Archive for July, 2009
Wow! I thought Nielsen’s TV Diaries were pretty old fashioned and incredibly inaccurate. A fellow research director sent me to Mark Ramsey’s Hear 2.0 Blog (http://www.hear2.com/) to view this video tour of Nielsen’s new and revised “sticker-based” radio ratings diary. How is it possible in the year 2009 that the majority of the United States is still measuring its television and radio viewing by this type of “technology”.
Imagine, for a moment, your typical pattern of television and radio viewing. Try to figure out just how you might actually write out in 15 minute blocks of time how this would happen. Between cable, satellite TV and radio, DVRs, Video on Demand, DVDs, Video games, pausing live TV, rewind/fast foward, start over technology, and internet based television and radio viewing, my head spins thinking of the complication this would be.
And as much as researchers and media folks around the country may grumble about the pluses and minuses of newer measuring technologies such as Nielsen’s Local People Meter and Arbitron’s Personal People, they are infinately better than this diary mess.
PS. Just a FYI, Arbitron is launching the Personal People Meter (PPM) in the Tampa market as we speak. Measurement began June 25th, and radio stations will begin seeing preliminary data on August 13th. In October, the preliminary period will be over, making PPM the new official currency of radio sales in the Tampa Bay area. It will be interesting to see if the PPM technology disrupts the radio ratings to the extent that Nielsen’s LPM technology disrupted the Tampa TV ratings in July 2007.
You can view this video in its original form at http://www.hear2.com/2009/06/a-walk-through-the-nielsen-radio-ratings-diary.html.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
I wish I could take credit for this innovative look at newspapers, but alas, the credit goes to the National Press Club’s and previous USA Today editor Ken Paulson. I just think before we are so quick to abandon old media in favor of new, perhaps a little perspective is in order:
Newspapers are Fact-Checked, Hand-Delivered, No Pop-up Ads – What’s Not to Love?
I do think there’s room for some perspective. Yes, it’s true that there have been significant layoffs at America’s newspapers, but there have also been huge layoffs at Home Depot, and no one is predicting the demise of hammers.
You have to separate the troubled economy from the special challenges facing the news industry, and it’s important that we not undervalue the power of print.
I can certainly understand why newspapers are not viewed as trendy. After all, they were really the iPods of 1690.
But humor me, and consider this alternate history: Imagine if Gutenberg had invented a digital modem rather than a printing press, and that for centuries all of our information had come to us online.
Further, imagine if we held a press conference announcing the invention of an intriguing new product called the “newspaper.”
That press conference might go something like this:
“We’re pleased to announce a new product that will revolutionize the way you access information. It will save you time and money and keep you better informed than ever before.
“Just consider the hours you’ve spent on the Internet looking for information of interest to you. We’ve hired specialists who live and work in your hometown to cull information sources and provide a daily report tailored to your community, your friends and your neighbors.
“We also know that you sometimes wonder whether you can trust the information you see online. We plan to introduce a painstaking new process called ‘fact-checking’ in which we actually verify the information before we pass it along to you.
“In addition to saving time online, you’ll also save money. You won’t need those expensive color ink cartridges or reams of paper because information will be printed out for you in full color every day.
“You’ll also save money on access charges and those unpleasant fights over who gets time on the computer because this product will be physically delivered to your home at the same time each day, for less than what you would tip the guy from Pizza Hut.
“You worry about your kids stumbling across porn on the Internet, but this product is pre-screened and guaranteed suitable for the whole family.
“And in a security breakthrough, we guarantee newspapers to be absolutely virus-free, and promise the elimination of those annoying pop-up ads.
“It’s also the most portable product in the world, and doesn’t require batteries or electricity. And when the flight attendant tells you to turn off your electronic devices, you can actually turn this on, opening page after page without worrying about interfering with the plane’s radar.
“To top it all off, you don’t need a long-term warranty or service protection program. If you’re not happy with this product on any day, we’ll redesign it and bring you a new one the next day.”
I can see the headlines now: “Cutting-edge newspapers threaten Google’s survival.”
My point, of course, is that newspapers remain an extraordinary information bargain, and we shouldn’t be selling them short or lose sight of the qualities that make American journalism so critical to our democracy.
When we do our jobs as journalists the right way, when we strive every day to publish reports of integrity and balance, when we ask the tough questions, when we fight to keep the public’s business public and when we provide the kind of thorough and balanced reporting that is the lifeblood of a democracy, we fulfill our promise to that first generation of Americans who believed that one of the best ways to guarantee a democracy was a free and vigorous press.
There are people counting on us.
I just finished listening to an American Marketing Association (AMA) webinar entitled “What’s Fascinating About Market Researchers”. Led by Mike Brown, the VP of Marketing at YRC Worldwide (his Brainzooming Blog can be found here) and Sally Hogshead, author of “Radical Careering”.
Sally’s new book about Fascination (Available on Amazon Here) Mostly applies to how companies use the concept of fascination to market their products, but the speakers attempted to make it applicable to how market researchers “sell” their research insights up the ladder to executive management.
In a way, as a Director of Research, I am responsible for creating a brand around myself so that my managers, co-workers and clients trust what I have to say and put my ideas and insights into action. For researchers, the heart of what we do is answering questions. However, early on in my career, I’ve experienced many times where the answers I provided were discarded or discredited. Many times, to my delight, I often found my exact insights discovered by research turned out to be true, but it was to no avail for my company. Over time, I’ve learned how to position and brand myself as a trusted source of information, leading my “clients” (that is, my co-workers, managers and sales clients) to be more willing to accept my insights and research on site.
How can a market researcher develop that trust, and thus develop their brand? This webinar did have some interesting insights. The main point I jumped onto was the concept of fascination, which, when it comes down to it, fascination is a way of captivating your audience’s attention so that your message is heard. Why is this necessary in this day and age? Because people are overwhelmed and distracted. We are offered too much choice in our lives, from products to buy to the ways we can choose to spend our time. One study by the BBC News revealed that, due to web browsing, the average attention span of an adult has diminished from 20 minutes to 9 seconds (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1834682.stm). Nine seconds is roughly the same attention span as a goldfish.
For researchers, our key job is too wade through mounds of data to provide answers to questions. Our “clients” asking those questions do NOT need any more data in their lives. In this ADD World we live in, I believe the less is more approach is more effective. The most talented research directors I know have the ability to wade through the mounds of data to find that ONE piece of data that answers the question, and present it in a way to the question asker in a way that earns their attention and commands their respect. Knowing that my senior manager’s mind is being pulled in a thousand different ways, I have use my 9 seconds of attention time to fascinate and captivate my reader so that they will HEAR the answer to their question, REMEMBER the answer and insights and insight ACTION on their part.
Later on, I use another blog post to go through the seven triggers for fascination, and how they apply to marketing and the media world, so keep checking back. Apparently, I’ve only got 9 seconds of your attention, so short and sweet and directly to the point is where I need to be!
PS. If you are interested in viewing this FREE webinar offered by the AMA, visit http://www.marketingpower.com/ResourceLibrary/Pages/Webcasts/Whats_Fascinating_About_Market_Researchers_072109.aspx and click “View this Content”.
“Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.” (Albert Szent-Gryorgyi)
“The trouble with research is that it tells you what people where thinking about yesterday, not tomorrow. It’s like driving a car using a rearview mirror.” (Bernard Loomis)
“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” (J.R.R. Tolkien)
“Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they are blind.” (Marston Bates)
“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.” (Zora Neale Hurston)
“To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism, to steal ideas from many is research.” (Unknown)
“Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.” (Wernher Von Braun)
“Do not put your faith in what statistics say until you have carefully considered what they do not say.” (William W. Watt)
“Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.” (Mark Twain)
“The most important word in the vocabulary of advertising is TEST. If you pretest your product with consumers, and pretest your advertising, you will do well in the marketplace.” (David Ogilvy)
“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” (Naguib Mahfouz)
“Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.” (David Ogilvy)
“Advertising research is one-half frustration, one-half exclamation point, and one-half question-mark. If this adds up to more than 100 percent, it proves that mathematics and research sometimes gives confusing results.” (Michael P. Ryan, of Allied Chemical Corp, 1968)
“Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.” (Jimmy Buffett)
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” (Carl Sagan)
The objective of this study was to determine the Tampa Bay public’s attitudes towards the economy.
The results of this study are based on 448 responses from members of the Tampa Bay Media Advisory Panel. Interviewing was conducted online June 16-29, 2009. Panelists were emailed invitations to participate in the survey. A total of 896 invitations were sent, yielding a response rate of 50 percent. The demographic profile of Tampa Bay Media Advisory Panel who responded to this survey represents a cross section of consumers, 18 years & older residing in the Tampa Bay area (Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando Counties).
Results of this study are compared to similar surveys conducted by telephone in September 2008 and July 2007. Although survey methodology varies from the recent panel survey and previous telephone surveys – the study does provide us with some trends over the past two years.
Consumer confidence and expectations for the future continue to decline among Tampa-area adults, both for the nation and the Tampa Bay area. A growing majority say they are now worse off financially than a year ago and are split whether they will be any better off next year.
Adults are less likely than a year ago to say businesses, both nationally and in the Tampa Bay area, are in for good times during the next 12 months and a growing percentage who said in previous studies that business would improve are now unsure.
And while relatively few adults see the U.S. in a depression, almost half foresee periods of widespread unemployment nationally over the next five years and almost six in 10 see widespread unemployment in the Tampa Bay area.
These are some of the findings from an online study among members of the Tampa Bay Media Advisory Panel.
MEASURING CONSUMER CONFIDENCE AND BUSINESS EXPECTATIONS
Key consumer confidence indicators continue to decline compared with previous research conducted by the Florida Communications Group Market Development Department.
In addition, there appears to be a growing uncertainty about what the future holds in store.
Are You Better Off Now Compared to a Year Ago?
A declining percentage of consumers say they are better off today than a year ago while an increasing percentage say they are worse.
- Six percent say they are better off than a year ago, compared with 11 percent in September 2008
- 57 percent say they are worse off, compared with 47 percent nine months earlier
Even among “optimistic adults,” those who say they will be better off financially a year from now, almost half (47%) say they are worse off now than a year ago.
Consumers are a little more uncertain about what lies ahead.
About equal percentages say they will be better off financially a year from now (27%) as say they will be worse off (23%).
These ratings are very similar to a year ago.
The percentage who expects to be “just about the same” financially has declined to 35 percent from 49 percent, primarily because the percentage who aren’t sure has more than tripled.
Business Expectations Also Off
There is also less optimism and more uncertainty about what lies ahead for business, nationally and locally.
Panel members are 38 percent less likely than last September to say the nation’s businesses will enjoy good times during the next 12 months.
The percentage who predict bad times (59%) is statistically identical to 2008 while those who are not sure (23%) have more than doubled; again, indicating an increase in uncertainty about the economic future.
Attitudes about future business conditions in the Tampa Bay area mirror national results.
The percentage predicting good times has declined dramatically while those who predict bad times (the majority) remain unchanged. A significantly higher percentage of adults (24%) aren’t sure.
Focusing On The Economy
This lack of optimism is also reflected when respondents were asked about the economy, both national and in the Tampa Bay area.
The percentage of adults who predict “good times” economically for the nation during the next five years has declined dramatically, to 28 percent from 41 percent last September.
Consumers are not more likely than a year ago to predict a depression, however, almost half (48%) expect periods of widespread unemployment nationally.
There has been a significant decline in the percentage of consumers who predict good economic times for the Tampa Bay area (29 percent from 45 percent a year ago) while almost six in ten (59%) predict periods of widespread unemployment over the next five years.
A Good Time To Buy
Consumers are almost evenly split whether this is a good time to make major household purchases.
- 44 percent say this is a good time to buy major household goods
- 48 percent say this is a bad time
The results are significantly different than September 2008 when almost seven in 10 adults (68%) said it was a bad time to purchase. Results are, however, very similar to 2007.
A majority of upper income adults say this is a good time to buy household goods while those who are less affluent disagree.
You may be anxious about the newspaper industry these days. Newspapers are filing for Chapter 11 protection. Newspapers are reducing their days of publication. Newspapers are going out of business or threatening to do so. Newspapers are dead or at least dying. I have heard this also. Actually, I read it in the newspaper. If there is one thing our industry is good at, it’s self flagellation.
So as major newspaper advertisers, you must be asking yourself, “What’s going on, really?” And, of course you are trying to figure out if your investment with our industry is appropriate. I am here to tell you that newspaper advertising works. Newspapers are effective advertising vehicles today and our industry is taking appropriate action to ensure that we are effective for you in years to come.
Let’s take ten minutes to talk about what is going on and what is the industry doing about it.