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Reporting In from VNU’s Consumer 360 Conference

With over 1000 brand and retail professionals in attendance, this conference clearly becomes one of the most important of the consumer-oriented symposiums. For the first time, VNU’s ACNielsen, BASES and Spectra companies combined their individual conferences and expertise to create Consumer 360: a unique and consumer-focused conference.

MNB will be reporting on the conference’s highlights after each of the two day’s sessions; however we were able to preview some of the general session presentations and talk to some of the VNU executives for a sneak peek at some of the insights that will be shared later this morning and throughout the first day.

Steve Schmidt, VNU Marketing Information’s president of The Americas, has lead the strategic shift for this Consumer 360 conference to meet VNU’s objective which is “to capture 100 percent of consumer consumption”. What does that mean? A 360 degree (hence the new conference title which replaces ACNielsen’s Category Masters and Spectra’s Spring Conference) view of the consumer…the prices paid, coupons redeemed, web surfing habits, book, video & music purchases, movie tickets sold, new product preferences, stores shopped, newspaper, magazine and radio favorites, television viewing, and opinions shared. Bottom line: getting the most insight into the consumer possible, and then being able to predict purchase behavior.

Schmidt says VNU’s global businesses comprise a unique network that can deliver just that; and in fact, is the only source that can achieve this objective to meet the needs of both retailers and brands. In his introductory remarks this morning, he will also detail why brands and retailers must move from historical to predictive insights in order to be competitive and successful and announce the ACNielsen Homescan Mega*Panel and detail its attributes and how this panel will transform consumer panel data.

Todd Hale, senior vice president, consumer insights of ACNielsen US, is giving Faith Popcorn’s ‘grazing’ idiom a new dimension. Hale is talking ‘channel grazing’ and in his presentation (based on analysis from the Homescan panel) will be explaining how the grocery channel, which by the way is the only channel with 100% penetration, can defend against the other channels which is stealing shoppers and their dollars from grocery. (Note: MNB readers will get a preview of the latest data of Household Penetration and Trips Per Year by Channel in Wednesday’s edition).

Hale also agreed to share one important consumer stat before the conference: that nearly one-third (31 percent) of households are what he terms “heavy grazers,” those that shop in 29 or more retailers or retail channels per year. Giving new meaning to the out-of-date formula: location, location, and location.

Today’s Consumer 360 will also include Joe Wilke, President of BASES and Peter Fader of the Wharton Business School who will discuss today’s Brand Drivers. Our own MNB correspondent and TODAY Show Food Trends Editor Phil Lempert will moderate a “live” consumer panel to help reinforce for all thousand plus attendees that this conference is all about the consumer: how they are changing and how we need to learn to listen in order to learn. Twenty-seven breakout sessions are scheduled and will include the new Hollywood success formula for brands and stores, the Changing Face of the Hispanic Consumer, Delivering Advanced Consumer Insights to Retail Partners, Building a Better Online Media Plan and James Russo’s U.S. Economic Drivers and Retail Industry Review to name just a few.

Tomorrow on MNB: Retail Industry Review, Global Consumer Marketplace, Out of the Mouths of Consumers, and How to Create A Partnership with the Entertainment Industry.
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