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MRS 2008: Consumers under the scanner of the market research lens

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MRS 2008: Consumers under the scanner of the market research lens

The Market Research Society of India (MRSI) conducted its 18th annual Market Research Seminar in Mumbai on September 25. Designed as a two-day event, day one saw serious deliberations on various research papers from organisations such as IMRB on subjects like new opportunities, connecting with the consumers and making relevant offers.

Identifying New Opportunities

The first session of the day was on ‘Identifying New Opportunities’, which was further broken up in three sub-sets – QualT – Breaking the Boundaries – Ideation for New Product Development; Getting to Mr Right @ Right Place: Actionable Segmentation Solutions to aid in Micro-Marketing; and Interactivity Pixel: A new lens for Segmentation.

The speakers included Dixit Channa, Insights Director, IMRB International, and Madhubanti Niyogi, Insights Director, IMRB International. The duo brought under scrutiny the traditional approach on development of new product ideas in Qualitative Research. The approach of this paper was to bring in an element of quantitative in the qualitative module for stronger directional cues to the clients.

Both Channa and Niyogi felt, “The challenge is not to give a laundry list, but generate few actionable features that would enable them to establish their USP. And as a start, we critically looked at our approach and identified three key challenges that had to be overcome to bring more value to our clients.”

The paper on ‘Getting to Mr Right @ Right Place: Actionable Segmentation Solutions to aid in Micro-Marketing’ was authored by NS Muthukumaran, Director, Technical Training and Measurement Sciences, The Nielsen Company, and Dr Gayathri Sawahar, Ph.D in Organisational Behaviour. Both felt that segmentation helped marketers to group consumers on the basis of their homogeneity and evolve strategies specifically to target the chosen segments.

The other speakers in the session were Sharmila Das, VP, IMRB International; Surekha Poddar, VP-Market Research and Consumer Insights, Bharti Airtel Ltd; Shubhabrata Roy; Insights Director, IMRB International; and Anshuman Ray, Insights Director, IMRB International. In a discussion on Interactivity Pixel, the key objective of the Pixel Segmentation was to understand which clusters were most critical for a particular category and which were the lifestages and occupations that formed these clusters. In other words, the Pixel model aims to define clusters, allow possible revenue contributors and understand their needs through thorough understanding of need-states based on both lifestage and occupation. The panel believed that this would help gain customer insights for better campaign management, predict user behaviour and evaluate customer lifetime value.

Connecting with the consumer

The next session of the day focussed on consumers. After toying with numerous ideas in the past, brands today have become clear on ways to forge an innate bond with the consumer. For them, the consumer is the ultimate and only one that can give their brand an impetus, or even downright reject them.

Nilakshi Sengupta, Associate Director, Synovate Brand & Communication Practice, began the session by bringing to the fore old and new measures of communication testing as she spoke on the topic ‘Taking Communication Testing to a new level’. Advocating the need for a new system, Sengupta said, “Our industry has been under the tyranny of numbers for some while now. What’s the point of numbers going up or down when nothing changes in the real world? It’s time we looked at more advanced and favourable options of communication testing.”

Taking the audience through the prevalent methods, Sengupta said that purchase intention long formed the basis of communications testing. Yet longitudinal analysis of real consumer behaviour shows that there is little connection between what people say they will do and what they actually do. One, therefore, had to question its value as a measure of advertising effectiveness, she added.

Suggesting a robust method, Sengupta took the audience through the Attitudinal Equity method, considered to be a new dependent variable. Explaining the term and the methodology, she said, “Attitudinal Equity is defined as a measure of the extent to which a person wants a brand, or the psychological desire of an individual for a brand. In a perfect world, it is a measure of the likelihood that someone will buy the brand or their attitudinal purchase propensity. Respondents rate each brand in their relevant set on a 10-point brand performance scale. The relevant set is determined by each respondent and is established by brands that the respondent uses or considers.”

Cutting edge research in Cinema: The innovation challenge

Sharing the experiences that brands face with cinema houses and with consumers who walk in to watch a movie, Tushar Dhingra, COO, Adlabs Cinemas, began by citing what the world of media was getting into. Speaking on the topic ‘Cinema – A consumer connect platform’, Dhingra said that Indian media scenario was changing very fast with there being more than 440 TV channels today, 25,000-plus publications, 125-plus radio stations, and more. However, Dhingra was quick to caution on the reverse trend that was being observed, where viewers were spending less time on TV and reading newspapers and that media was approaching a situation where they were aggressively competing against each other to gain a formidable share of the media market. “This is resulting in fragmentation of traditional media and is forcing marketers to look beyond,” he said.

Citing the stance of marketers, Dhingra said that marketers today were looking for media that provided involvement and experience, and not just exposure. “When it comes to cinema, marketers see a potential as it offers captive audiences, unlike the other mass media, cinema is a high involvement medium, it gives an opportunity to offer a complete consumer experience and connect platform, and also offers options to do innovative advertising and brand promotion activities – both on screen and outside,” shared Dhingra.

As for advertisers, Dhingra said, “They don’t have information on the profile of the people visiting in terms of demographics, psychographics, product and brand usage and lifestyle; efficiency in terms of reach and frequency of the overall theatre and the advertising properties within the theatre; efficacy of theatre medium in terms of the ad recall, because of which the buying space is largely done by gut feel, resulting in no inputs on ROI being achieved.” According to him, it was important to create a connect platform that could act as an integrated tool for marketers and advertisers to evaluate cinema as a consumer connect platform and not just as a brand communication exposure vehicle.

Dhingra recommended the RFID case-study that was adopted by Adlabs, which helped by providing an efficiency measure for the medium by giving reach and frequency for the theatre as a whole and also each advertising property within the theatre. The study was also beneficial as it managed to give hot and cold spots for advertising within the theatre for advertising and provided an efficacy measure by linking the R&F to the ad recall of the brands advertised.

"The advantages of RFID technology is that it is non-intrusive and automatic in nature, it captures the consumer connect points inside the cinema without any probing, has better response rates with no manual error, is precise to the point that it captures actual movement of people and provides an unbiased effectiveness of the connect points, and that the data can be gathered for each advertising property separately," Dhingra added.


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