Solution Provider Spotlight: 84.51°

November 6, 2023
by Barbara Connors, Vice President, Strategy & Acceleration

Company Name: 84.51°
Tenure With Current Company: 15 years
Years of Industry Experience: 15 years

Give us a brief history of your company, when and how did you get started and what is your high-level mission statement?

84.51° is a retail data science, insights and media company. We were founded in 2015 and are a wholly owned subsidiary of Kroger. Many ask us about the story behind our unique name, and it has a special meaning. It is a name of numbers, and we lead with data. Specifically, it is the longitudinal coordinates of Cincinnati, where we and Kroger are headquartered. Additionally, these coordinates are also a nod to longitudinal approach we take to data, insights and collaboration. We do this by applying cutting-edge science to our 1st party retail data asset of over 62 million U.S. households to create more personalized and valuable experiences for shoppers across the path to purchase.

What would you like CMA and SIMA members to know about your brand/company?

At the center of our business is a relentless focus on the customer and passion for making their lives easier. This is what enables everyone across the organization to all have the same goal in mind. We collaborate with CPGs, agencies and affiliates across three main commercial businesses – Insights, Loyalty Marketing and Kroger Precision Marketing – and our customer-focus is the glue the connects all groups together. It is also what enables us to foster strategic collaboration between CPGs and Kroger that results in optimized experiences, meaningful connections, and tangible value.

What is the most common question you hear from current and potential customers, and how do you answer it?

The most common question I hear is “what does a best-in-class partnership look like?” Our best partnerships can all be characterized by trust, collaboration, innovation, and alignment on the same goals. When these are all present, everyone is energized to uncover new ah-ha’s that influence a change in strategy or plans, build and break things together, and improve shoppers’ experiences.

Any white space in the industry or areas you are looking to expand into?

We are constantly striving to shorten the distance between insights and action, and we are excited by technological advancements that are opening new paths for us to bring this to life. One way in which we are doing this is through the design of insights products that directly connect to media activation, enabling companies to translate insights into media audiences and activation. Another way is through the design of insights products that make it easier for companies to access more granular levels of data and consumable sciences and integrate them into their processes and systems being used for decisioning. Significant white space exists in increasing the level of insights collaboration across companies, and even across disciplines like insights and media.

What is the most important thing that needs to be addressed in the category management and shopper insights disciplines going forward?

An increasing number of companies are declaring themselves to be data-driven and are looking to insights and analytics to create new competitive edges. However, this comes only through an intentional strategy to both elevate analytical acumen and evolve the culture around decision-making. Focusing on one without the other will leave insights teams or business teams frustrated, and more likely both. We are undergoing an industry shift that is forcing companies to upskill teams around new capabilities and experiment with new approaches. It also requires us to break down silos across teams who may be unknowingly approaching the same problem from a slightly different angle, and even the silos between the groups analyzing problems with those who will act on the decisions. Companies with cultures grounded in collaboration and learning will be best equipped to adapt to the new landscape.

How are you thinking about the next 3-5 years in retail?

The pace of change and innovation continues to accelerate. At the same time, customers are more diverse, with differentiated and elevated expectations for retailers and brands. They are increasingly shopping online, and still plan to continue shopping in stores. They want quality at a better value. They want options that deliver convenience and ones that create connections, depending on each shopping occasion. Definitions of loyalty are becoming more fluid. And they increasingly expect retailers to anticipate their needs and personalize experiences for them.

Responding to these shifts will require companies to disrupt the status quo, evolve operating models, and lean into what may seem like opposing trends to connect with the customers of today & tomorrow. Those that thrive will be the ones who use technology to create more personal connections, innovate and invest in both the digital and in-store shopping experiences, and dive deeper into customer insights to build data-driven strategies that meet their evolving needs.