No readership data from IRS for more than one and a half years now is a concern for the print industry. Publishers as well as marketers are anxious to get fresh figures. Marketers, especially await latest results to plan their ad spends and overall marketing strategy.
Sharing his point of view on the absence of IRS data, Axis Bank Marketing Head, Sagnik Ghosh said, “It is not a good thing that’s all I can say. We are relying on Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), we are relying on other sources and past experiences.”
Gaurav Suri, Head Marketing, UTI Asset Management said, “In general in our category, it’s only in the last 5-6 months the market has moved up. Fortunes are directly linked with market. When the market moves up, then it’s the right time to go back to the customers. As a marketer I think when you are using a certain standard or a tool it helps you to plan and measure the efficacy of the outcome.”
We had earlier explored whether the whole survey methodology needs to be rethought. Whether Hansa or Nielsen, publishers find the basic IRS methodology is wrong )
While publishers feel the basic methodology is wrong, marketers need some data on which they can bet their money.
HTC’s Senior Director of Marketing, India & South Asia, Manu Seth said, “The way we are planning is we are working more collectively and in sync with media planners and largely we are seeing trends in what is working for us and what is not. Yes there has been long gap in IRS data.”
He added by saying, “There are certain things which we have done in the past and have really helped us as a brand. We would really love to follow that as a best practice.”
Y S Guleria, VP- Sales & Marketing, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India said as a reference people do consider IRS data but also pointed out, “It has to be time-specific, region-specific and target audience specific. Sometimes the data may not be referred to but obviously it is considered as one of the guiding factors while you are doing the media buying. I think it is definitely considered by all the people in marketing.”
HDFC Life’s Senior Executive VP (Marketing, Product, Digital & Direct Channels), Sanjay Tripathi said, “Measurement system is always good to target your offerings and ensure which is your market. You need to really look at the trend part of it rather than the score part of it. I think the problem started when people started looking at the score to position their value rather than looking at trends. IRS collects lot of consumer data which will be very immensely fruitful for marketers.”
Do marketers really need IRS?
Marketers still believe they need a measurement currency, though all the leading marketers are advertising on their own in the absence of IRS data.
“IRS gives a lot more information than just readership. There is definitely a need for that kind of robust data and there is need for large scale survey that is accurate,” said Sagnik Ghosh.
Manu Seth added, “At some point of time you still need someone to articulate the numbers, call it IRS, BARC or TAM, but just to prove some authenticity to some numbers there should be somebody at least.”
Guleria pointed out it gives marketers guidance. He said “Yes we need it and people may refer to the old IRS, as it always gives you some base. Market is so dynamic with the new generation evolving in their reading habits. There are trends you need to keep a tab on.”
Sanjay Tripathi said, “To ask whether we need IRS is like asking ‘do I need research? I know everything.’ Research always helps you to be aware of that little extra to target your offerings much better. Without research it will always be a past based experience which might be dated.”