What marketing decisions are most critical for your organization? Are these priorities predictable or do they fluctuate with day-to-day changes in your market? Do you have the right data, tools and support systems at hand to make the best decisions on an ongoing basis? Is your organization wired to optimally deploy these tools to enable different organizational silos with access to a common view of your demand environment?
Unique challenges require customized solutions
Increasingly, sales & marketing decision makers find themselves in need of highly customized solutions to the problems that are specific to their organizations and their place in the value chain. Manufacturers of food and beverage products may primarily be concerned with making more productive trade spend decisions, while CPG producers might focus on shoring up brand equity for premium products facing competition from substitute offerings. Wholesalers may prioritize increasing the value of each transaction basket by inducing customers to purchase products from them that they currently purchase from competitors. And retailers might want to better understand how their promotional campaigns resonate with target customers and what they can do to earn a better return for each campaign dollar. Continue reading →
In large organizations pricing is everybody’s problem, but everybody looks at the problem in a different way. Salespeople earn a livelihood by offering their customers prices that result in completed sales. Account managers have to keep track of tens of thousands of price rules governing products, brands and customers. Bean counters in the finance department are concerned about the relationship between prices and costs. C-suite executives are motivated by how price contributes to the market share, revenue growth and profitability numbers they have to report to their shareholders every quarter. And somewhere in the organization somebody is clamoring for a “just this once!” exception to some pricing policy in order to achieve an immediately pressing milestone.
These are all valid concerns. The problem is that the decision makers are sitting in different parts of the organization, their objectives are often in conflict with each other (or at the very least require trade-offs and compromises), and they are not armed with sufficient information to understand the broader impact of each price decision on firmwide performance. Continue reading →
Veteran marketing managers can tell war stories of battles fought to secure marketing budgets – the pitches and cajoling to focus C-suite attention on the strategic and the tactical importance of effective marketing campaigns. Getting something close to the budget you want may be just cause for heaving a big sigh of relief, but these days few marketing managers will be found clinking glasses of Veuve Clicquot in celebration. Once the budget is in hand the real work begins. The economic downturn has put constraints on the total number of dollars you have to spread among competing projects, but it has done nothing to constrain the nearly limitless ways those dollars can be allocated. “Do more with less” is the mantra of the day. To make those scarcer dollars go further means relying on more than traditional finger-in-the-wind gut instincts to tell you what campaigns will work and what campaigns won’t work. Campaign marketing – the art of pulling together targeted messages for specific geographic markets, consumer segments and product types – is in need of a healthy dose of scientific rigor. Continue reading →
Solving the micromarketing challenges of the Information Age
We live in the Age of Information, so we are told. Never before has so much raw data existed bearing testament to every pulsebeat of human commerce, every touchpoint between a customer and a good or service. The problem for decision-makers, according to the conventional wisdom, is Information Overload – volumes more data to analyze than the human brain can easily digest. But it is not that simple – there are deeper challenges below the surface.
Information is not always where you need it
While the conventional wisdom is right in the aggregate, the lush and dense information rainforest starts to turn remarkably arid and sparse as you drill down into the nuanced segments of your demand environment. At the micromarket level, infrequent transactional activity in the long tail of customers and SKUs yields little insight to inform decision making. Managers thus face challenges that go well beyond the simplistic construct of TMI (too much information). They need tools for managing the real information problems in their micromarkets. These tools need to address head-on the challenges posed by what we call the 4-Cs: Continue reading →