Building a Better Mousetrap

Twelve months ago the World Federation of Advertising - whose members collectively represent 700 billion dollars of advertising clout – offered a challenge: the Blueprint for Consumer Centric Holistic Measurement. Say what? Translated into realspeak, the WFA have called for a single source model with a single consumer-centric measurement tool which can be applied across all media. This holy grail goal represents acknowledgement of today’s reality that a single medium is seldom enough to reach consumers effectively.

Needless to say, research companies around the world have been quick to either (a) explain how their current offerings already fit the WFA blueprint; or (b) evolve their services accordingly and then make the claim.

In the first category, BigResearch, a market intelligence firm providing analysis of consumer behaviour in areas of retail, financial services, automotive, and media, has just unveiled the latest results from its Simultaneous Media Usage Survey(SIMM), which has been monitoring the multimedia behaviours of more than 15,000 consumers twice a year since 2001.

This particular release highlights the disparate sources which influence“advice givers” - i.e. those most likely to recommend products to others. According to the BigResearch data (and, for that matter, common sense), advice givers are likely to gather their information from different places depending on the product category.

“Word of mouth is the hot topic in marketing and promotion these days,” notedBigResearch. “The key to understanding and impacting the word of mouth process is to find out who the ‘advice givers’ are and target them before the purchase.

The survey revealed that “advice givers” don’t always formulate their counsel on personal experience alone. The influence of the media ecosystem — where consumers live, work or take their leisure — also plays a critical role in moulding their advice to others. Their most trusted media sources range from word of mouth to articles to the Internet. In a specific example, “advice givers” tended to be mostly influenced by word of mouth, reading an article on the product, and TV/broadcast advertisements when purchasing electronics. However, coupons, newspaper inserts and word-of-mouth were the most influential when purchasing groceries.

Which of the following media influenced their purchases for…?

1. Coupons
2. Newspaper Inserts
3. Word of mouth
4. In-store promotion
5. TV/Broadcast

1. Word of mouth
2. Read Article on product
3. TV/Broadcast
4. Newspaper Inserts
5. Internet Advertising.

Okay, the examples aren’t exactly surprising. But – harkening back to that wonderfully idealistic Blueprint for Consumer Centric Holistic Measurement (just trips off the tongue, don’t it?) - what’s important is not just identifying the likely mechanisms which influence the influencers. The real opportunity lies in being able to use a common research currency to quantify the exposures delivered by your usage of such multimedia – and track reach, frequency and other vital statistics across the combined platforms.

Maybe the Blueprint for Consumer Centric Holistic Measurement needs a snappier name - the X-prize for the first private space flight captured the popular imagination, even though a mere ten million dollars was at stake. With seven hundred billion smackeroos up for grabs, surely someone could come up with a decent brand …. ?

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