“What if you could quantify the world’s consumer behavior,” asks a company video, “and use it to make different and better decisions than you ever have before?” This is the question that has been asked over the past decade by a company called DemandTec, a manufacturer of retail analytics software for analyzing economic and behavioral trends around consumer purchasing decisions.
The idea is to change the conventional way manufacturers engineer their product lifecycles: first by developing it, then by marketing it upon completion. Those cycles have historically been separate; DemandTec’s idea is to merge them, to make businesses make strategic merchandising decisions (e.g., “How about marking that tablet down to a hundred bucks?”) rather than marketing corrections (e.g., “What if we changed that tablet’s promotional slogan?”). It sounds like an idea IBM could wrap its head around. Today, that’s exactly what IBM did.