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.

  • Posted on: 08/20/2019

    Counterfeit books vex Amazon

    This is a serious issue for book lovers everywhere. The fact that this is happening with medical books is even more troubling. Amazon needs to step up to the plate on this and all the other areas where manufacturers are getting squeezed, to use a more polite term. This is happening in almost all categories where third-party sellers are buying goods and then re-selling them on Amazon in a different pack size, price, etc. There has been evidence of food items that are past their expiration date and not up to the quality the consumer expects from a national brand. The consumer then tends to go back to the manufacturer who needs to eat the cost to make it right. Why should the CPG company or anyone else that makes a good product or a publisher that puts out the original book be left holding the bag? Amazon should be the one to take responsibility for their third-party sellers or the Amazon-maintained supply chain that allows this to happen. It's great that they are trying to work with a few publishers but much more needs to be done. It is unfair to the industry!
  • Posted on: 08/16/2019

    Pfizer relies on multiple data sources for better shopper insights

    Utilizing multiple data sources cannot be overstated. This is the first critical step in elevating your shopper and category data to the insights process. Aligning, and sometimes truly integrating, data sources around naming conventions, measures, attributes and sometimes even UPCs is a process that needs to take place, but is well worth it in order to achieve the types of wins Amy Joyce alluded to. There is also another very important factor that cannot be overstated and that is the importance of making it easy for the field sales organization to be able to use and present the insights. That is, the need to have a very user friendly interface in which multiple data sources can come together without the user having to figure out the appropriate data selections to make for each data source. We call it “Quick Picks” which allows the user to select what retailer they want to customize the story to from a drop down menu. All data sources are mapped appropriately and displayed on the appropriate slide/analysis so that some will utilize panel, syndicated, Kantar, Numerator, Shopper Intelligence, Market Track and more. The days of walking into your retailer with syndicated and perhaps panel data only are over. The need to tell a more elevated data driven story with multiple data sources is a need to have and no longer a nice to have in order to be a true collaborative partner with your retail customers.
  • Posted on: 08/12/2019

    Is FedEx smart to say goodbye to Amazon’s U.S. business?

    They were smart to preempt the inevitable. Amazon would have cut them in the future for their own agenda, so why not start pursuing the business not coming from Amazon now? Smart move.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2019

    Will its ‘best of’ designer sale trigger a massive run on Target?

    As long as they have enough supply to make enough shoppers happy but not so much that the "while supplies last" sounds like BS, it will be a success. Target has done a masterful job of creating and positioning themselves as stylish but affordable all the way from the designer partnerships, in-store look and consistently well done commercials over the years. Hard to beat Target at this game. They own it.
  • Posted on: 07/31/2019

    Kroger to make customers pay for cash-back debit card payments

    I can understand that they need to cover the fees that banks charge, but $3.50 is even more than Bank ATMs in NYC for say a withdrawal of $200. A higher fee than banks seems a little crazy. Also, if you are using your debit card, the fee charged by banks is generally lower than when using a credit card so yes, this may have a negative effect. Is it worth it to Kroger?
  • Posted on: 07/30/2019

    How do brands maintain their cool?

    Interesting list but as soon as a brand becomes mass cool, it starts to lose its coolness. Perhaps Apple and Google are a few of the exceptions.
  • Posted on: 07/29/2019

    Staples creates content to reposition and differentiate its brand

    I agree with many of my fellow commentators. Staples needs to have a major face lift. Their stores are not very inviting and are tired looking. Developing these other areas of communication are OK, but will do little to improve the image of Staples unless they do more with their stores and online look and feel. I think that Costco does a good job with their magazine, especially the recipes and book reviews but, in their case, the publication works as a natural extension of their overall brand and in-store experience.
  • Posted on: 07/18/2019

    What’s the recipe for de-stressing entrepreneurs?

    It is easier said than done. When you are the boss, work doesn't just turn off at 6:00 p.m. It prevents you from falling asleep and wakes you up in the middle of the night. It oftentimes gives you dreams or I should say nightmares that has you exhausted in the morning. What entrepreneurs must learn to do, and I am still trying after 25 years of having my own firm, is to try to turn it off when you get home to your loved ones. Read books that have nothing to do with your business. Watch Netflix or Prime series that have nothing to do with your business and enjoy your family. As I said, easier said than done but if you don't at least try, you will burn out. What could that do your business and more importantly, your family? Giving yourself a break from our current ugly political discussion will also help.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2019

    CEO says Walmart’s stores are the answer to Amazon – at least for groceries

    With the number of stores in the Walmart chain it does make sense. They will, however, need to step up their game in produce. If they do that, I think Walmart has a good shot of being a strong competitor to Amazon.
  • Posted on: 06/25/2019

    Did Amazon just ‘turn up the heat’ on rivals with its Prime Day announcement?

    It depends on whether the competition can get creative with their offers. Perhaps Walmart and Amazon, and maybe Kroger can compete with Amazon. I hope, but smaller retailers will not unless they really get innovative and creative and it can be done. If Amazon can collaborate with initiatives like the Tote promotion from FEED where for every purchase they will donate 10 free breakfasts for kids, other retailers can also do things like this. Why hasn't a retailer worked with Colgate or Unilever to donate toothpaste and soap to migrant children who have been living in deplorable conditions at our border? Would something like that not have a hugely positive for both the supplier and the retailer? Could more retailers make a bigger deal of supporting small and medium businesses/farmers whose products they sell? Amazon is making a big deal about how much was sold from small and medium businesses on the last Prime Day. I realize it is not the same thing and not on a platform like Amazon, but the alternative is to send up a white flag and say " I can't compete so I give up." If I did that against all the much larger competition we have had over the years, I would not be celebrating my 25th year in business.
  • Posted on: 06/24/2019

    How do consumers define cleanliness in grocery stores?

    What registers as cleanliness in the grocery store? The bathrooms! As your mother said: if the bathrooms are dirty, what does it say about the rest of the store? Especially the back of the store where the food is being brought in.
  • Posted on: 06/13/2019

    Can GameStop reboot itself?

    It may be too late for GameStop. The comparisons are justified. The path and channel have shifted and just as some will walk into a record store if they are into vinyl, most will download from their music subscription. Gaming companies have the direct path to the consumer and it is not likely to change. Relating to yesterday's Barnes & Noble story, Leonard Riggio would have been well served not getting into this business or getting rid of it earlier.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2019

    Has Barnes & Noble found its savior(s)?

    I believe Lenny Riggio when he says he believes the new owner and new CEO will have the best chance to make Barnes & Noble a huge success again. I worked at the ad agency that had his account for many years and he is a great guy and a true visionary. Given the realities of the book selling business, Lenny has been able to withstand and mostly thrive in a very tough business. I don't know if the new owners will be able to pull this off, but I do know that Lenny would not hand over the keys to just anyone, I believe he truly feels that Elliot Management has the best chance of success. I hope they succeed, as bookstores are great, and Barnes & Noble are among the best. Nothing will replace a good bookstore, and in fact, airports need more real bookstores, and not just another Hudson with small selections.
  • Posted on: 06/11/2019

    Nestle, Kellogg’s and others dump their DSD routes

    Ben, you nailed it. If the presentation in store is not up to snuff, then the cookie starts to crumble and the shopper/consumer is disappointed and we all lose.
  • Posted on: 06/11/2019

    Nestle, Kellogg’s and others dump their DSD routes

    Unfortunately, the search for areas in the supply chain to cut has led to the decision to end DSD in many categories. The drivers and others whose jobs were eliminated are the sacrificial lambs in this new reality we call retail. Can DSD be modernized or improved? Those companies that have decided to abandon DSD better be confident that the quality, freshness and merchandising standards will remain high, or they will be forced to find ways to modernize or somehow improve the system.

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