Sales & Marketing Report 2017

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Sales & Marketing Report 2017

By Peter Breen - 06/02/2017

Welcome to CGT and IDC’s Sales & Marketing Report 2017.

CGT has been publishing this report annually since 2005 (minus a break in 2008). That has allowed us to keep a close eye on these critical industry functions, which have always had their fair share of change from year to year — but which now are undergoing a level of transformation that may very well be unprecedented. If nothing else, the change is happening a lot faster these days.

It may seem a little odd to say, as we do in the headline to the next section, that “consumers” are the driving force in the consumer goods industry. Hasn’t that always been the case?

Truth be told, the industry as a whole has often distanced itself from the end users over the decades as it grew, matured, and started worrying more about operational efficiencies, economies of scale and trading partner negotiations than it did whether or not consumers were really getting the products and services that they needed.

Although basic consumer needs haven’t changed very much since 2005, the ways in which consumers solve their needs have become dramatically different. So have their expectations about products, retailers and the shopping experience. Everyone knows that we have digital communication and e-commerce to thank (or blame).

Any consumer goods company that did take its eye off the ball is now scrambling to re-engage with millions of consumers who may already have moved on to someone else, another product that responded to their evolving expectations in better — or at least faster — ways.

It’s all relative, of course. In 2005, the “transformation” that we discussed in the report was the shift “from product-centric to customer-centric strategies.” That was a pretty big deal, too, as CGs undertook the necessary step of developing stronger joint business strategies with key retail partners.

In comparison, that was an operational cakewalk compared with the current need to re-examine most back-office functions to accommodate new sales and fulfillment methods and rewrite the marketing playbook. So there’s plenty of new ground to cover in an annual report.

As usual, we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Simon Ellis and the team at IDC Manufacturing Insights, who’ve been helping us with this report for the last eight years and who again this time took on the lion’s share of editorial work. We greatly appreciate their willingness to help us provide the industry with a concise, cogent view of the consumer goods landscape. Their contributions — not to mention their research — are invaluable to this report.

We’d also like to thank the technology and services vendors who stepped forward to sponsor this year’s report, thereby illustrating their commitment to helping the industry move forward through best-practice learning and thought leadership. Their support is vital as well.

Of course, not everything in this report represents new thinking. If you read that inaugural Sales & Marketing Report 2005, you may or may not be surprised to see that an important topic back then was the need to find more effective methods of measuring the impact of sales and marketing activity. Despite all the technological advancements that have taken place in the last 12 years, that’s still a key issue.

Then again, maybe the industry’s standards have improved. Maybe the benchmarks for effective measurement that consumer goods companies were aiming for back then have already been surpassed — and were replaced by even more ambitious goals for accurate, actionable metrics. (That theory was discussed in the Retail and Consumer Goods Analytics Study we published in May, by the way.)

Either way, what’s most important is that the industry continues moving forward toward more effective, more measurable sales and marketing strategies that can drive engagement and influence behavior with those increasingly empowered consumers.

We’re confident that this is exactly what’s happening.

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To read the rest of the report, click on the links below:

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