Agency research departments should be gate-keepers for all insight

Agency research departments should be gate-keepers for all insight


Armed with a 2 litre bottle of Strongbow (a “targeting” prize from the panel sponsors, Kantar), Neil Mortensen questioned a panel of media agency research directors at yesterday’s MRG conference.

Aevolve’s Mark Greenstreet believes that by 2014 the connected TV marketplace will have reached critical mass and this ability to choose when and what you watch, where and on what will have a profound impact on how media is planned.

The panel agreed that having smart technology which delivers personalised content has the potential to be hugely powerful but Arena Media’s Martin Greenbank highlighted the possibility that there may be a reaction against this – while consumers like personalisation they don’t necessarily like companies holding data about what they consume.

MPG’s Denise Turner and ZenithOptimedia’s Julie Hamshere both urged the MRG conference to look to kids to see where the industry is heading. Turner’s kids are hard to engage during TV ad breaks and Hamshere believes that when today’s kids become adults, they will expect to have a much different relationship with brands than we currently do.

While social media has incontrovertibly changed communications, is it also a useful research resource? While Greenbank illustrated how it was used to provide quick, useful insights during Thomas Cooks’ recent turbulence, the research heads agreed that caution needs to be exercised as it cannot provide the whole, representative picture of what’s going on. The vocal minority may well not represent the introverted majority, as Greenstreet warned.

With much of the digital world relying on data and direct response measurements, the media agency heads argued that Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) should not replace human intervention in the media planning process. Hamshere asserted the importance of consumer insight with Turner feeling that the pendulum change is now swinging back from pure data to understanding people, a balance being required between the both.

Greenstreet argued that there is still a bridge to gap between the digital and media worlds with both having much to learn from each other. With so many more data sources now being available, the agency research heads stressed the importance of triangulation. Turner argued that agency research departments need to be the gate-keepers for representativeness, particularly when big decisions are being made on the basis on the insights they are providing.

In terms of data collection, Greenbank is excited about the use of mobile phones as a research tool. Through moving research on from relying on claimed behaviour and analytics to observed behaviour, he believes that brands can now have unprecedented access to the consumer base.

Finally, Mortensen put a number of statements to the floor to see whether they believed they were fact or fiction.

Here’s what the majority of the MRG voted on to see if you agree:

In 2021…

The majority of campaign measurement will not be based on direct response measures.

Facebook will no longer be the biggest social network.

Google will not be a top 5 market research company.

BARB will not measure radio and online display.

All media agencies will not plan on a single cross media real time data panel.

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