VNU Marketing Information Companies Expand Portfolio of Services

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- VNU Marketing Information yesterday unveiled new services at Consumer 360, the educational and networking event for the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. Consumer 360 is sponsored by ACNielsen U.S. and Spectra, both units of VNU and part of the VNU Marketing Information Group.

Following are highlights from the various VNU Marketing Information Group members that presented at yesterday's conference here:

--Target Track and Homescan African-American Consumer Panel expand their portfolios of ethnic market information capabilities and give the CPG industry new insights into fast-growing consumer segments.

Target Track, a joint offering of ACNielsen U.S. and Spectra, analyzes point-of-sale data from food, drug, and mass merchandise stores to quantify sales among Hispanic and African-American consumers, highlighting those categories and brands that skew toward each segment. In addition to performance tracking, the service also analyzes promotional effectiveness within each segment. Target Track offers reporting across the total United States, as well as within 20 census-based retailer trade areas, 13 African-American markets, and 11 Hispanic markets.

The ACNielsen Homescan African-American Consumer Panel provides integrated shopping and attitudinal insights into African-American consumers so that marketers can understand the unique product preferences of this fast-growing consumer group. The panel consists of a nationally representative sample of African-American households. Panelists record UPC purchases made at any retail outlet using patented in-home scanners, and then download the information to ACNielsen for analysis.

--Spectra launched Spectra OnDemand Solutions, a new suite of information services that will enable consumer products manufacturers to acquire, manage, and grow distribution at key retailers such as Wal-Mart. Specifically, the first service, Distribution Builder, is a set of customized, analysis-based, retailer-accepted consumer insights, which are designed to help manufacturers prove the value of their products to their retailers' business.

To do this, Spectra integrates retailer point-of-sale (POS) information, such as Wal-Mart's RetailLink information, with syndicated panel data sources and Spectra's proprietary consumer insights techniques, to bring the retailer's unique shopper profiles and the manufacturer's product profiles to life. Spectra uses this analysis to reveal store-specific shopper insights and opportunities, and to build a compelling retailer-specific distribution plan.

Distribution Builder is available for every type of CPG manufacturer. However, the analyses can be particularly helpful for smaller- to medium-sized manufacturers who need retailer-specific consumer information to help level the playing field with their larger counterparts.

--VNU MI's Continuous Business Intelligence Solution with IBM is a proprietary approach to data integration and harmonization that allows CPG companies to continually monitor the health of their businesses, optimize their marketing investments, and derive maximum value from their information, regardless of its source.

VNU is currently developing a full range of CBI solutions based on a client-needs assessment that was conducted jointly with IBM over the last 12 months. Leveraging IBM's leading-edge technology and services, and VNU's expertise in data management and coding, the CBI solutions will use any data required to provide clients with both demand- and supply-centric market evaluations and predictive modeling capabilities.

As part of their joint client-needs assessment, VNU and IBM met with leading CPG clients and validated several business imperatives: improved coverage, marketing ROI (continuous marketing mix and trade promotion optimization), new product launch success enhancement, optimized assortment (store and SKU level) and reliable, single-source brand health assessments.

CBI solutions will address these critical imperatives by cleansing, harmonizing, and integrating client-identified "must-have" data, and then turning that data into decision-ready insights delivered through issue-targeted "directional alerts," templates, ad hoc tools, forward-looking applications, and other intelligent agents that are generated or deployed immediately following the availability of individual and/or harmonized data sets.

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