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IBM-Consumer-Product-Leaders-Balanced-Focus-July201315% of consumer products companies are both highly focused on their consumers and strong users of analytics, according to a study conducted by the IBM Center for Applied Insights in partnership with Kantar Retail. These “leaders,” as they’re dubbed by the researchers, tend to do better than their peers in capital markets and have more influence among their retail customers. Among the ways in which they differ from other companies, Leaders are more likely to: balance retailers’ needs with consumer needs; have collaborative sales functions; and leverage analytics to assist critical sales activities.

Marketers are looking at big data as a way to become more customer-centric, so it’s not surprising that consumer products Leaders who are active users of analytics also have more of a consumer focus. According to the IBM study, 61% of Leaders balance the needs of consumers with those of retailers, compared to 36% of other companies. And while 54% of Leaders make decisions that are driven by consumers needs (not completely determined by the retailer’s top-down needs), only 28% of the other study respondents concurred. At least half of Leaders are

When it comes to collaborative sales functions, Leaders have the edge on others in terms of liaising with retailers for promotional activity strategy (46% vs. 28%), product development strategy (43% vs. 28%), development of consumer insights (35% vs. 20%) and data analysis (33% vs. 20%).

Finally, Leaders are more likely to leverage analytics across a range of activities, including understanding the consumer environment (67% vs. 52%) and improving product innovation (59% vs. 34%).

About the Data: The IBM Center for Applied Insights and Kantar Retail inter- viewed 356 senior sales executives at consumer products companies in Australia, Canada, India, the United Kingdom and the United States, 2013. These respondents cover 10 product categories. Forty-six percent of them work in large enterprises (employing 1,000 or more people), while 54 percent work in medium-sized enterprises (employing 100-999 people).

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