CMO Council Research Finds 80-20 Rule Obsolete: Today's Consumer Products Market is Anything But Mass

Shoppergraphic Data Highlights Need to Identify and Engage

December 17, 2008 (Palo Alto, CA) – Leveraging Shoppergraphic data powered by the Pointer Media Network, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council today released the findings of a major consumer brand purchasing study that debunks the traditional measure that 80 percent of sales can be attributed to 20 percent of consumers. The findings of the Discovering the Pivotal Point Consumer instead reveal that 80 percent of sales are actually attributed to only 2.5 percent of shoppers.

The study tracked the purchasing behavior of nearly 54 million American shoppers over a 12-month period. It found that in an era of increased brand proliferation and specialization, CPG marketers must improve strategies and tactics to better engage with “Pivotal Point Consumers,” representing today’s influential volume buyer base, in a precise, personal and relevant manner.

Among more than 1,300 individual product brands analyzed, including all top selling products in their categories, only 25 relied on more than 10 percent of shoppers to drive 80 percent of sales. Additionally, research indicates that increased brand fragmentation, including line extensions from existing flagship brand names, has helped reduce customer concentrations rather than bolster brand affinity.

“These findings surprise even the most seasoned CPG executives,” said Todd Morris, senior vice president of Catalina Marketing, the engine behind the Pointer Media Network. “This is a new consumer truth that has been hidden until now by marketers’ lack of access to census level consumer data.”

“The study has important implications for the way CPG manufacturers and retailers market their products and interact with their most valuable buyers,” Morris continued. “As consumer concentrations decline, marketers will need to become more targeted and precise in how they engage with consumers.”

Increased brand fragmentation is helping to reduce consumer concentrations for individual brands, according to the report. CPG manufacturers and retailers have responded to consumer demand for greater choice and personalization with an unprecedented array of targeted products and brands. The number of new CPG products reaching the market each year now surpasses 25,000, more than 10 times the rate of 1980.

“The good news is that CPG manufacturers do not necessarily need to win over a huge consumer base to launch successful new products, but they do need to engage the right shoppers,” said Dave Murray, an executive vice president and program director with the CMO Council. “These findings should lead many marketers to question the efficiency of large-scale mass media campaigns to support new or established brands that rely on very select groups of consumers within this Pivotal Point Consumer base for their success.”

The study, which is unprecedented due to the large number of consumers analyzed, utilized the world’s largest database of in-store consumer shopping behavior for its analysis. Among the brands highlighted in the report are Tide, Minute Maid, Tropicana, Clorox, Iams and many more major consumer brands. The Pointer Media database, powered by Catalina Marketing, amasses a multi-year shopping history of an estimated 76 percent of American households. For more information about Pointer Media or to access a complete database of all CPG brands analyzed in the study, visit or call (800) 290-8450.

About Pointer Media Network
Pointer Media Network powered by Catalina Marketing (, a new service of Catalina Marketing, powers one of the largest and most advanced addressable media networks in the world. Pointer Media enables media buyers, advertisers, brand managers and marketers to leverage the network’s sophisticated database of 250 million weekly shopping transactions representing buying behavior of nearly 80 percent of American households. This new medium provides an extensive infrastructure of 23,000 retail outlets, 25-years of analytical expertise and an average 80 percent readership rate among target audiences.

About the CMO Council
The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council is dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a wide-range of global industries. The CMO Council's 3,500 members control more than $100 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide. In total, the CMO Council and it's strategic interest communities include over 6,000 global executives across 57 countries in multiple industries, segments and markets. Regional chapters and advisory boards are active in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. The Council's strategic interest groups include the Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness (CLOSE), Brand Management Institute, and the Forum to Advance the Mobile Experience (FAME). More information on the CMO Council is available at


Media contact:
Ann Newland
CMO Council