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With so many elements of the consumer packaged goods field deeply tied to the quickly changing preferences of consumers, it's no surprise big data and predictive analytics can provide major advantages to the industry. Working with the right partner to select the most effective IBM software and implement it in an efficient manner can mean a world of new insight is suddenly available for a wide range of businesses in this market. It's important that companies moving to or already utilizing these software solutions recognize the many ways big data and analytics can help, and don't get too caught up in just a few of the potential advantages.

"The increased availability of many different dimensions of data is a major industry shift."

Many different applications of big data provide a holistic benefit to CPG organizations
One major shift realized in the industry in recent years is the increased availability of many different dimensions of data, frequently including information that was difficult or impossible to obtain in the past. Social media has significantly lowered the barriers to collecting customer insight and, as IBM Big Data and Analytics Hub writer Barbara Thau pointed out, plenty of unstructured data flows from the digital footprints of consumers in areas beyond social media. Organizing, cleansing and standardizing this data is an important consideration, as is understanding all the different ways in which it can be applied to product development, marketing, promotions, distribution and many other elements of operation.

One example of a major CPG manufacturer thinking outside the box with help from big data is Unilever, according to Thau. Armed with relevant data about potential customers, market reach and other considerations, the company decided to avoid traditional marketing demographics with a new hair-care product assortment. Instead, the business focused on different hair types and the specific needs that come along with them in its promotional efforts. In a separate IBM Hub article, author Randall Howard considered the more general example of effective promotions. With only a minority of CPG promotions proving effective, big data has the power to fill the gaps, highlight potential issues and steer businesses toward more positive results.

With so many different areas of operation ready to be changed by the use of big data, it's critical that CPG businesses work with the right partner to implement the best possible solution and have access to ongoing support. Aviana's work in the CPG industry offers a wealth of experience and proven results for companies that want to initiate or improve efforts to utilize big data and analytics.