Technology is accelerating the changing nature of competition and collaboration in the consumer goods (CG) industry. As consumers and retailers get more sophisticated in using technology to leverage their individual and collective buying power, CG manufacturers need to figure out how to build and maintain relationships with both consumers and retailers profitably. We feel it is important for CIOs and IT leaders to understand how technology is changing these relationships and what they need to do from an IT standpoint. In our recent report The Five New Rules of Technology-Enabled Sales and Marketing in Consumer Goods , my colleague Dale Hagemeyer and I highlight five trends that we think will define new rules of sales and marketing engagement during the next two to three years. We have presented these trends to positive reception at Gartner’s conferences around the world and reviewed with hundreds of our clients in the consumer goods market. These new rules are:
1. Consumers Expect You to Go Direct. Consumers throughout the world are using mobile and e-commerce technologies to get the items they want — when they want them, even from manufacturers themselves. As consumers get more comfortable using e-commerce to get their everyday goods, CG manufacuters must maintain a presence in this emerging channel.
2. Effective Retailer Collaboration Must Become More Than Just a Slogan. Retailers are looking for data-driven insights when collaborating with CG manufacturers on placement, merchandising and promotion. Effective use of analytic technologies like Trade Promotion Optimization can facilitate more fact-based discussions and lead to better outcomes.
3. Personalization and Context Cause Wallets to Open. Dale and I have been covering the use of context and analytics to get the right offer to the right shopper at the right time and in the right location of the store for over three years. While the pilots we have been observing are slowly expanding, we believe these technologies represent the future of grocery shopping by the blending of the physical and digital worlds.
4. Winning in the Marketplace Means Winning at the Shelf. The best products, in-store technologies or promotions won’t work if the product is not on the shelf when the consumer is about to make a decision. We are tracking a number of technologies that are making it easier for CG companies to monitor and measure retail execution, such as Image Recognition, to ensure out of stocks are minimized.
5. IT as Facilitator, Not Gatekeeper. Identifying and adopting the right technologies requires a strong partnership between IT , Sales, and Marketing. Our advice to IT is to not wait for the invitation, but step forward, focused on a tangible business result that can be amplified with a strong partnership. Gartner has seen many examples of CG companies that get the importance of this relationship, and are using partnership to their collective advantage.
What do you think are some of the new rules of technology-enabled sales and marketing in consumer goods? Rules change, so we’d love any thoughts you might have.