foodservice and industrial channels  was up 5.5% over the same period. 

Sales growth for its meat portfolio was driven by “a favourable mix-shift towards sustainable meats and branded products,” but also growth in exports to Asian markets, and pricing actions implemented to mitigate inflation and other structural cost increases, according to the company. Strong demand in the retail channel was offset by lower volume in foodservice as a result of COVID-19.

For its plant-based offerings, sales for 2020 were $210.8 million compared to $176.4 million last year, representing a growth of 19.5%, or 18.1% after excluding the impacts of foreign exchange. The segment was driven by expanded distribution of new products, continued volume increases in its existing portfolio, and pricing actions implemented to mitigate inflation and other structural cost increases.

SG&A expenses totalled $144 million for the plant group alone in 2020, with investments focused on advertising, promotion and marketing to build awareness, as well as supporting brand renovation and new product innovation. SG&A for meat proteins were $346.6 million for the full year, and the company says it expects SG&A levels and marketing investment in 2021 to be largely in line with where they were in 2020.

The company, which in 2019 announced it had gone carbon neutral, says it’s amplifying this commitment while “focusing on eliminating waste in any resources it consumes, including food, energy, water, packaging, and time.”