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Technology paves the way for greater market research, analytics reliance

OCTOBER 5, 2011 – Analytics and technology-enabled market research stands to become even more important to marketers, Direct Marketing News reports.

A panel of CMOs at the Advertising Week event on October 3 said that the technological developments – through analysis and connections with customers – would have a growing influence on companies’ missions and how top marketing professionals are expected to perform.

“New technology is allowing us to leapfrog and accelerate: All the things we dreamed about are now possible,” Beth Comstock, General Electric’s CMO, said during the panel, as quoted by the news source. “If you’re a marketer who doesn’t like data and insights, you’re not going to have a very long tenure.”

She said a start-up community that GE founded, called Ecomagination, was bringing together innovators from very different backgrounds, an achievement she said would not have been possible without “the power of the community.”

But marketers are not the only ones whose perception has been refined by technology, the source reports. Consumers are also changing their expectations, of how companies communicate with them and how they design advertising campaigns and mobile applications and handle customer service.

Another CMO, Rob Price of CVS Caremark Corporation, said that in the past, businesses only had data from Nielsen on one side and “tens of billions of transactions” on the other. But they were unable to gain insight into factors such as ethnicity, eye-tracking, user-acceptance testing and a myriad of other factors, Direct Marketing News recounts.

Marketing Magazine reports that brands are using technology not only to improve their market research practices, but also to improve the marketing campaigns themselves. According to the source, PepsiCo has created a competition for advertising firms in order to encourage more marketing innovation – such as designing an application that connects consumers and offers rewards for those who run their own promotional stunts. Another program lets shoppers put items from brands’ websites or Facebook pages in their online shopping baskets.

“We are seeing a creative renaissance driven by digital, which is creating a new canvas for brands to communicate through,” Bonin Bough, the global director of digital and social media at Pepsi, told the news source. He said that the 9 billion packaging items the company offers will eventually all be online, adding that “The question is how we build platforms to enable us to transform our marketing department to meet this challenge.”