Space Planning, AI, Data-Driven Storytelling Among 2024 CMA Conference Learning Tracks

November 9, 2023

 By Jackie Lewis, VP of Content for CMA | SIMA 

The CMA|SIMA is pleased to announce the 2024 Annual Category Management and Shopper Insights Conference will be at the exquisite Hyatt Regency Dallas! The 2023 conference in Las Vegas attracted over 900 attendees representing over 250 companies, and 83% of attendees told us they’d be back. We could not be more thrilled to build off that momentum heading into 2024.   

Managing through a pandemic followed by an unprecedented time of food and consumer goods inflation has challenged category managers, space planners, and shopper insights professionals to think differently. This year’s conference theme is “Trailblazing Retail’s Bold Future” as the industry collectively returns to an innovative mindset after an extended period of disruption. What might the future hold? 

With four incredible tracks framing our conference, we are excited to provide a mix of keynotes, workshops, breakout sessions and other learning opportunities. Content tracks will include data-driven storytelling, embracing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), cross-functional collaboration, and more. This year’s conference will also feature a selection of reimagined CMA | SIMA training courses for professionals looking to advance their skillsets. The 40,000-sq.ft. ballroom will be the center for our Tech Expo Hall and the home for all meals and lots of fun networking opportunities. 

In this week’s blog, we will look at each of the four content tracks and tell you what to expect as we continue to reveal our speaker lineup in the coming weeks! 

Track 1: Harnessing the Power of Data-Driven Storytelling 

Our first breakout track is named for the runner-up for this year’s conference theme around storytelling. We will trailblaze retail’s future with stories! As the proliferation of data in our industry continues, category managers and shopper insights professionals must challenge ourselves to connect the dots and provide insight with the data in a compelling way. It’s too easy to get lost in the weeds, and this track of presentations will cover the importance of storytelling in retail, dos/don’ts of storytelling in various retail settings, and more. Leaders from companies including Clorox, Nestle Purina, and The Presentation Company will share their tips in these breakout sessions.    

Track 2: Embracing AI and Machine Learning   

Last year’s Tech Expo Hall was swelling with category management solutions supported by AI and machine learning. This year we’re excited to explore the impact data science is having on our industry with its own dedicated track of presentations. Join the Director of Data Science for The Hershey Company and other pioneers leading the way in embracing AI and ML. Members across organizations will share learnings, pitfalls, and best practices incorporating data science into their category management and shopper insights projects.  

Track 3: Driving Cross-Functional Collaboration 

As CMA and SIMA members navigate the hurdles of reorganization and restructuring, we are excited to illuminate examples of best-in-class cross-functional collaboration within CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) and retail. Presenters will explore examples of category management and shopper insights working effectively with merchandising (Giant Foods), revenue growth management, research and development (Church and Dwight) and more. ARC is excited to further its mission of driving cross-functional collaboration and exposure to various retail careers in the process through this breakout track. 

Track 4: Space Planning of the Future 

Space management as a focused discipline does not get the resources it deserves in building content, creating common language and assessments, and sharing best practices that are technology-agnostic. The Space Planning Community by ARC has been busy over the past year building industry training and resources. Members of the community including representatives from O’Reilly Auto Parts, Ahold Delhaize, and PepsiCo will share best practices on score carding, staffing, micro-space optimization and more. 

Interactive Workshops 

Finally, back by popular demand, our agenda includes 4-6 longer, one-hour, 15-minute workshops for attendees to get hands-on with their learning. The ARC Training team plans to deliver a selection of the recently reimagined training courses live in workshop format for novices in the industry to help build foundational knowledge. Other workshop topics include eCommerce growth drivers, the art of debate, and building Power BI dashboards. Come ready to roll up your sleeves and leave the conference better prepared to face the challenges of day-to-day category management and shopper insights.   

Conference content will be rounded out with experts in “Emerging Technologies” to spotlight innovative CatMan and Shopper Insights solutions, including AI/ML, VR (virtual reality), and other exciting developments. Keynotes will include a macroeconomic overview followed by a “CatMan Leaders Panel” of CMA advisory board members, the complex evolution of retail space, challenges at the front end of retail stores, and more. 

We could not be more excited to bring you this incredible lineup of industry leading content at the 2024 CMA|SIMA Conference. Stay tuned over the coming weeks as we begin to reveal our keynote and breakout speakers and sessions for the show! Be sure and reserve your spot today. 

Do you have a great case study or solution you’d like to share? It’s not too late! We’re still accepting applications for breakout speakers. Send us your application today before the final slots fill up!