Market Research Council Newsletter


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Monthly Presentations

Whether you attended or not, following is a recap of four meetings since October 2017.

February 16, 2018

RICHARD ZACKON, Principal, Audience Patterns &Facilitator, CRE
JIM SPAETH, Partner, Sequent Partners

“Where Will Innovation Come From Today?”
A Special Panel Discussion
Moderated by
BILL DADDI, President, Daddi Brand Communications

Bill started by asking each panellist to briefly describe the current state of marketing and advertising research innovation.

• Jim felt methods were “inadequate” to deal with rapid changes, and suggested we were in unchartered territory where it is hard to add value that will drive business.
• Howard said we were “unfocused”, with no grand vision of what needs to be fixed.
• Richard felt the industry was moving quickly, but that needs were “outpacing solutions”.
• Scott suggested that there is a lot of innovation but it is hard to absorb it all, e.g. we have a lot of location based data but not sure how good it is.
• Jane indicated that the challenge is to “align” business interests with research interests, e.g. how to use apps and new tools.

It was noted that many R&D budgets are smaller, and many organizations that traditionally spearheaded market research innovations have had difficulty gaining funding.

What is needed today?

• Richard noted that funding for projects at CRE (Center for Research Excellence) was drying up and suggested using diversity as one way to innovate. A second approach involved the “beginner’s mind” concept where one let’s go of old ideas such as “no…because” – and adapts the “yes, and” technique of improv.
• Jim reminded everyone that large companies such as JWT and GF used to have money to fund innovations, but today there is much less.
• Jane felt that if a project is to be funded, there has to be a business payoff or ROI, i.e. what will the results do? She added that suppliers always have created new methods and paid for it, but now might need to solicit funds from client.
• Scott said that advertisers at the ARF don’t see themselves as part of the media industry.
• Danni saw the lack of communication between buyers and sellers as a problem that results in fewer cases of industrywide collaboration.
• Howard indicated a measurement issue exists across media and that there is a need to “put all the pieces together” (e.g. Nielsen, ComScore) in order to better understand the impact on advertising and sales.
• On a related note, Jane thought third party vs. proprietary data created an obstacle to achieving this

Closing comments.

The panel discussed the need to
• “focus” industry on key issues
• move fast
• use newly available (granular) data such as from smart tvs
• technologies that include improved computer vision (to analyse facial expressions in store and elsewhere),
• smartphones and apps,
• utilize AI along with Big Data to get more informative analyses.

January 26th, 2018

“Five Keys to Advertising Effectiveness”
Speaker: EDWARD KIM Vice President, Strategy, Nielsen Catalina Solutions
Due to a scheduling conflict, the Yale Club forced us to move “up on the rooftop” to their newly renovated space (but for this meeting only!).

Ed, with occasional input from Leslie Woods, reported on the findings of over 500 studies conducted during 2016-2017 that sought to understand the sales contribution of five key drivers of effective advertising.

Ed Kim discussing advertising effectiveness

The report attempted to update the Project Apollo studies of 2006 a decade later. It also included results of a TV vs. digital study on the impact of reach. Findings that Ed presented generated one of the more animated and active discussions among the MRC audience.

So what were the 5 keys?

Well, probably no big surprises, but validation of the following:

1. CREATIVITY – This aspect of advertising continues to contribute the most to sales. TV ads tend to have higher quality creative compared to digital ones.
2. REACH – This factor is still influenced more by TV than by digital or other media such as print or mobile – for now! Overall, media is playing a larger role.
3. TARGETING – Advertisers are doing a much better job today than 10 years ago, in large part due to more sophisticated data analysis and targeted programming. But many campaigns still fall short of hitting their (on-buyer) targets.
4. RECENCY – Timing ads to be closer to a purchase within a cycle can boost sales, e.g. purchase of a major appliance is less frequent and has a longer sales cycle compared to weekly consumable products such as paper goods.
5. CONTEXT – This focused on the extent to which the messages were relevant to the consumer and to the product they might purchase.

December 15th, 2017


Executive Director and CEO, Media Rating Council

“Advancing Digital Ad Standards”

Before discussing 3MS (Making Measurement Make Sense), George briefly traced the history of the (“other”, and newer) MRC.

Some game shows in the late 1950’s were found to be rigged (e.g. $64,000 Question) with the intent of increasing their ratings. As a result, in 1960 Congress amended the Communications Act, and created the Broadcast Rating Council (which later became the Media Rating Council) to review and audit audience rating services.

Of note, MRC audits are conducted by independent CPA firms -- and George at one time had worked for a big one, namely Ernst & Young.

“Making Measurement Make Sense,” was created in 2011 by the ANA, the 4As and the IAB to make digital advertising better and to encourage brand advertising. George touched upon many of the challenges faced in the current digital world.

• The shift from an “ad impression served” model to one of “viewable impressions” -- a standard in which at least 50% of an ad is viewable to a consumer for at least one second.
• Measuring across different media.
• Viewability of an ad vs. content on a mobile device.
• Individual vs household
• Quality of data collected, e.g. are the associated demographics correct?
Due to the lack of transparency from large digital enterprises like FaceBook, Google, YouTube, twitter and Pinterest, etc. (aka, collectively, the “Walled Garden”), it is increasingly difficult to measure the impact of an ad to an audience.
• Once an ad is delivered, is it seen?
• And if so, for how long?
• And does the duration of exposure/viewing opportunity cause one to take an action (e.g. buy an item)?
• An MRC initiative to audit the large social firms is set to begin in Q4 of 2018.

George clearly explained the problems inherent in measuring digital ads, establishing fair industry standards and then auditing and accrediting those firms who obtain and report on those metrics.

November 17th, 2017

“The Search for Measurement's Holy Grail: Complete Consumer Purchase Behavior, Preferences, and Intent from a Super Panel of Millions”
Speaker: KEN CASSAR Vice President, Principal Analyst, Slice Intelligence

Having noted that several measurement methods have failed to produce a complete picture of consumer buying:

• POS (does not cover all categories)
• Traditional Market Research Panels (too small)
• Loyalty card data (only for retailer by retailer basis)
• Credit card data (merchant level, but not item specific)
• Clickstream data (only at top of the funnel)

Ken has been tapping into the robust data contained in electronic receipts with a panel that has grown to over 5 million. Data is being passively collected that can address the who, what, when, where and how much ($) of purchasing.

Some challenges still need to be overcome, namely:

• The inability to determine the use of coupons or gift cards.
• The fact that multiple members of a household might use the same credit card, and in some instances, may place orders via Amazon Echo or “dash” buttons. This muddies the water in terms of exactly who placed an order.
• The issue of returns, which in some cases is a considerable percent of sales.

Ken noted that there are over 50 different receipt formats captured for over 500 merchants (who he claimed accounted for 95% of all online sales). With all of this data, human intervention is still required to make sense of it.

He went on to discuss a few case studies – one was for dog food, a second for Wall Street (measuring orders for Stitch Fix), and the third for dash buttons. Analyses revealed the impact of gender, age, and income on such variables as frequency of purchase and loyalty.


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