Frequently Asked Questions

1.   Why is there such a long gap from when the SPARLINE was sold to today? 

Answer:  30 years ago I bought a small merchandising company and decided to focus on building an International Merchandising Company.  Today it is over $200,000,000, listed on NASDAQ and operates in countries including Mexico, Brazil, China, India and Japan that cover over 50% of the worlds population.  I stopped selling SPARLINE and supporting the SPARLINE system at that time.  Recently I have done research into the state of Trade Promotion Analysis and Effectiveness and have found that it has actually decreased from where it was 30 years ago.  Today it is common for a large Packaged Goods Manufacturer to spend a Billion dollars or more on trade spending in a year with anywhere from 33% to 50% being wasted.  I also found out that while the reporting and database activities of supporting promotions have improved over the years the accuracy of the calculation of incremental sales and profits from promotions is no better than is was 30 years ago.  I have now spent two years updating the SPARLINE system and adding many AI algorithms so that in addition to continuing to produce the most accurate estimate of incremental sales and profits it also deals with a number of issues that could not be dealt with in the past due to processing and communication limitations.  I have also put everything up on the web site so that anyone can try to use the system for free.

 2.  Why is SPARLINE better or different?

Answer:  It produces the most accurate estimate of incremental sales and profits from promotions that is available in the world.  SPARLINE is not meant to be glitzier or easier to use than other systems, nor does it come pre-packaged with data such as POS data.  It simply provides the most accurate estimate of incremental sales and profits that is possible.  If that is the most important information that you would like to know that is the SPARLINE Point of Difference.

3.  How does the model work that allows you to support the claim this is the best answer?

 Answer:  It is a highly complex AI set of algorithms that is self learning and iterative.  It has a core engine that is written up in detail (including all the logic and formulas) in the Journal of Market Research Article in the Library section.  A less technical explanation is also covered in the White Papers in the Library Section.  The relevant White Papers are:.  Mathematical Models Comparison, How Does the Sparline Model Work and Statistical Analysis.  These three White Papers and the JMR article should address 99% of your questions about the core mathematics.  Anyone who wishes to get into a more theoretical explanation can read the book “Matrix Algebra Useful for Statistics” by Shayle R. Searle.  In additional the model has 625 AI routines that allow it to deal with complex data driven real world situations.  These AI routines and logic were built based on analyzing over 2,000,000 Trade Promotion in almost every category in countries throughout the world.

4.  I don’t know enough about Mathematics or AI to judge if what is written is accurate or not.  How can I have confidence it works other than studying the mathematics?

Answer:  There are three ways.  1-The JMR article was peer reviewed by Ph.d's in Mathematics for accuracy so you can have confidence that what is in the article is mathematically accurate. 2-Prior to being used, the largest packaged companies in the world they did their own review of the model using the PhD's within their company to vet the model.  3-Most important is what these Companies had to say after using the SPARLINE and seeing the results.  In the Library are quotes and testimonials from the largest companies in the world including P&G, Coke-Cola, Reckitt and Colman, Mondelez and Unilever all testifying that it works.

5.  Maybe the math worked 30 years ago but a lot has changed in 30 years.  Why do you think it will still work?

Answer:  Mathematics doesn’t change.  Newton, Galileo and Pythagorean all did their math models hundreds of year ago (Pythagorean was in 495 B.C. and is taught in elementary school today).  Mathematics works forever and  the math in the SPARLINE is the same as it was 30 years ago and will be the same in 200 hundred years..
6.  I have a system now to evaluate Promotions.  Why should I switch?

 Answer:  There is a very simple test.  Most companies estimate they waste anywhere from 10% to 50% of the Promotion spending.  If you believe that you are only wasting 10%-20% of your spending then it is unlikely you will switch and you are not a candidate for the SPARLINE.  Even if you are wasting 40% of your promotional spending, if you think you are only wasting 20% you will not switch so you are not a SPARLINE candidate.  But if you feel you are wasting 30%, 40% or even 50% or more of your Promotion spending then whatever is currently being done is not successful and an alternative should be tried.

7.  I have a baseline or SPARLINE now.  Will the SPARLINE give me a different answer than I am currently getting?

Answer:  If the analysis being done is on simplistic data and the promotions are infrequent with lots of non-promoted periods most like the answer you are now getting is more than adequate and using a SPARLINE system is overkill.  It would be like using a 500 pound bomb to clear a stump.  It will get the job done, but it is not necessary.  But if you are in categories where you might be on promotion all the time such as paper products, soft drinks, HBA products and many other similar categories you most likely don’t have a baseline you have confidence in and the SPARLINE will give you a different and better answer.

8.  How can I check if I will get a different answer?

Answer:  Run a test product on the SPAR InfoTech web site under SPARLINE, FREE Trial run.  Enter the data, get a sparline run and compare it to what you have now.  If you are not getting a baseline or SPARLINE now do a free test and see what you can get.

9.  If I have any questions can I contact someone?

 Answer:  Yes or  We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

10.  What is the background of Robert G Brown and what other systems has he built?

Answer:  Robert G. Brown has an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and a graduate degree in Operations Research and MIS.  He is the Chairman of the Board of SPAR Group, Inc. (a $200,000,000 International business services Company he founded) and also has developed the most advanced techniques for playing Blackjacks which gives the most accurate answer of what a player should do with any of the over 10 trillion possible card combinations between what a player has, the dealers up card and the remaining cards in the shoe.  To understand this go to WIZ 21 on the SPAR InfoTech site.

11.  If I use the SPARLINE what is the bottom line impact?

Answer:  You can expect to increase the profit of your company by 15% of the spending on trade promotions by reducing spending on ineffective promotions and spending more on the most profitable promotions.  If your company spends 1 billion per year on promotions you can expect $150,000,000 increase in profits.