Top Trends in Sales and Marketing Consulting

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Sales and Marketing Top Trends: Top Consulting Firms

A desire for better customer experience and digital transformation, the talent gap hindering operations, agile marketing are some of the top trends surrounding sales and marketing consultancies.

The Trend — Customer Experience and Digital Transformation

  • Augie Ray, the vice president analyst at Gartner, argues that “CXM is the next category in the brand evolution. Whereas 20 years ago much of brand strategy was focused on positioning and communication strategy, today we use the tools and processes of CXM to understand how experiences—what our brand does and not just what it says—help to craft the brand perception in the mind of the customer.”

The Scenario

  • A global survey of roughly 13,000 marketing, advertising, e-commerce, creative, and IT professionals unveiled that 64% consider Customer Experience (CX) and digital transformation a priority. Furthermore, 55% of marketers prioritize audience segmentation and targeting.
  • Enterprises that distinguish themselves as advanced at CX are nearly three times more likely to have surpassed their top 2018 business goals by a significant margin.
  • According to John Zealley, senior managing director at Accenture, the reason behind the CX’s growing popularity is the new tools companies have nowadays to “fundamentally change their relationship and engagement with the consumer.”
  • A successful CX strategy requires analysis of data to produce insights into the consumer journey. Companies that want to implement exceptionally transformative CX need customer data that is “real-time, intelligent, and predictive.” That makes choosing the proper marketing technology vital for successful CX execution.
  • Two-thirds of Global 2,000 companies are shifting their focus from traditional, offline strategies to digital strategies aspiring to improve customer experience, while 34% believe they’ll fully adopt digital transformation by 2020.
  • Digital transformation is yet to reach maturity. As reported by McKinsey, only 26% of worldwide sales were made through digital channels; 31% of operations volume was digitally automated; and 25% of interactions in supply chains are digitized.
  • McKinsey's research also suggests that customer experience is one area where corporations are failing, concerning their digital transformation, mostly due to a lack of effective management.

The Impact

  • Deloitte’s CMO Survey showed that CRM is the place where companies are investing their marketing budget, beating brand spending, new service introduction, and new product introduction. Developing the necessary capabilities inside the organization to design, deliver and monitor the customer experience was the most common challenge.
  • With CX and digital transformation becoming priorities, the collaborative CMO is gaining more space, as 96% agree that their organization meets its customers’ expectations compared to 77% of traditional marketers.
  • Successful, customer-centric, collaborative CMOs are more inclined than traditional marketers to collaborate with consulting firms; in fact, 91% see external/third-party partners as a critical part of their customer experience strategy.
  • When it comes to digital transformation, The Big Four - Deloitte, Ernst & Young (EY), KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) — emerged as challengers to other services providers, such as IBM.
  • They are not only capturing a significant share of the digital transformation marketplace but also the consequent managing services market arising from the digital transformation.
  • As natural orchestrators of other services and technologies due to their substantial footprint, they are in a position to relegate their competitors to a less-influential role.

The Players

The Trend — Talent Gap

  • As previously reported, data-driven decisions are known to result in better productivity and profit rates. Advancements in AI, machine learning, and data analytics are transforming how brands and consumers interact, yet many companies don’t have the technical expertise to stay competitive.

The Scenario

  • Marketing analytics spending continues to grow slowly but expected to increase by 61% in three years. Companies use marketing analytics in decision-making 39.3% of the time, on average, representing a 29.3% increase since 2013.
  • In a recent survey of 1,200 global firms, more than half acknowledged that a shortage of digital talent is affecting their business. Marketing departments are particularly struggling to fill digital roles.
  • The average marketing professional’s ability to leverage digital marketing stands at 38%, as reported by the Digital Marketing Institute. Moreover, only 8% of marketers today have digital skills adequate for an entry-level position.
  • The talent shortage is a global problem affecting multiple industries. Research conducted in the UK discovered that 32% of senior marketers said their teams lacked the skills to deliver proper brand work, while 54% said talent was in short supply.
  • The CIO Survey conducted by Deloitte showed that 64% of participants are looking for talent with expertise in analytics, data science and business intelligence. The professionals considered it as the most challenging skill to recruit.
  • Accenture claims that current education and corporate learning systems are not planned to address the demand. The company predicts that the USA could lose up to $975 billion in the next years if it doesn’t meet future skills demand.

The Impact

  • Companies are looking for talent that is creative, has cognitive flexibility and emotional intelligence. The talent gap opened space for consultancy agencies, as 58% of CIOs reported leveraging talent from external partners and service providers.

The Players

  • Adobe and Accenture are working with multiple institutions to provide better education.

The Trend — Agile Marketing

  • According to Deloitte, “agility is both a framework and a mindset. When an organisation can structure internal operations in a manner that empowers rapid content production and real time interaction to drive engagement in moments that matter.”
  • Agile marketing means improving the cross-functionality and proximity of teams, restructuring marketing teams to function like newsroom operations.

The Scenario

  • Companies need adaptive models that enable them to follow the speed of culture, conversation and digitization. For that, they should build "if/then of campaigns", meaning batches of marketing content ready to be rolled out in 48 to 72-hour windows if trends or live events change courses. They should also act quickly and support real-time customer engagement.
  • Brands are distinguishing themselves from the herd by being more “purposeful and hyper-focused,” which requires a different way of working for their marketing teams. Marketing functions should be restructured, leverage the power of real-time data obtained through digital platforms, and quickly gain insights to design "more personalized, human experiences in an agile manner."
  • Agile marketing pushes companies to move beyond content creation by offering an organizational model for businesses to swiftly design, create and launch campaigns. An agile model can enable companies to verify assumptions based on customer interactions and timely insights.

The Impact

  • A 2019 survey revealed that 50% of marketing officers in traditional organizations are looking to embrace more agile ways of working, and 32% are already on the journey.
  • The Agile approach challenges marketers to shift from conventional content to "new, tech-enabled, moment-centric ones." Large consultancy agencies are prepared to deal with those needs, as they began to experiment in their own marketing departments.

The Players

Research Strategy

To determine the top trends, the research team leveraged information from news articles, industry reports, and executive surveys. We also examined the largest consultancies in the world to see what they offered, where they shine and struggle.
Initially, we were skeptical about the inclusion of customer experience and digital transformation as a trend, given it is not a new topic. However, after careful examination, both topics are a priority and a pain point for most companies. Considering the multiple efforts companies are employing in these areas and the rise of consultancy agencies as challengers, we felt confident it was a worthy inclusion.

Regarding the talent gap trend, during our research about other trends, it was a current topic of discussion related to all technological advances. Further examination showed that it is a trend that companies and agencies are focusing on, which is why it was included. Talent is also one of Deloitte's top marketing trends for 2020, as well as Agile.
Since data-driven marketing was previously reported, we excluded Big Data from the research. The same is valid for Artificial Intelligence and its ramifications.
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Sales and Marketing Top Trends: Consumer Product Goods Industry

Although no information on top trends surrounding sales and marketing consulting, especially for the consumer product goods industry were found, some key trends currently defining the CPG space were found. They include the growing importance of e-category management, coordination of pricing and promotions across channels, and market mix modeling driving a higher share of the digital media spend. Research showed that every CPG sales and marketing consulting company has different ways to consult its CPG clients to boost their sales and marketing, hence, no trend in this space was found. Detailed information is below.

What CPG Consulting Companies are Doing in the Space

Bain & Company


  • Deloitte’s Consumer Products team consults clients on strengthening analytics, improving internal operations, and developing new market-facing capabilities.
  • With experience across a wide range of sectors, Delloitte positions the clients to lead in the face of change.
  • Deloitte also consults CPGs on generating new products and service offerings, designing and building new experiences, and helping run and optimize them for continued growth and future possibilities.


  • Accenture consumer goods industry helps businesses digitize, transform, and reach the always-connected consumer.
  • From enabling front office transformation to building an intelligent enterprise underpinned by technology and analytics, the Accenture consumer goods industry helps businesses innovate and transform.

OC&C Strategy Consultants

Some Key Trends Currently Defining the CPG Space

The Growing Importance of E-category Management

Coordinating Pricing and Promotions Across Channels

Market Mix Modeling Driving Higher Share of Digital Media Spend

  • Digital marketing including mobility now accounts for 22% of global advertisement spend and could grow to as much as 27% by 2017, according to eMarketer2.
  • Digital is slated to overtake the TV advertisement spend in the coming years.
  • CPG companies have been able to analyze this trend using marketing mix models and are reallocating budgets towards digital.

Research Strategy:

To find some top trends surrounding sales and marketing consulting, especially for the consumer product goods industry, we started our research by looking for listings in industry publications and articles with pre-compiled information as we thought that industry publications usually cover the current or future trends. However, upon checking the data from sources such as Spring Global, Pack World, Business2Community, WNS, Tinuiti, and eMarketer, the information we found was on general trends covering sales and marketing within the CPG industry. These, however, did not have anything on consultation.

Our second strategy was to search for relevant information from CPG consulting companies like Bain, Mckinsey Deloitte, and Accenture to find out if these companies had published any specific information on how they are consulting CPG firms for sales and marketing. The idea here was to find 3-4 points in common and define those as trends since they had been reviewed by these consulting giants. However, upon checking the above mentioned consulting firms and many more, we found information on how these firms are working with and consulting CPG companies for sales and marketing, but there was no commonality here. Each checked consulting firm had its solutions highlighted along with how they work with their clients.

Our third strategy was to find relevant information from interviews done with experts and c-level executives within the CPG industry on the trends active in the sales and marketing consulting industry. Here, we were looking for any information that could be presented as trends. For example, if an interview had a statement from a CPG industry c-level executive that most of the companies were now cost-cutting on the internal sales and marketing team and investing in outsourcing it to consulting firms, then that could be presented as a trend. We looked for many such points in similar lines to the above-stated example. We came across interviews in sources like Gocatalant, PSFK, Forbes, and BCG but these interviews were on how CPG companies are winning with E-commerce giants, or experts talking about unlocking growth in CPG with artificial intelligence and advanced analytics, among others. The strategy was unsuccessful as we found no relevant interviews and information.

What Information is Not Available and Why?

Information on top trends surrounding sales and marketing consulting, especially for the consumer product goods industry, is not available. Every CPG sales and marketing consulting company likely has different ways to consult their CPG clients in order to boost their sales and marketing. Hence, we found no trend in this space to report.

From Part 01