Once again, Simon Ellis and I will research Sales & Marketing in the consumer products industry in conjunction with Consumer Goods Technology. This research is for brand-oriented consumer products (CP) manufacturers that want to know if they're making the best use of their sales and marketing dollars. At the same time as they fight for the attention of consumers, these manufacturers are also deciding where they belong on the spectrum between private label and "direct to consumer" and how to
- Trade promotion management is the second-largest cost item on the consumer goods profit and loss (P&L) statement and poorly understood by many manufacturers. Rethinking trade promotions will be an important focus for companies, in terms of the business process and the facilitating IT tools.
- Downstream data remains intriguing and challenging in its applicability to sales and marketing initiatives. It has enormous potential to help CP companies improve promotions and new product introductions, but it requires a rethinking of many business processes and the use of more agile business tools. It also holds the promise of supply-side transformations.
- Direct-to-consumer, although not yet the highest priority for CP companies, is an interesting growth opportunity and a way for manufacturers to improve "connectivity" with consumers and combat the growth of retail private label. Further, direct to consumer can be viewed through either the lens of fulfillment or communication. But will it endanger the retail channel?
- Social media and social business capabilities threaten to revolutionize the way businesses conduct their sales and marketing activities, from lead generation to product fulfillment and support. We think companies that ignore this phenomenon will be marginalized.
- Mobility's impact will be far reaching on the way salespeople conduct business and interact with both customers and consumers, not to mention how consumers buy.
- Big data is one of those areas that we least understand right now, though it may have the greatest potential. Manufacturers are just learning how they can apply new analytic tools to harness the power of large volumes of data, of different types – structured and unstructured, at much faster speeds. It's ultimately about condensing the decision making process so business can be supported by facts, not instinct.
We're looking forward to sharing highlights of this research with you on our IDC Insights Community home and later in more depth for our customers through our IDC Manufacturing Insights reports. We hope you'll join us when we present the report at the Consumer Goods Technology conference in New York, June 4 – 6th. And if you are a consumer products manufacturer, please take our survey and we'd be happy to schedule a 1:1 conversation with you as well! Just reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org .