In the era of in-store and account-specific promotions, tracking competitors' numerous local market activities ranks among the great challenges facing brand marketers. On the face of things, moves toward leaner field organizations would seem to exacerbate this problem. With fewer salespeople visiting stores than ever, the odds of even detecting a competitor's shelf promotion drop off sharply. In the past 18 months, third-party merchandising firms have stepped up to fill this information ...

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