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Kirti Singh, chief analytics and insights officer, Procter & Gamble

When Kirti Singh, Procter & Gamble’s chief analytics and insights officer, talks about the company’s laser focus on consumers, he begins with D. Paul (“Doc”) Smelser.

“P&G developed the concept of market research in 1924,” Singh told delegates at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2018 Data and Measurement Conference. “It started with a simple question about consumer behavior: ‘What percentage of women used Ivory soap for face and hands versus dishwashing?’”

Doc Smelser, as he was known by his colleagues, was a PhD working in the Economic Research department when he asked the question.

No one had an answer. “So Mr. William Cooper Procter suggested Doc Smelser himself go and find out. And he did.