PROFILE

Zel Bianco

President, founder and CEO Interactive Edge

Zel Bianco and Interactive Edge have been helping companies, specifically in the Consumer Goods industry, run more efficiently since 1994. Zel’s focus is always on the needs of the client. He strives to be a real business partner to every customer — no matter what the size of the contract or the scope of the implementation. He wants to help companies eliminate the cumbersome and time consuming tasks associated with data management and organization in order to free up users time so that they can do what they were hired to do: generate insights to grow their business. Zel enjoys helping clients bridge the gap between category management and shopper insights. He collaborates with clients in the development of a process that streamlines the flow of qualitative data into customer facing presentations and reports.

As the president, founder and CEO of Interactive Edge, Zel is responsible for setting the company’s strategic vision and developing business alliances. He is also an industry thought leader who has enjoyed presenting at many industry conferences such as the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), the International Committee of Food Retail Chains (CIES), SAP’s SAPPHIRE and SAP’s TechEd Demo Jam. He has been honored to speak at both DePaul University and Michigan State University, and has donated the Interactive Edge XP3 software for use by students at both of their business schools. Interactive Edge and its customers have won numerous industry awards in areas including Customer Management, Visionary Innovation, and Demand Data Analytics.

Prior to founding Interactive Edge, Zel held senior account management positions in the advertising industry, at Young & Rubicam and other large New York agencies. He worked with many consumer package goods clients and was a part of the account management team that introduced the IBM personal computer.

More information about Zel and his solution for presenting demand data analytics can be found at the Interactive Edge website.

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  • Posted on: 05/31/2017

    Will customers try Kohler showers before they buy?

    I like the idea. We are considering updating a shower in our apartment and would certainly take advantage of this. Once it's installed, it's done. No returns on this baby. Also I think Kohler will do this justice. If you've never been to their showroom in Wisconsin, check it out. It is one of the most elaborate and gorgeous showrooms I've ever seen. It is an experience in itself. I think this and other manufacturers/retailers that allow you have an experience will experience an increase in sales.
  • Posted on: 04/28/2017

    Will Amazon’s Echo Look be a clothes selling machine?

    I think it will be a winner for apparel sales. It may take longer from older consumers who worry more about privacy concerns but the young among us, those young in age and young at heart, will embrace it. Privacy be damned.
  • Posted on: 03/31/2017

    Why is Amazon trying to convince CPG giants to go consumer direct?

    Amazon is giving CPG manufacturers a heads up and they should listen. They ignore this at their own peril. The challenge is, how do vendors implement this in an aggressive way without causing a huge rift with their long-term retail customers? Is this not the primary reason Walmart purchased Jet?This seems like what is playing out in our politics. Constituents from both sides of aisle should put their country before their party for the good of the American people. I'm guessing that if Amazon, retailers and manufacturers put the shopper/consumer first, the rest will work itself out. Plus, as another discussion on RetailWire today points out, shoppers need our industry to get its act together on omnichannel and this is part of it.
  • Posted on: 03/13/2017

    Are retailers ‘blind’ to digital marketing’s flaws?

    Balance is the key in using both in the most effective way. I am seeing marketing activities come full circle to the industry, whether it be among retailers or solution providers. I have also been "blinded by the light" of social media as the default answer when traditional media such as trade publications both in print and online can be a much more effective way to reach decision makers who have the "juice" to make something happen. Yes, use social, but only as one tactic among many.
  • Posted on: 03/06/2017

    Is raising membership fees getting riskier for Costco?

    Get over it folks. As stated by the CFO, the prices certainly make up for the membership fee. I was there yesterday and a 24=pack of Gillette Mach 3 razors was $24.00. You would pay $24.00 for an 8-pack at any drug store, including CVS. Yes, the membership is well worth it. Yes, the timing is never perfect to raise the fee but given that it has not been raised since 2011, they need to do it.
  • Posted on: 02/22/2017

    How long should data consolidation take?

    We find this to be true all too often with the clients we work with, who tend to be mid-size to large CPG companies competing across multiple categories. Typical internal processes for data acquisition, organization, integration and reporting are manual and labor-intensive, so no wonder it’s taking these organizations five days before they get insight deliverables out to the field! Over many years of working with CPGs of all shapes and sizes, we’ve come to understand their pain points in this area intimately ... which is why we’ve continuously developed business user-friendly features into our solutions for everything from data prep and integration of disparate data sources to powerful drilldown and iteration capabilities. All of this has been done with an eye toward the end goal of increasing speed to insight, which drives speed to market, which creates competitive advantage.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2017

    Will having the same buyers for online and stores work for Walmart?

    We talk omnichannel and now we have to walk omnichannel. It's about shopper experience, remember? I am surprised they didn't try to implement this earlier. The concern is, how do suppliers react to this? Not from a logistical standpoint but to the pressure that will be put on them for even lower prices. When is too low, too low?
  • Posted on: 01/19/2017

    Will a movie and gourmet food combo drive crowds to the mall?

    Like I said in yesterday's comments, malls must try to mimic the experience of shopping and socializing that can be had in an urban and perhaps more sophisticated environment. Music, movies, food and cafes will make the experience more appealing to most. If mall operators do not push for more of this, they have themselves to blame as a mall without things to do other than shop will be boring and, God forbid, look and feel like their parents' mall!
  • Posted on: 01/18/2017

    Why does Gen Z like brick-and-mortar stores but not malls?

    What does not make sense is that most of the stores that can be found in malls are the same stores that are found outside of malls. It must be that malls are perceived as dated and no matter how many facelifts are applied to them they are still malls. You would think that the mall is much more practical for Generation Z shoppers because they can go from one store to the other without getting back in the car. Unless you live in an urban area most shopping centers seem to be built the same way wherever you are, Chicago or the New York suburbs or even in Rogers, Arkansas. Perhaps live music and free food would do the trick?
  • Posted on: 01/13/2017

    Will Alexa become the voice of IoT?

    This is way more than an operating system, it is a platform. Just like Apple, Amazon did it right and it will help them maintain their lead. I have not even scratched the surface of what my new Echo is capable of in and of itself, let alone all of the other devices that Amazon has allowed Alexa to be included in. Google and Microsoft will have their share, but I think that first-mover status in this case is a big advantage.
  • Posted on: 01/05/2017

    Will Millennials lead a resurgence in home cooking?

    The answer is yes. I have two of my own, one that is married and the other in a serious relationship and they both are great cooks. I wish I could say the same for myself. Millennials are foodies. Yes, they are out a lot and I have no idea how they do it -- especially in such expensive cities like NY and D.C., but they love to cook at home as well. They are adventurous and jump online for new things to try and are not afraid of experimenting with their own twists on a theme.In fact, it is my daughter's birthday today and what is one of the things she wanted? A pressure cooker so that in her time-pressed crazy days, she could come home to something that will be delicious and most likely much healthier and certainly less expensive than eating out. Restaurants and bars need not worry. Millennials will still show up but they will also led the charge to expertly prepared home cooked meals and that is a very good thing.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2017

    Should workers have the right to disconnect?

    This is a slippery slope. Most workers today, especially those that have grown up with having a phone tethered to their hands, want to have it both ways.If you are going to have a work environment where you can do your work from anywhere with the flexibility to do that work at any time, there must be trade offs. If an employer allows total flexibility, then asking employees to respond after normal hours is justified.If in fact we are talking about staff that come in and work a normal day and you continue to expect them to work after hours and on weekends, then there does need to be limits. At the end of the day, technology gives us all freedoms we never had before. I remember a quote from the ad agency days that went something like this, "If you don't come in on Saturday, don't bother showing up on Sunday."
  • Posted on: 01/03/2017

    Should Costco raise its membership fees?

    Yes, I believe they are and yes, I see them being challenged as well by Amazon and others. Costco has better quality fresh foods as compared to what Sam's offers, and I don't want to order meats and fish from Amazon. Costco also has a great selection of berries, both fresh and frozen, which are great in smoothies, and they have a nice selection of other categories that are "good for you." The rotisserie chicken is probably the best you can buy and the salmon is also very good.Do I want my membership fee to go up? Of course not, but the price/value at Costco is excellent and for my money, I think they are doing a good job. Having said that, we order quite a few items from Amazon but fresh food is usually not part of the order.
  • Posted on: 12/21/2016

    How are manufacturers failing retailers?

    Obviously this discussion has hit a nerve and rightfully so. We, as an industry, have been talking true collaboration forever and change has certainly not been happening fast enough for both sides. There are many things that need attention and my fellow BrainTrust contributors have already addressed many of them.I believe the most important change that will lead to action is to strategically work together to grow the category and not just your brands. The buyer will not and should not listen to manufacturers that talk "partnership" but only push their brands instead of helping the buyer grow the category. If you work to grow the category for the retailer, the rest will take care of itself. There needs to be a longer-term view. Furthermore, until senior management from both the manufacturer and the retailer allow this longer-term view, we will be talking about this same issue year after year. Quarterly results do not make for a sustainable growth strategy.
  • Posted on: 12/19/2016

    Starbucks launches its own branded web cartoon

    It's all about relevance and, in the case of Starbucks, they are trying to be more relevant to Millennials. I would not be surprised if some episodes take a swipe at the narrative offered by Ric Rhinehart, but in this case to try and change that perception.

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