New Roland Berger study: German consumer goods industry is still failing to exploit the potential of all the new technologies

New Roland Berger study: German consumer goods industry is still failing to exploit the potential of all the new technologies

  • New Roland Berger study: Potential of digitization lying untapped in marketing and sales organizations
  • Fully 83 percent of survey participants consider rival firms’ strategies superior to their own
  • 54 percent of respondent companies think their sales team will not meet its targets this year
  • Five key tactics for a successful marketing and sales strategy in the era of digital transformation

MUNICH, 15-Jun-2017 — /EuropaWire/ — In this era of increasing digitization, the German consumer goods industry is still failing to exploit the potential of all the new technologies out there. In many companies, there is a yawning chasm between where marketing and sales departments aspire to be performance-wise and the results they are actually achieving in practice. This is one of the key findings of the latest Roland Berger study, Catch the waves in consumer goods, which canvassed the views of some 100 decision-makers in the marketing and sales functions of German companies.

Notwithstanding all of the opportunities for innovation that digital technologies offer, fully 83 percent of the companies polled do not believe that their marketing and sales strategies are good enough to beat their direct competitors. A dramatic finding for the consumer goods industry: “The sector is being massively disrupted by digitization and the growing consolidation in retail,” explains Tobias Göbbel, Partner at Roland Berger. “So it is all the more important to grasp the opportunities now and make both marketing and sales more customer-centric. In the coming years, the future of many firms will undoubtedly rest on these two functions.”

Unclear responsibilities impact negatively on performance

Looking at the companies against a proprietary performance index, the Roland Berger experts identified particular shortcomings in the four areas of organization, strategy, digitization and performance. The first significant point they noticed is a lack of clarity on who is responsible for what within the organization: “Half of all firms have not defined clear competencies within their marketing and sales functions,” noted Göbbel.

Particular weaknesses are evident in the collection and usage of customer data: Just 16 percent of decision-makers in marketing and 8 percent of decision-makers in sales claimed responsibility for developing and monetizing data-driven business models. “That is worrying, given that we are in the era of digital business models,” says Göbbel. “If companies can’t get hold of sufficient customer data or aren’t in a position to analyze such data systematically and derive strategies out of it, their chances of success in today’s market are zero.”

Little faith in their own strategy

No wonder, then, that the study went on to reveal major shortcomings on the strategy side. Less than half of all marketing and sales decision-makers are satisfied with their own strategy. And, dramatically, even fewer are happy with it in comparison with rival firms: fully 83 percent of survey respondents think that their competitors have better marketing and sales strategies than they do.

Budget performance is a related aspect: One quarter of all firms are unable to measure the return on investment for their sales and marketing activities. Not only that, some 70 percent of respondents believe that their marketing and sales budgets have much less of an impact than those of their direct competitors.

The consumer goods industry is in need of transformation

Marketing and sales organizations in the consumer goods industry need to be equipped with the necessary resources and skills to cope with their new tasks. In many cases this is still sorely lacking: One-third of the consumer goods companies in the survey say that their marketing and sales organizations need to be reorganized in the coming years to make them fit for the future and more customer-centric.

The gap between the type of staff companies currently have working for them and the qualification profiles of the employees they actually require presents a major challenge, too. There is a lack of qualified personnel to work on automating marketing and sales processes and on big data in particular. “Less than one in ten consumer goods manufacturers have a Chief Digital Officer or anyone with dedicated responsibility for developing digital business models,” says Roland Berger Partner Göbbel in summary. “And yet digitization offers consumer goods companies enormous opportunities to get closer to their customers and glean important information to help them produce the right innovations and strategies.”

SOURCE: Roland Berger GmbH

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