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The Advertising Mess


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In an era of constant innovations in media and new media being born every day, media consumption habits have been the most affected and increasingly less and less understood subject. Unfortunately the …

In an era of constant innovations in media and new media being born every day, media consumption habits have been the most affected and increasingly less and less understood subject. Unfortunately the measurement of these habits, which forms the currency for buying and selling media hasn't kept pace with the rate of change in media itself. The book makes an attempt to take a step back and understand some of these trends from ground up and offer possible solutions to a new media mix for a new world.

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  • 1. 1
  • 2. The Advertising Mess BRIDGE’ing the gap for accountable MarCom Bipin Mundhwa & Amit Nevrekar Published by Sci-MO Includes incisive consumer insights from India’s leading expert and bestselling author on customer experience branding - CYRUS M GONDA 2
  • 3. The Advertising Mess Copyright © 2012 by Amit Nevrekar & Bipin Mundhwa The ‘Bridge’ Model Copyright © 2012 by Amit Nevrekar & Bipin Mundhwa DISCLAIMER: Due care and diligence has been taken while writing, editing, printing and publishing this book; neither the authors, nor the publisher, nor the printer hold any responsibility for any mistake that may have crept in inadvertently. Neither the authors, nor the publisher, nor the printer shall be liable for damages arising here from. No part of this publication or the ‘Bridge’ model included therein may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the authors. The concept of the ‘Bridge’ Model cannot be commercialised without the prior legal permission of the authors. All names, characters and brands appearing in this book are hypothetical and fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead is purely coincidental. The opinions expressed in this book reflect the personal views of the authors and are not intended to represent the views of their current and/or past employers. The purpose of this book is not to create any controversies, but to educate the industry about the prevailing loopholes that can be plugged for developing robust and scientific media measurement systems. The fact that an organisation or website is referred to in this work as a citation and/or potential source of further information, does not mean that the authors endorse that information. Further, readers should be aware that internet websites listed in this work may have changed or been withdrawn between the period when this work was written and when it is being read. 3
  • 4. Acknowledgements In our journey to accomplish this work, we had a number of individuals who have directly and indirectly supported us whom we wish to thank: Our parents for their blessings and prayers. Kshitij, Aditi and Payal for their love and patience. Prof. Cyrus M Gonda for his valuable guidance. Mats Isenberg for his thoughts and deliberations. Paritosh Joshi for sharing his wisdom and encouragement. Onkar Vaidya, Pavan Bhatia, Percy Adajania, Manushreshth Sharma, for their support. Mitesh Thakker and Dr. Anar Rupji for technological advancements. Mrs. Seema Sharma for her kind generosity. Dr. Bhaskar Das who gave us inspiration to publish this book. Ashwin Jhadav for the cover page design. And last but not the least, We thank The Lord above for enlightening us to walk this path. - Bipin Mundhwa and Amit Nevrekar 4
  • 5. On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. - David Ogilvy 5
  • 6. Contents Page no. Foreword 10 Testimonials 12 1. The Unknown Urban Territory 24 2. The Unexpected Mutation 34 3. The Jumbled State of MarCom 42 4. The Bitter Truth 54 5. Industry Black Boxes 66 6. The ‘Bridge’ Model 93 7. Enhancing MarCom – The ‘Bridge’ Way 121 8. In Pursuit of ROI 128 References 135 Glossary of terms 137 6
  • 7. Preface The need for this book was strongly felt due to a vacuum existing in necessary practical literature, coupled with the recent controversies in audience measurement and advertising industry currencies in India, which gave an impetus to this publication. A constant refrain of industry professionals is that since investments in media research currencies are not forthcoming, adequate sample sizes for surveys are not financially feasible, and it is this lacuna in sample size which is leading to the distortion of the research results. The implication being, if adequate sample size is assured, all MarCom problems would disappear. We would like to raise the question - Are there no other problems with the fundamental philosophies underlying the entire MarCom process? Is sample size the ONLY issue to be addressed? Currently, a lot of practices in the MarCom domain are being done in a mechanical manner. This is mainly due to the fact that most of these procedures and processes are now computerised and the people working on them are generating results without really understanding the logic and rationale of the steps they are performing. Huge amounts of money and time are currently being invested (maybe ‘spent’), in advertising activities. The size of the advertising industry in India in 2011 was over INR 279 billion. 7
  • 8. And guess what? There is not one single dedicated structured model available to evaluate and analyse the efficient utilisation of this huge figure. Of course, there are stand-alone currencies which claim to do their bit, but as this book reveals, they suffer from severe shortcomings and lacunae. This book is structured around such a model which is the need of the hour. In fact, the model came first, and then the book evolved around it. We have termed the model as ‘Bridge’. It is elaborated in depth in Chapter Six of this book. We recommend maintaining the flow of the book for better understanding of the model. The entire book has been developed in a logical sequence which explains the evolution of MarCom, the behavioural patterns of different segments of target audiences, the current state of MarCom (which needs drastic improvement), the bitter truths and realities which are part and parcel of this industry. After this, follows the chapter where the current industry currencies are evaluated in a neutral manner. The evaluation will lead to the understanding that many of these currencies are incomplete or outdated, and that the need for a single holistic currency, which incorporates the vital element of consumer behaviour (currently ignored as a factor in most existing currencies), along with the latest available technology for capturing behaviour and patterns and analyzing them in real-time, is greatly needed. We hope that this book is appreciated and taken in the spirit in which it has been written. We, being from the industry ourselves, have a deep passion to ensure that the industry moves with the times, and any loopholes which can be plugged, should be done, not only by us, but by all MarCom practitioners who feel that the industry needs to constantly evolve and progress. We do hope that this beginning which we have initiated in our own small way is taken 8
  • 9. as a starting point and carried forward by stalwarts of the industry, for whom we have the utmost respect. We would value and appreciate any feedback from our readers which would help us in fine-tuning this model further, as we want not only our industry to grow, but also our advertising clients to benefit to the maximum. 9
  • 10. Foreword by Dr. Bhaskar Das Group CEO - Zee Group (News & Digital) For some time now, the media-scape in India and the globe have been undergoing tectonic changes that are led by the accelerated pace of change in technology and consequent transformation of consumer behaviour. In fact, the evolutionary pace of consumers has gone far ahead of the changing behaviour of marketers and marketing communication. The asymmetries are clearly visible when, in the process of planning communication, one notices the dependence of marketers on inventory occupancy and exposure rather than working on matrices emanating from behavioural and consumer engagement data. The book by Bipin Mundhwa and Amit Nevrekar aims to bridge this gap. In fact, they have called their unique model itself ‘Bridge’. The authors have tried to rationalise the media audience measurement through a unified model score across media formats called ‘B-Score’. The emphasis of ‘Bridge’ is more on consumer behaviour and their various levels of emotional engagement by day parts across different media platforms as against mere exposure. The authors have delved into the communication receptivity of even one-to-one media vehicles, such as YouTube and radio on mobile. Other approach of data capturing for Bridge is primarily through online panel and real time reporting. This enables them to showcase unique advantages of online platforms as against conventional survey methods. Bipin Mundhwa - with over 7 years of diversified experience in media planning, audience analytics, quantitative forecasting, media 10
  • 11. research - and Amit Nevrekar - with over 12 years of experience in brand management, consumer Insights, marketing & media research, media strategy, segmentation and positioning - are distinctively empowered by their academic and empirical experiences in developing an approach for an adaptive media mix modelling and accountability by measuring ROI (returns on investment or involvement) through a unique method of Ad tracking through call-for-action, i.e. clicks, inbound calls, SMS keywords, etc. I strongly feel ‘Bridge’ will usher in a futuristic marketing communication, and any practitioner of marketing and advertising cannot afford to miss the application that helps account for every dollar that is invested in advertising and communication. To emphasise on how difficult it was to reach potential customers through advertising John Wanamaker had quipped: "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." John would have been happy today had he been here, as he need not worry about wasting advertising budgets. Welcome to the ‘Bridge’ !! 11
  • 12. Testimonials Cyrus M Gonda – Best-selling author and thought leader in customer experience and communication management. Logically inclined individuals have always been justified cynics of the rampantly haphazard and thoroughly unstructured manner with which the Ad industry as a whole has been functioning in the Indian context. Considering the humongous ticket size of this industry as whole, levels of professionalism in functioning are at an abysmal level. Even award-winning advertisements have seldom generated reasonable revenues for the client, who ultimately foots the bill for them. The creative agency literally gets a free flight all the way to Cannes. Crores are wasted in securing the easily available services of star brand endorsers who wouldn’t mind lending their name to a rotting pile of garbage if the price was right. The price, of course, is paid by the client. A sister concern of the Ad agency recommending the star endorser often has the contract of ‘managing’ the star’s various endorsement engagements, so it doesn’t require intelligence or vision to see why many Ads focus on star endorsers, even when a better Ad could have been made and aired at a fraction of the cost without them hogging the limelight at the brand’s expense. 12
  • 13. When the money is not your own, it is always easy to play and gamble, and this is the supreme art that most Ad and media agencies have mastered with royal élan. On the other hand, consumer brands are not without blame themselves. They have been constantly seeking empathy and understanding from consumers by playing the ‘poverty card’ when it comes to investing in much needed business essentials such as upgrading infrastructure and investing in employee development, which would result into enhanced service and experience levels for their loyal customers. Reputed brands (in the businesses of confectionery, oral hygiene, hair care, and the like), go to great lengths to cut ‘costs’, often by surreptitiously and sneakily reducing the net volume of their packaged product offerings by a few measly grams, simultaneously thumping their branded chests with loud tomtomming of the fact that they have kept their price íntact’, or have only ‘marginally increased’ the same in the interests of their customers. (As an example, a renowned toothpaste brand recently reduced the size of its 200 gram pack to 190 grams. This was brought to my attention by my mother, who like most housewives, observes such brand tactics with an eagle eye.) Brands have every right to reduce the original size of their product offerings without highlighting the fact to unsuspecting customers. Brands are, and need to get, increasingly cost conscious. And rightly so. But cost cutting should be looked at not from the viewpoint of a jaundiced eye, but from that of a clear one. Thus, indulging in such penny pinching size-and-volume reduction chicanery could be best expressed by resorting to the colloquial Indian term – ‘chindigiri’. 13
  • 14. Also, such perverse actions dilute hard-won brand credibility among valuable consumer segments such as the ubiquitous housewife. And as David Ogilvy, the true father of modern advertising often stated – ‘The consumer isn’t a moron, she is your wife.’ The point of this entire sordid example and introduction is – the very same ‘cost conscious’ brands which scrimp and save a few grams at their customer’s expense, pour millions down the proverbial drain of ever-more expensive, possibly wasteful advertising, without attempting to verify whether the evaluation (if any), of the returnon-investment on such humongous, colossal expenditure is being scientifically funnelled or evaluated. The advertising industry in general appears to have deep-shelved the invaluable lessons imparted by David Ogilvy as being impractical to practice, while continuing to hypocritically worship his name, which still carries enormous face-value brand equity. The entire media planning industry has been functioning in an increasingly sloppy and arbitrary fashion, literally playing black-jack with their client’s (the advertiser’s) hard earned money as though no reckonings were to ever follow or no answers were to be ever provided after this Bacchanalian orgiastic media-manic feast. And indeed, up to now, such has been the sorry state of affairs, where neither were any pertinent questions asked, nor were any honest answers forthcoming. On reading some of the facts highlighted in this book, I was stunned into stupefied silence. For instance, admedia being a 279+ billion INR industry in India and as of date not even a single semi-reliable methodology or model to authenticate the efficacy of the investment. Stunning. Frightening. 14
  • 15. Soon, thankfully however, this nonsensical status quo will have to summarily cease and desist. And the full credit for this positive paradigm shift in MarCom methodology will be due to two intelligent, creative, courageous, forthright, and practically inclined professionals from this industry, who have developed a world class MarCom model which could leave senior industry practitioners positively red-faced. For decades, most practitioners have been indulging in the morally, if not literally, criminal activity of flaunting and squandering their client’s funds in a manner which can at best be charitably termed as ‘unprofessional’. Once the model developed by these two gentlemen is understood, adopted, applied, and taken to heart by a grateful client base, it will put a full-stop to the prevailing errant insanity. Advertisers (FMCG, telecom, insurance, et al), should be singing paens of ecstasy and hosannas of joy, congratulating these two fine, outstanding professionals for the yeoman service they have performed by ensuring that every rupee that will now be invested in advertising would have to be scrupulously accounted for. Now with this much awaited model in place, the client gets a firm leg to stand upon, and irresponsible agencies will perforce have to justify every Rupee they induce the client to invest into advertising, and some semblance of sense and sensibility will finally seep into the mad bad ad world. 15
  • 16. I would rate Bipin and Amit as the sane voice bringing succour to the beleaguered client, who till now has been at the mercy of the big bad mad Ad agency wolf. If media agencies will henceforth find their every media related recommendation searchingly queried by their clients, they will have only themselves to blame. David Ogilvy would have heartily approved of this client-centric model and would be smiling his blessings from above. And that, is the highest possible accolade any genuine media related model in today’s client discounted world could hope to achieve. God Bless, Bipin and Amit. You’ve done a fine job. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------Sandip Tarkas, - CEO, Future Media | Chairman, MRUC TechCom ( IOS ) In an era of constant innovations in media and new media being born every day, media consumption habits have been the most affected and increasingly less and less understood subject. Unfortunately the measurement of these habits, which forms the currency for buying and selling media hasn't kept pace with the rate of change in media itself. This book by Amit and Bipin makes an attempt to take a step back and understand some of these trends from ground up and offer possible solutions to a new media mix for a new world. A vital read for all practitioners of media. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------16
  • 17. Paritosh Joshi - Provocateur Advisory | Chairman, MRUC TechCom (IRS) | BARC TechCom We live in times of ever accelerating change. This impacts every aspect of life; where and how we live, what we eat, our sources of livelihood, politics and governance; and impacting all these and everything else, the central role that burgeoning, pervasive media play in our world. It is no surprise therefore that authors, experienced and newly minted, find the media, irresistible subject matter. Social scientists delight in unravelling the complex relationships between creators and consumers of content; business analysts trace investment, growth and opportunities for profit; information theorists develop ideas about signal and noise. And every once in a while, practical minded writers address themselves to the challenges faced by thousands of unglamorous professionals involved in buying and selling media advertising inventories. Amit and Bipin belong to this small and indomitable tribe. Having themselves been in media AOR for a considerable period, they understand the pleasures, and more crucially the pains associated with the process. Unlike most of their peers, however, they abhor resigned acceptance of status quo and in so doing, develop novel approaches to decoding, measuring and planning media. The thought provoking book you now hold in your hands came out of their realization that these new ideas may benefit their peers even 17
  • 18. as it provokes further deliberations that could evolve them further, to the advantage of the profession. If the art and science of planning, selling and buying media has to keep pace with their accelerating metamorphosis, we need more and more thought leadership of the sort that these two youngsters have chosen to volunteer. I heartily commend this book to you, dear reader. But don’t just read it. Debate, argue, challenge and transcend its ideas. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------Sanjay Tripathy - Executive Vice President, Marketing - HDFC Life Amit's and Bipin's smart, sincere and thoughtful approach models the insights they advocate in this book. They have a remarkably simple way of appraising the journey of Indian media and social network over the years and take a critical look at the cookie-cutter approach that is often adopted by Indian advertisers and media agencies. The authors dip into their experience of marketing and media research to put forth a model that attempts to ‘Bridge’ the gaps by taking into account the dynamic state of new age media, the inherent need to allow for fluidity in measurement and the overarching business need to weave in accountability. The tools and insights shared in this book have been instrumental in elevating my leadership. It is a required reading for any marketing leader looking to play to his or her strengths and inspire others to win. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------18
  • 19. Rana Barua - Chief Operating Officer, Law & Kenneth Very refreshing and thought provoking content for the media-space. The authors have successfully pointed out not only the voids and professional crimes being committed in MarCom space but also provided solution in form of a unique model. This model is not only useful for quantitative side of media but also very useful for creative side. Model ‘Bridge’ can rightly be useful with certain rider questions for measuring the impact of the creative and campaign. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------Mats Isenberg - CEO, Nepa India As a market research professional, it has been a great pleasure to follow Bipin and Amit journey of writing ‘Bridge’. Their greatest achievement lies in the switch from a media focused perspective to one of the consumer. Their holistic approach examines the actual receptivity of the consumer rather than the inhered nature of each media. Bridging the gaps in cross-media comparison, day-part effectiveness and of course, most importantly, engagement level brings a whole new set of tools to the media planning industry. Integration of the insights from the ‘Bridge’ will allow media planner to minimize waste which is beneficial to all stakeholders being advertisers, media agencies, media owners and the consumers. It is with great anticipation that I see the media planning industry transform into its new breed based on theories and tool set describes by Amit and Bipin. 19
  • 20. Mr. Mitesh L. Thakker - President, Sci-Mo | CEO & Founder - AdoRoi Inc. "The Advertising Mess" is the true depiction of the state of MarCom, where-in not just the MarCom processes but even the fundamental currency it-self is in question. This book reinforces the challenge faced by esteemed marketer John Wanamaker in 1880's who said, "Half the money I spent on Advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half". In the times of John, it was a question of Half the money. In India it seems it is much, much more than half. I really appreciate the passion and commitment Amit and Bipin have shown to correct the state of MarCom and solve the century old dilemma facing of Wanamaker. I wish them all the very best and would like to assure them of all possible support in their pursuit to help the Advertising Industry cross the ‘Bridge’. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------Martin Radford - Director - Billetts Media Consulting | Ebiquity plc UK Advertising’s job is to impart information, David Ogilvy said. Today, we witness an ever increasing list of ways in which brands can approach this task and also in which the consumer’s reaction can be predicted and quantified. But many of the classifications and measurements are rooted in a time when Don Draper roamed the earth. A new approach is very much welcomed, it will create argument and counter-argument but hopefully advertisers, agencies and consumers will all benefit. It’s a Herculean task pulling that amount of work together; I wish you both every success! 20
  • 21. Seema Sharma - General Manager, The Times of India Bipin and Amit have invented what is genuinely needed for behavioural media planning today. The book has provided the breather for indefatigable media houses looking for ROI to help advertisers. The thoughtful application of the proposed model ‘Bridge’ will help the advertisers and media-owners for appropriateness of content for the relevant audiences in different day-parts. I congratulate the authors for doing a great favour to the industry. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------Malini Bhupta - Associate Editor, Business Standard Media consumption has been changing at a rapid pace in India, but the mechanism to it remains as primitive as ever. The consumer has moved on to multiple screens from the erstwhile television screen, but measuring systems haven't evolved to capture this shift. Nobody quite knows what the Indian consumer really consumes and how and in what quantity. In short, the traditional ways of measuring audiences have to be shown the exit door. It is high time that we genuinely ask the relevant questions, as is being done by Bipin and Amit, to address the issues of contemporary dynamic media-space. The passionate authors have depicted the scenario that stake holders need to address. I recommend this book to all industry practitioners across hierarchy. 21
  • 22. Bedraj Tripathy - Sr. General Manager, Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. (Div: Godrej Interio) In an era where consumers’ preferences are changing at a faster pace than they ever have, media usage of brands to connect with the consumers seems to remain in their archaic fiefdom. So much so, that the new media also follows the footsteps of traditional media – unfortunately. Secondly, the quality of marketing talent in organizations – brand side or agency side – is going southwards and this is slowing innovation in the industry. This book by Amit and Bipin is a modern day guide to every marketing professional in this industry. A new chapter on thinking and application that is much needed for every layer of the marketing tree. This is one book that aims at literally bridging the gap between brands and consumers – relevant for both B2B and B2C. A must read!!! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------Dheeraj Ahluwalia - General Manager Marketing - South Asia, Standard Chartered Adapting to the 21st century’s marketing & communication is more than necessary. Authors have not only pointed the outdated MarCom planning approach but also effectively attempted to address it through their model ‘Bridge’. I anticipate that the ‘Bridge’ model which provides engagement score could be effectively used by organizations in service sectors too. 22
  • 23. Shashank Sinha - General Manager Marketing, Eureka Forbes Limited Welcome to Real time Marketing. While Marketers across the globe have endeavoured to reach out to consumers and get a quick feedback on the consumers’ response to their Marketing effort, it has never been a cake walk. The process is riddled with assumptions and challenges in the absence of immediate and accurate information. Enter Response Led scientific media marketing with its Ad Track codes and real-time connects Solutions. Over the last 2 years I have experienced the power of this medium and its ability to optimize media planning and deliver enhanced value. The real-time response tracking coupled with ethnography not only help in media planning but also help provide creative inputs. Amit’s and Bipin's work provides great insight into the tools available to the marketers today that will help ‘Bridge’ the GAP and greatly improve ROI. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------Manish Advani - Head, Marketing & PR, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (SSG) This book seems to be a game changer. Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change you wish to see”. In Marketing, there is a great need for us to be the change what our customers want to see. This book by Amit and Bipin will teach you how to be the change based on time, place and circumstance. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------23
  • 24. 1. The Unknown Urban Territory A day in Asmeena’s Life… Asmeena, a 28 year-old housewife, wakes up at 6:30 am. She immediately switches on her radio in her living room and moves around the house to complete her daily dozens. After getting ready, she has a quick glance through the newspaper. She then starts preparing the lunch-box for her husband. Somehow, the radio in the background, although playing, does not get her attention as she is absorbed in the eye-catching headlines in the newspaper. She finishes preparing the lunch-box for her husband and sees him off by 9:00 am. After a while she goes to the market to purchase some vegetables and starts preparing lunch around 11:00 am. While preparing lunch, she also listens to the radio, moving between the kitchen and the living room. Around 12:45 pm, she starts having her lunch and also puts on the TV for her daily dose of general entertainment serials. She is intensely engaged with the TV series she is currently following. She in between occasionally switches to another general entertainment channels when the advertisements come on, to view the other series which she also likes to follow. During the afternoon around 2:30 pm she listens to the radio on her mobile phone, but this time she is in her bedroom, relaxing. She 24
  • 25. dedicatedly enjoys the radio and then sleeps for a couple of hours. After she wakes up, she logs on to the internet for some quick email checking. She also takes this opportunity to log onto her favourite social networking sites and does some quick chatting with her friends. In the evening she flips through some magazines. She is at this time in a very relaxed mood. Around 7:00 pm, as she starts chopping vegetables for preparing dinner, her mind goes to the prime-time serials she is following regularly on TV. She switches on the TV, watches the serial till the first commercial break, and then moves to the kitchen. She keeps shuttling between the kitchen and the living room as per her work in the kitchen and the commercial breaks on TV. In addition she doesn’t forget to check with her husband on his phone when he is expected to arrive home. She also mentally prepares to give up control of the TV to her brother-in-law who stays with them and who is sitting alongside, waiting for his turn to watch his favourite programme. Both Asmeena and her brother-in-law have different choices of programmes and genres on TV. A day in Ameet’s life… Asmeena’s husband Ameet, who is 30 years old, wakes up at 6:30 am. He reads the regional and English dailies while having his morning tea around 7:00 am. He is a little worried about his meeting today at office on the issue of sales targets. He passively listens to the radio station that his wife has switched on. After 9:00 am he leaves for office and drives through a road which has a lot of outdoor hoardings on both sides and also listens to the radio and suddenly his mood swings into the orbit of entertainment 25
  • 26. while listening to a song which he likes. Once he reaches office, up to noon he attends meetings and also continuously surfs the net for office related work and simultaneously surfs various social networking sites either on his office computer or on his smartphone. In the evening he drives back home and on the way takes a small halt for a cup of tea with his friends. He also sees a lot of road-side hoardings while driving home and listens to the car radio. He is now in a somewhat tired but happy mood, having had a good day at the office. Once he is back home at 9:30 pm, he quickly takes control of the remote and surfs through news channels for the latest news of the day. However he is not in a mood to see any commercials and quickly switches between news channels and sports channels when commercials come on. In between all this, he has to respect his wife’s choice as well for her favourite TV programmes when they come on and at such times he surrenders the remote to her. He is eagerly waiting for control of the remote, once his wife finishes her viewing. At the same time, while passively watching programmes which his wife has switched on, he is hooked on to his smart-phone very actively on social networking sites and also web-surfs. So there now starts some mutually agreed switching of channels as he also wants to switch to some news channel to catch the latest headlines. He is not really paying attention to what is happening on the TV while his wife has her serials on. Therefore the engagement of both Asmeena and Ameet for TV viewing is in reality not absolute, although this is considered as ‘prime-time’ by MarCom practitioners. 26
  • 27. A day in Mayank’s life... Mayank, the 21 year-old younger brother of Ameet, who is an engineering student, wakes up in a very energetic mood at 7:00 am and immediately grabs his high-end smart-phone. He quickly surfs the news on his mobile apps. He also quickly checks his personal mail and browses through a few of his favourite social networking sites. He also at the same time passively listens to an FM radio station that his sister-in-law (Asmeena) has put on. He is very intensely hooked on to whatsapp, facebook, etc. While getting ready for college, he puts on his favourite music channel on TV. He leaves for college while listening to FM radio through his handsfree ear-plugs. His mood suddenly swings once he enters the college campus and meets his friends. He starts working on some assignments. During lunch time he does a lot of Google searching, facebook chat, gtalk, etc. with full concentration. His attention is very much divided between his academic assignment search results and his social interactions on his smart-phone or laptop during the entire afternoon. After college hours, he along with his friends visits the food-court at a nearby shopping mall as that is where they regularly hang-out. While in the mall, he is exposed to in-mall advertising displays, some ground promotions, etc. After he finishes his regular mall hang-out around 6:00 pm, he rushes home to catch up with his favourite sport on TV. He is in a mood for some exciting viewing but is also at the same time very much hooked on to his smart-phone for his ongoing social interactions. Once he reaches home, he requests his sister-in-law Asmeena to let him watch his favourite sport on TV. Asmeena after some hesitation agrees to let him watch. Mayank is very much hooked on to his 27
  • 28. sports channel. However, during commercial breaks, Asmeena requests him to switch to her GEC channel to catch up with her daily series. After a while Mayank again switches to his sports channel. Clearly both of them are not very much into viewing full commercial space but they are exposed to it in bits and pieces while not being in a very attentive or receptive mindset. The implications of all the above for effective advertising The characters that we discussed above will behave differently on weekends and also may behave differently on certain weekdays, as no two days are the same. We have just described here a typical weekday in a typical urban Indian middle-class household. We have already mentioned that the weekend scenario in the same household may be completely different e.g. on weekends, the couple Asmeena and Ameet may wake up a little later in the morning. They may spend more time than on weekdays in reading newspapers; hence their receptivity for newspapers may be at its peak. In the evening they may go out to a nearby shopping mall and may get exposed to some below-the-line (BTL) advertising activity. At night they may both be hooked onto a movie on TV but with good focus and no switching between channels, as Mayank is out with his friends and Ameet does not find any interesting programme to watch on news channels. Therefore on weekends, multimedia touch points have different emotional engagements since work pressures are reduced. Another important aspect of in-home and out-of-home scenario needs to be understood because our at-home activities and outdoor activities are different. Therefore our emotional engagement varies 28
  • 29. for in-home and out-of-home activities; thereby receptivity levels for absorbing advertising messages are different. Summary … Now let us summarise the above mentioned typical scenario of a single TV household in India. Asmeena the housewife has got a certain pattern of watching TV, listening to the radio, reading the newspaper, internet surfing, etc. during different parts of the day. However, her mood and emotional engagement also differs by time bands. She is not the same person in terms of her mood during the afternoon as she is in the early morning and is also not the same in the evening. This simply means that her attention and emotional engagement, which play a critical role for her receptivity for any advertisements, differ according to the time bands of the day e.g. she watches a TV programme in bits and pieces in the evening while cooking, where she may or may not get exposed to commercial space. As per the people-meter technique of recording the audience, she may be recorded as an audience. According to the current technique of data capturing, she is considered as a viewer no matter how low or high emotionally she is engaged, as after all she is considered by this technique as a prime time viewer. On the other hand, during afternoon time as we observed she is a very active and passionate viewer without much disturbance (as compared to evening time), but that afternoon viewing is not considered as prime-time for the purpose of media planning. Why? 29
  • 30. Unfortunately, the way the advertising industry currently operates is based purely on numerical in terms of exposure to the medium and not considering the emotional state of mind of the audience, which varies according to the time bands of the day. “One hundred dedicated viewers would be a far better audience for commercial exposure as compared to five hundred distracted viewers.” But this is not what current practices say. Similarly, multi-media consumption for different parts of the day with varying emotional engagement can be explained for Ameet’s and Mayank’s day patterns. In simple words, this means that even if your desired audience is exposed to your message they may not be attentive or receptive to it. It can safely be said that different parts of the day have a different media-mix in terms of the different media that holds people’s attention at these different times. These further vary for the lifestyle of a typical housewife, working men, students, etc. Therefore mediamix consumption in general varies during different parts of the day for different audience segments. Put simply, different combinations of media have a different impact on different segments of the audience who are in their different emotional engagement states. The important issues that we raise here are:  Can media-mix investment decisions be made on one single combination of media-mix at the macro level only, which is what usually happens at the start of any advertising campaign? 30
  • 31.  Are we ensuring at what level our audience is emotionally engaged to media platforms, while our advertisement is being showcased on different platforms?  Have we considered that while we count an audience member as being exposed to our advertisement simply because he is engaged with the media on which our advertisement is aired/displayed, he could also be involved or paying attention to another medium/media at the same time, thus rendering our advertisement message as useless or diluted? e.g. Asmeena, the housewife listening to the radio passively, while reading her newspaper in the morning.  Have we taken efforts to calculate the different media-mix combinations by parts of the day, for weekday vs. weekend with their desired impacts? As of now, this is not being done.  Do our marketing and communication plans take care of the finer points that we have raised above, as without considering these points, our media plans would be faulty and flawed.  Can we calculate the immense leakages at the message level and the investment level, which have happened in the past and are continuing to happen in the present due to lack of precise answers to the above questions?  Can we imagine the number of potential brands which have been destroyed or have drastically underperformed their potential due to lack of adequate information on the above raised points, in spite of the brands having excellent creative 31
  • 32. but being shown at the wrong time on wrong medium to audience in wrong frame of mind? We can just imagine how many brands were misplaced and misread because of the lack of information on the above questions in spite of having some brilliant marketers and planners working round the clock. All efforts and investments on building these brands can go down the drain as basic answers to the above questions have not been sought or clarified.  And finally, we can wonder how the 279+ billion INR advertising industry, which has to operate under this handicap and be satisfied with the limited and grossly inadequate information in syndicated research space on which they base their entire media investment decisions. We can just imagine how much extra money is being spent to measure the effectiveness of campaigns individually by advertisers and agencies, yet not giving the desired results because the tools itself are inadequately designed and fail to consider important aspects highlighted above without which media planning decisions can only be at the best guess-work. In fact, none of the above is really news to people experienced in the fields of brand management, marketing, media planning & buying, media research or market research in India. The industry professionals are well aware of the issues raised above, but no holistic, concrete model has yet been created to address these crucial issues. There is a great need for action to join the multiple dots raised in the above questions so that a syndicated research study can be created for media planning. This model can be used by media agencies, 32
  • 33. advertising agencies, and most importantly by the client who is investing his hard earned money to build his brand. Note - The hypothetical scenario in this chapter is based on ethnography study and qualitative research conducted in August 2012. To comment on this chapter SMS <AB1> space <your comment> to 08080445599 OR give a missed call on 08080445599 to post a like 33
  • 34. 2. The Unexpected Mutation Firstly, let us take a quick glance at the environment which existed in India a couple of decades ago, with relation to media, media usage and media exposure. This chapter forms the nucleus of this book and our proposed model, as it actually establishes the fact that though media expansion in all dimensions has occurred by leaps and bounds, correspondingly the methodology and refinement in media research and measurement has almost remained stagnant. Understanding of this chapter will lay the foundation for our proposed, developed concept and current deficiencies in the space of media research. This will help MarCom professionals understand whether media research has really been transformed as it should be. This will provide answers as to whether any obvious looking changes and new media research products are genuinely answering the current confused and cluttered scenario. Socio-Economic Environment in India in the 1980’s and early 1990’s: The job psyche in general during this era was to be occupied in a 9am to 5pm job. Securing a steady, government job was top priority 34
  • 35. for most educated people. People primarily had the mindset of focusing on family, social activities with their relatives and social gatherings of community members. During those days, the general psyche even in urban areas was to stay put in community ghettos and celebrate festivals en-masse. The frequency of visiting friends and attending all community events without a miss; whether marriage, engagement, etc. was extremely high. This was a typical single-screen theatre population. The socialising environment that we follow today was very different just two-three decades ago. Glamorous socialising with a cosmopolitan friendcircle, groups heavily involved and hooked onto digital platforms that are common today were non-existent then. Because there were no social networking sites available, neither had internet penetration nor multiple TV channels had evolved. For couples, having children was a necessity, while cars, telephones and video players were a luxury. Therefore the environment was neither complex nor cluttered for purposes of marketing and communication. People religiously read newspapers, magazines daily for at least 1 – 2 hours, that being the main source of information. Newspapers also had a maximum size of 8 – 16 pages, with fewer advertisements. Similarly, on TV, there was only one government owned national television channel. The TV content which was broadcasted during the evening time-band mainly consisted of entertainment programmes with a social message reflecting the issues then being faced by the common man. Overall, lack of multiplicity of channels and predictable TV content made the MarCom professional’s life far easier in those days than in today’s era. People usually in those days used to wind up viewing TV by 10 pm at the latest. 35
  • 36. Furthermore, late-night radio used to be the common media habit among the masses. There used to be popular radio programmes which are still fresh in listener’s memory (such as Binaca Geet-Mala or Bournvita quiz contest) for those listeners who grew up in those times. Switching between media platforms during the same time-band by audiences was not a prevalent practice those days. Clearly, this was an era of single time-band, single media platform exposure, with almost the same level of audience involvement throughout. This meant that unlike in today’s era, cross-media engagement with multiple-genre exposure did not exist. Interestingly, media planning and buying during that era was amazingly manual in nature. The media planners used to refer to circulation figures provided by Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) as NRS was irregular in its reporting, usually with a gap of 5-8 years. The ABC data did not contain any individual readership figures for specific newspapers or profiles of readers. The first ever National Readership Survey was initiated by Indian Society of Advertisers and The Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) in 1970. Later on in 1995 three industry bodies namely, ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation), AAAI and INS (Indian Newspaper Society) formed National Readership Studies Council (NRSC) to make NRS reporting more regular. However, Pre-NRSC era, NRS was not regular in its frequency of reporting. Therefore, planners used to apply their own judgement of readership growth to previously reported readership figures by NRS for their day-to-day planning activities. In the absence of recent readership numbers, planners used to calculate the readers per copy 36
  • 37. (RPC), by considering the latest available circulation figures and derived readership figures basis the above described method. Also, these readership numbers were provided in the form of a printed report. One can just imagine the amount of labour this required to analyse. But, this makes today’s veteran planners fundamentally so strong (as they grew up working in that tough era) that even today they have the capacity for accurate number crunching without using sophisticated computers and software. TV ratings also used to come in printed reports provided by one of the golden-era research agency, Operations Research Group (also known as ORG). Unlike today’s planners, 1980’s planners used to do a lot of manual number crunching since computers as well as clickand-go systems were virtually absent. Obviously there were no people-meter machines to capture viewership data. Weekly diary method was used for capturing viewership and this was reported on a monthly basis in the form of printed reports. It is surprising to note that plan hygiene (robustness, accuracy of data) and optimisation used to be done with the help of research agencies as well. This factor is almost missing these days. Many of the media planners used to send the plan to the research agency for optimisation and hygiene checks. As compared to this, typically nowadays management trainees are trained on how to directly generate software output and are tagged as ‘Planners’ with no conceptual and statistical understanding. This means that nowadays, generating output from software is what planning has been reduced to. Operating the software which has been pre-programmed is the limit of their knowledge as planners. 37
  • 38. Environment in the late 1990’s: Now let us gradually move on to the late 1990’s. This was an era of introduction and adoption. The environment of the liberalised economy with fruits of LPG (Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation) was actually being seen by the common man. Consumer segments started seeing multiple brands in products and services and this was also the case with print and TV. There was a rapid launch of new newspapers and magazines creating their own space, genre and specialty. New TV channels with multiple programme genres mushroomed. The privately owned television channel industry, which started with Zee TV and Star TV in 1992 and 1993 respectively, saw a spurt of national and regional channels. This led to multiple genres and hence multiple options for MarCom professionals to choose from. This was a thrilling start to the complex multiple options available on Indian TV space. All of a sudden, the media space was looking action-packed and juicy. This was an era when advertisers, media agencies and media houses came together to form a Not-for-Profit organisation called ‘Media Research Users Council’ (MRUC) in 1994, which started Indian Readership Survey (IRS), for providing uninterrupted and continuous readership reports. Similarly, in 1998, TAM Media Research was formed in partnership with joint industry body comprising ISA, IBF (Indian Broadcasting Foundation) and AAAI for TV audience measurement through latest people-meter technology. This was just one side of this complex era. 38
  • 39. On the other side, there was one formidable and potential platform secretly shaping up. And that was the introduction of cellular phones and the internet. The common man started using cellular phones in India in 1995 and since then this industry has not looked back. It has only grown rapidly in its features and offerings. Adding fuel to the fire, another electronic machine that was making waves in the middle class households and in offices was the desktop computers and portable computers, popularly called as laptops. In fact the second half of the 1990’s laid the foundation for contemporary electronic media platforms. Internet accessibility and connectivity for communication was exciting and all over the place. It derived its huge appeal for younger audiences due to easy connectivity, access and the sharing of knowledge from across the globe. The traditional media was not quiet either. In the year 1997, the government gave permission for the first ever FM radio channel to be launched. This added Times FM/ Air Rainbow to the almost drylooking radio space in India. This actually brought back the attention of many professional media houses to enter the radio space and create huge value for audio media properties. Environment in the early 2000’s: After the much hyped year of 2000, there was a rise in infrastructural projects and hence there entered a culture of shopping malls, multiplexes, food courts, flyover networks, residential colonies with multiple sky scrapers, etc. This changed people’s behaviour for spending their leisure time, outings, eating habits and cinema viewing. This also led to growth of multiple and valuable space for 39
  • 40. outdoor billboards/hoardings. In fact, OOH, from being just a hoarding on the roadside, moved to bus-shelters, shopping malls, kiosks, airports, petrol pumps, flyovers, food courts, etc. There started privately owned FM radio stations mushrooming in Indian radio space. This added a new dimension to compete with the existing highly competitive Print and TV industry. There were 108 and 338 FM radio licenses issued in phase I (2000) and II (2005) respectively. Private FM licenses attracted professional media houses; as many as 9 broadcasters in phase I and 40 broadcasters in phase II to offer contemporary audio properties and hence created more options for MarCom professionals. Environment in the late 2000’s: Welcome to the recent past which moved from hesitant shopping mall masses to frequent visitors of shopping malls, hyper markets, and multiplexes. This led to innovations in traditional and contemporary media platforms, which we all directly or indirectly witnessed. This was an era of the touch-screen smart-phone, internet access at the finger tips, multiple apps on phones, viewing any favourite audio-video content on YouTube and so on. But the real game changer was different breed. This was the initiation of the revolutionary social networking sites. This created more options for MarCom professionals on a different domain called social media. But, what was happening to TV and print media in all this while? 40
  • 41. TV was witnessing newly defined genres called reality shows and cricket which entered in the shorter form of entertainment for the entire family called T-20, and many others. Print media witnessed foreign specialty magazines entering the Indian market. Moreover, TV as a medium got a new definition for reception called Direct-toHome (DTH), Digital Video Recorder (DVR). This set the climax for MarCom space which is really thrilling and complex development for MarCom professionals and advertisers. This was the time when gradual but firm voices from the advertisers for visible Return-On-Investment were raised to justify their MarCom expenses. This is rightly a matter of major concern for clients who are spending unheard sums for increasing small amount of visibility. This is definitely going to be the question which will shape the direction of MarCom in the future. To comment on this chapter SMS <AB2> space <your comment> to 08080445599 OR give a missed call on 08080445599 to post a like 41
  • 42. 3. The Jumbled State of MarCom The marketing and communication process, or MarCom in its popular abbreviated form, has been associated with many stakeholders. These stakeholders include and range from marketing executives at the advertiser’s end, to media agencies, to creative agencies, to media owners and their offerings, to market research agencies. Unfortunately, despite so many professional stakeholders involved in the MarCom process, it has been observed that the interest of the client (advertiser) which should be the primary concern and focus for each of these stakeholders, gets diluted somewhere. Thus, the role of ‘Brand Custodian’, which these stakeholders should primarily be playing, is not being done effectively. Also, since so many ‘middle-men’ are involved, the budget for the client to receive the benefits of genuine research rises far beyond what would have been otherwise necessary, with dips in quality of research output frequently occurring to add insult to this budget injury. Interestingly, all these stakeholders bring with them their own unique perspective and insights for brand communication and media execution. Each of these mentioned parties feel that they are contributing the best to the final output within the budget allocated to them. Usually they may have to settle for a limited budget and have to limit their 42
  • 43. offerings. Advertisers may show some flexibility in terms of enhancing the budget and offerings after considering the pitch made by these parties such as media agencies, creative agencies and market research agencies. Most importantly the advertisers currently depend a lot on competitor activities and industry advertising pattern to decide their advertising budgets. This is a typical scenario prevailing across the industry and also across continents. On the other hand, media agencies too depend a lot on observing industry trends and competition to see how best they could match the leaders of the respective industry and competition within the industry, to take their decisions. The various stakeholders are supposed to primarily act as consultants, and provide professional, ethical advice, which should be in the best interests of the advertiser. It is not necessary that industry patterns and competitor actions are the best guide to deciding ad spends. If this were the case, the advertiser could well have taken the decisions by himself without the need of professional agencies, just by observing what his competitors were doing. Yet it is often observed that these agencies encourage the advertiser to increase Ad-spend simply because they feel that his competitor is doing so and he should not be left behind. Market research agencies and media agencies focus their datacapturing efforts and advisory efforts for MarCom on the advertiser’s competitor’s efforts. They give little attention to innovative and productive methods which could provide the advertiser with far more value for money. Overall the entire thrust is mainly competition-centric and thus leads to conveniently copying what is going around in the industry. At the first glance, this method appears to be the logical thing to do. But are we missing something here? 43
  • 44. Let us understand this process in the context of the two main stakeholders involved.  MarCom at the advertiser’s end As we know, advertisers initiate their media campaigns for existing or new product and services. The budget that they allocate for the campaign largely depends on industry standards prevailing at that time of the year. This is mainly influenced by how much their nearest competitor is spending on his campaign. Almost every advertiser applies a mix of their own wisdom and logic for deciding the budget. Within a specified budget, they use their own qualitative judgment to split this budget between various media platforms. They may sometimes call for a media reach split from their media agencies to decide on what budget allocation would go into each of the platforms, viz. TV, print, radio, digital, below-the-line activities, and so on. But the critical questions that need to be addressed are:  Is the ‘Ad-expenditure report’ of the industry (competitor’s ad-spend), a sufficient logic to answer the question of your own media split?  Whether just relying on ‘reach’ as a tool is sufficient enough to decide the split of media budgets across platforms?  Have we understood the media-mix modelling that can help us on scientific media-split and investment or is this model rarely applied in practice? According to Schultz and Swallen (2000), both advertisers as well as media agencies lack the scientific logic and the data insights that can be utilised for deciding the media-mix investment split. Schultz and 44
  • 45. Swallen further expressed that simply depending on reach and frequency may cost the advertisers dearly at the time of postevaluation of the campaign as the campaign may under-deliver of over-deliver. In fact, media-mix modelling, which should ideally be used as one of the main scientific tools to decide on media-mix investment split, is a tool which is conveniently ignored by most agencies. Since, if the tool were used, the end results could vastly differ from the one that is suggested by the agency, and the advertiser could question the agencies for incorrect advice. Interestingly, these days many media agencies conduct research, develop media-mix models and try to implement them in their planning process, but more for the purpose of showing that they are doing it and not with genuine intent. This activity is still not popular due to the complexities involved, non-continuous data feed (lack of relevant research and model building) administered as and when required explain the casual approach adopted by the agencies. It is not imbibed in their process. Finally, a few pertinent questions need to be clearly answered before initiating investment in advertising budgets:  Are we taking care of the media-mix based on different dayparts?  Are we addressing the ‘mood swing’ of audiences by dayparts and hence their differing receptivity at different times of the day?  How do we know that a particular media-mix is the best for a particular day part? 45
  • 46.  How do we know the effectiveness of a particular media-mix for a brand in a day-part, as compared to competing brands which are also advertising in same day part? Is it better to select a non-cluttered day-part where your competitors are not present or should you join the herd? No current currency gives these answers.  Have you optimised your media plan to cater to the local audience, at the same time maintaining a national scale?  Are your plans and your execution taking care of the dynamic receptivity of your brand’s most desired audience segment, e.g. young and affluent, or may be the middle-class youth brigade?  More importantly, do you still believe that your target audience is exposed to the same media-mix in the same proportion across different day-parts at the same level of receptivity? We doubt the answer to the last question will be an affirmative from even the most learned and informed of advertisers. And further, are your current media plans and corresponding execution taking care of weekday v/s weekend, in home v/s out-ofhome with different media-mix and emotional hang-ups of individuals?  MarCom process at the Media agency end Almost all our friends in the media field would agree that the manner in which media planning and execution at the agency end is currently done is extremely predictable and pre-decided at any given point of time. Whether it is the media budget split for popular and 46
  • 47. traditional platforms such as TV, print and radio, or conducting some below-the-line activities. Media-planners have pre-conceived notions about each platform and budgets (these are mostly decided by advertisers and mostly agreed by planners without change). It just follows the established general trend of TV as receiving the maximum investment, followed by print, radio and internet, with a pre-defined excel format to be sent to their respective clients. Often, the highest break-up is recommended for TV with special preferences to specific channels, not because that would suit the advertiser’s needs the best, but because most media agencies have rebates understanding with TV channels, provided they give them a certain volume of advertisements. This process at the media agency end is so prevalent, that the other day we were discussing media planning and execution with one of our friends from European market research agency, and to our surprise he said he is well aware of how media planning and execution is haphazardly done in most Indian agencies. He described to us that in his experience with Indian media planners, most of them appear to be middle-men negotiating with media owners on rates and asking for value additions. They seem to be focusing more on CPRP and value-addition but less on the strategic needs for the brands they represent with respect to the changing dynamics of media space, divided audience attention and its impact. We had to agree in the affirmative. So what exactly happens at the media agency end? Agencies typically analyse category and competition spend to arrive at the media-mix spend. To provide some consumer analysis, the 47
  • 48. agency may use Target Group Index (TGI) and IRS data. This analysis on the consumer ranges from consumer psychographics, to media consumption pattern, to product consumption. But finally, spends for the brand is decided mainly on the basis of category and competition media-mix to have a higher share of voice. This by itself is not sufficient as highest share of voice does not guarantee results as it is only exposure-based and not engagementbased. What if the category and competition spends throw up a different picture than what consumer psychographics and consumer media consumption tells? Will a typical media planner have the courage and the ethics to propose and advocate to their advertiser, the correct media spend break-up attributed to consumer analysis (which is the right way of doing things), and not base his decisions on the category and competition spend mix alone? The answer to this question is very well known. Today, media buying has become like a housewife going to the market to purchase vegetables. “How much is this cauliflower? Any discount? Okay, give me so much worth”. No intelligence is applied. Therefore we say that currently, the media-mix spend proportions for any brand are extremely predictable. (Typically 60 percent for TV, 35 percent for print media and 5 percent of the leftovers or crumbs for radio, internet and others, irrespective of what the actual research would show). Additionally, while making a media plan, duplication of audiences for the same content across different media platforms is usually missed out (deliberately?) A simple example for this can be - readership of e-papers, news’ portals; YouTube channels. There seems to be no 48
  • 49. answer for capturing this behaviour of audiences. Furthermore, browsing YouTube accidentally could also act as a catalyst or influencer for attracting viewership permanently, similarly for other media. As another example, a viewer of a popular TV serial may view a few repeat episodes on the internet during his/her free time. This may become a habit and may lead him/her to watch most of the episodes on internet and less on TV in future. Because, the TV serial episodes on the internet are uninterrupted, free from commercial time plus conveniently available at any time of his choice. There can also be a case of a male member who just happened to become a general entertainment channel (GEC) viewer because of his wife’s viewing habits. He might find a particular GEC serial interesting once he starts viewing it passively. He then later on finds the internet to be a handy medium to follow the episodes on YouTube as he is unable to reach home after office on time to view it on TV. Similarly, a working woman in urban India may watch a popular TV serial on the internet as well as on TV as she is not able to watch the complete episodes because of disturbances arising from channelswitching by other family members. However, watching TV serials on the internet may lead her to watch episodes of other similar serials through available online links. How basic logic is being overlooked by planners can be explained with the help of an example in cluttered media space and advertising on such platforms. For hypothetical example, by category and competition spend, if the media mix for bathing soaps is 75% : 25% for TV : Print. 49
  • 50. Planners may argue that the bathing soap category in the above example is TV and Print driven, so it is logical to invest on these platforms. They can also cite the example of competition spends. The logical question arises, why is the utilisation of radio, which is a completely uncluttered medium for the mentioned category in this case not being suggested by planners? A brand could most probably get the highest exposure on an uncluttered radio platform for the category. For example, the recall of the new range of Cinthol’s bathing & shower gel products was driven by the word association of “It’s Awesome”. A similar jingle could be created for radio to attract more ears and increase frequency for driving more awareness, consideration for brand, etc. According to Collins, Mallett, Traub (2002), usually the budget allocation among different media platforms are pre-conditioned to media planning and media portfolio proportions. Within individual media platforms too, vehicle-wise relative budget allocations turn out to be predictable. Following such a process of pre-decided or predictable media allocation, some media platforms suffer a negative bias, whereas other media (such as TV), enjoy more advertising spend than can be justified logically. The same applies for withinmedia platform vehicle-wise spend allocation.  Leakages at cost and message level/spill over, under-utilisation of media platforms Needless to say, adopting the above mentioned process typically leads to spill over, under-reach, negative connotations, and many 50
  • 51. more negative avoidable scenarios in the media planning and communication process. Let us understand this with an example of a hypothetical automobile brand we have created called ‘Furious’. The brand ‘Furious’ is an international brand well established in India since the last 3 years. The brand is coming out with its new variant in the luxury sedan segment. The advertiser decides on a media budget with a split of 40 : 35 : 15 : 05 corresponding to TV : Print : Radio : Outdoor respectively. The advertiser decided this split based on what his nearest competitors were spending on various media. He briefs the media agency on his choice of budget and split. The media agency agrees with his split logic and supports it with the advertising expenditure of competitors and some basic media mix from IRS. The media agency then goes on to prepare an attractive looking media plan which would provide the required reach and frequency. The advertiser seems to be a little sceptical at first but agrees with minor editing and there on the media agency mainly focuses on value addition and discounts with media property owners. The media plan is designed for a period of 4 weeks, and is well executed by media agencies with fairly good creative on hand. Now it is time to evaluate the executed plan. And the result is not bad. The brand manager from the advertiser’s end (car brand Furious), seems a little conservative in displaying his pleasure but he thinks he himself did a great job by guiding his agency and achieved the desired results on the parameters of reach and frequency. There is not much difference between the delivered reach and frequency and what was depicted in the media plan before execution. 51
  • 52. BUT: The top management at ‘Furious’ doesn’t seem to be agreeing and pulled up the brand manager/marketing GM. The reason: there seems to be very little impact on sales and brand recall as the campaign neither resulted in Top-of-Mind nor did it motivate the audience for purchase enquiries for the vehicle as per independent research actioned by ‘Furious’ top management. The pertinent question that hits the mind is what went wrong. The advertisers as well as the planners had thought that the plan was very well thought of with a good budget split, good creative, almost perfect execution and it achieved the desired reach and frequency. The answer lies below:  Was the budget scientifically decided?  Was the budget figure optimised such as that anything above it would be a waste and anything below it would be significantly low to achieve the desired reach and frequency?  Was the deciding base for the media-mix right?  Was the media-mix based on detailed consumer insights?  Did that media-mix and execution reach to the actual audience who were potential buyers of that segment of car?  Was it flexible enough to take care of all day-parts?  Did it cover emotional receptivity with a particular mediamix?  Has it considered possible disturbances for the target audience while the advertisement was being telecast? 52
  • 53.  Was the brand’s USP delivered by creative across media platforms?  Was the creative message delivery backed by research insights? Let us learn how to address these questions in a practical and a profitable manner in the forthcoming chapters. To comment on this chapter SMS <AB3> space <your comment> to 08080445599 OR give a missed call on 08080445599 to post a like 53
  • 54. 4. The Bitter Truth There are a few bitter truths which need to be understood about the way MarCom is currently operating. These could be termed as ‘open secrets’, in the sense that most people involved with MarCom are aware of these. Some industry experts may term them as inevitable, unavoidable truths of the MarCom space. These truths are that the way in which certain processes are run is not in the best interest of the advertisers. Yet they are done because they are easy-ways-out, and they could also generate more revenue for the agencies. They started off as the default mode of operating many years ago when MarCom in India was in its infancy. Over time, they became habits, bad habits. Despite all involved being well aware of these truths, yet there are denials from the side of media agencies, from research agencies end and from media owners’ side. Let us now examine what these ‘open secrets’ pertaining to MarCom are all about from the various stakeholders’ perspectives. 54
  • 55.  Biased approach unconsciously): (whether consciously or While planning, ideally the classic approach of striking the right balance between rational forces and conventional wisdom should be adopted. Unfortunately, it has been seen in our experience with the media industry that planners and buyers do have their biased inclinations, for and against specific media properties for reasons other than advertisers’ benefit. Then they usually go ahead and defend the selection of property they have illogically done. Media planners/buyers may give reasons in the context of what makes them choose these media properties over others, but the reasons may not be logical. This is how they become biased towards specific properties over time, and may miss the good plot for the brand they are representing by giving more weightage to their personal likes and dislikes.  Hastening the planning process: Response within the deadline or before the expected deadline is always appreciated. However, blindly following and applying this process and making what should ideally be a thoughtful process a mere deadline oriented mechanical output is hazardous to the advertiser’s interests. This is so common an error across the MarCom fraternity that professionals have become almost immune to such madness. The reason it is dangerous is that every campaign has a specific objective, and this objective requires a careful marketing and communication 55
  • 56. approach. Within the framework of this approach, planners have to identify and select media properties which are available in ATL, BTL, and in the New Media space. Most of the time, in a rush to hasten the entire process, MarCom professionals tend to blindly copy what was done in the previous campaign and maybe tweak it a bit to make it look new. In reality there is so much to choose from, so many innovative ideas to offer. Isn’t that what a typical media planning exercise should be focusing on? Rather, media planners have turned into ‘speed machines’ in order to produce the fastest delivery and feel satisfied with it. Ideally, if the advertiser gives an unrealistically short deadline, it is the duty of the MarCom professional to advise the advertiser that more time would be needed for a quality job. But because MarCom people are scared of losing business they do not give their clients the correct professional advice, which is what they should rightly be doing. By right, it is the job of the media planner as a brand custodian to stand up for the brand they represent and speak to their client about the unrealistic deadlines.  Blind, blanket, creative application across media: Readers will agree that every individual media platform has its own distinct advantages and also its own unique way of delivering the advertiser’s message. 56
  • 57. However, it is an open secret that literally the same creative is being run for a brand across media platforms many times. The television commercial which is an audio-video creative is sometimes played on radio as audio minus the video. Here we miss the basic fact that the TV commercial is the net result of audio and video work. Whereas, the radio creative should be devised to create visual images in the mind of the listener, as radio is known to be ‘the theatre of mind’. So logically, the same audio which is part of the TV commercial should not be taken and used as the audio content for radio advertising. Surprisingly, television commercials are recklessly translated to online platforms without any change. Interestingly, online is an interactive media and could well be utilised for a call for the purpose of driving action/creative message. It does not take rocket science to say that brands that could have utilised each unique media platform effectively miss the opportunity to exploit the individual media to their fullest.  Inflexible post-evaluation benchmark: We are all aware that the current media environment is extremely complex. We can all very well distinguish between above-the-line, below-the-line, new media activities, etc., but do we really keep these in mind while performing post-evaluation of MarCom? Usually we have fixed post-evaluation criteria such as reach and frequency with pre-estimated CPRP/CPT. However; there are so many things that change or happen during the lifespan of the 57
  • 58. campaign that require readjustment of pre-decided post evaluation criteria. It may require post-evaluation to be done as a mix of qualitative and quantitative criteria, depending on the changes which have occurred. It may also require changing the benchmark according to many geo-political environmental factors ranging from natural calamities, big political news-stories; major events which took place in the film industry or may be the release of a movie that unexpectedly became a hit or flop, etc. In totality these factors do have a major role to play in the net delivery and hence the receptivity of the completed campaign. However, as they were not factored into consideration at the time the campaign was planned, typically the post-evaluation criteria which were also planned in advance are now not changed to include these media highlights. No care is taken to revamp post-evaluation criteria, nor is such advice given to the advertiser, who thus loses out.  Not understanding the appropriateness of media property well before inclusion: Planning is a science of combining logic, numbers and creativity with a modern and non-conventional approach. However, in the process of hastening, it has often became the habit of planners to include media properties in a campaign without fully understanding the suitability for the specific brand, just going on the 58
  • 59. basis of the popularity of the high-impact property. (e.g. Big Boss, IPL matches, etc.) Wouldn’t our readers agree with us that understanding the basic characteristics of media properties and their audiences is essential to create sync with the brand for which they are buying? Wouldn’t it be sensible to understand and hence anticipate the future delivery prospects of selected properties with the brand for which it is being purchased at a heavy cost? There are everyday examples for such haphazard occurrences as we have explained occurring in the MarCom space today.  Blanket, fixed duration of campaigns irrespective of product cycle: Another bitter truth relates to campaign duration. This is something that is known to everyone irrespective of whether it relates to established brands, newly launched brands, different product variants, life cycle of a brand, path-to-purchase cycle with respect to MarCom, etc. Typically, planners will have their own standard campaign duration to suggest, such as 4-6 weeks for every campaign. However, each product category will have its own path-to-purchase time cycle. To effectively address this path-to-purchase cycle, the nature and the duration of the media campaign need to be carefully planned. Sadly, we often see a blanket campaign approach by planners across product categories. 59
  • 60.  Deal focused approach: Perhaps the most talked about and commonly practiced bitter truth could be the deal-focused approach adopted by agencies. This is to say that many of the agencies may not be working in the best interests of their client but certainly work in the best interests of their own balance sheets. Deals are often struck between the agencies, the media owners (TV channels, newspapers, etc.), and the unfortunate advertiser is also dragged into this deal as a party. The deals consist of agencies buying media space in bulk volumes with a media owner to be consumed during the year. These deals often have hidden goodies for agencies and this is not a startling revelation as professionals in the industry know this very well. It is like doctors getting goodies from Pharmacy companies to push their medicines to patients. The biggest proof that this happens is that advertisers are now hiring media-auditing firms to evaluate whether the agency has acted in their best interest. The very fact that such media-audit firms are in existence proves the point mentioned by us. How does the advertiser lose out on such deals? Very simple. Because a certain volume has been committed to the media-owner by the agency, it has to be consumed by the agency, irrespective of whether the media continues to perform well or not during the course of the year. They will make their advertiser consume and pay for it. The smart brains in the industry will ask who does not do that. This is part of the profession or professional hazards. But, does that make 60
  • 61. the agency sustainable in the long run? No wonder clients shuffling between agencies in MarCom space is rapidly increasing.  Irrational proposals by agencies to conduct campaign bursts and levels of impressions: Usually the proposal during the new business pitch or proposal to existing clients would have a certain number of bursts during a year and also the level of impressions/GRPs. But, how do agencies arrive at a specific number of bursts during a year and what is the rationale for deciding a particular GRP level? The answer to the above question would always be – ‘It is the industry standard’, or, ‘Competition is doing it so you cannot be left behind’, or sometimes it is a purely intuitive decision without any data or rationale supporting it. This means that competitors in the industry, as well as irrational judgment drive the number of ad bursts and impression levels. That could also mean that the pattern of audience behaviour, anticipation of upcoming properties, analysis of clutter and visibility, etc. are either completely ignored or given less weightage, whereas these should be the prime reasons for decision. Typically, it has been observed that decisions regarding burst, pulse or maybe pure BTL activities are taken on the basis of industry judgments, benchmarking the nearest competition rather than evaluating the audience and media scenario afresh. 61
  • 62. It requires a fresh approach re-evaluation as media platforms and innovations are multiplying and rapidly evolving these days.  Misplaced understanding on equating Content exposure with Commercial exposure: It has been universally taken for granted in media that media reach/vehicle/property is the question that is being asked and discussed whenever campaigns are planned. This question is brought up with the anticipation and misplaced confidence that commercials placed in such media properties will also have high exposure. With regard to print media, publication exposure/readership does not equate commercial exposure, (as is wrongly thought). The same is the case with radio quarter hour listenership and also for TV as viewership measurements are done for a minimum time-span of 1 minute, whereas the average commercials are of 20 seconds duration. So the benefit of doubt is always wrongly attributed that listener/reader/viewer has listened/read/viewed the advertisement, whereas there is an equal chance that he may not have done so.  Lack of communication between agencies and advertisers: Often, media planners and buyers get instructions from their clients to develop some innovative ideas for their upcoming campaign. Sometimes, clients may say that they want to quickly decide and close on the media properties that they wish to freeze on. In such a scenario, planners and buyers typically call all possible media owners 62
  • 63. and push them to quickly send across proposals on innovative campaigns; sponsorship related upcoming media properties, or creative ideas, etc. Media owners deliver as directed in anticipation of big business. However, it has been observed that clients/advertisers suddenly may not respond or get completely silent on what they had asked inputs for. On the other hand, media planners and buyers avoid responding to media owners on providing feedback or some answers as to what the client is planning or whether he has dropped his plans. Such uncommunicative behaviour proves costly in times of genuine urgency when clients really want something quickly delivered. At such times, the media owners take them casually, not knowing whether this is a genuine inquiry or just fishing for information. Therefore, media planners and buyers need to respond and reply to media owners, whether the response is positive or negative or on hold, as constant and clear communicating with media owners helps develop sound relationships and credibility. The current noncommunicative method makes all lose out.  Blur briefing: Perhaps, the briefing element of the MarCom process may require the maximum attention. Often, the briefing to media owners from the agency side happens before any specific or concrete action plan has been decided by the planner. Most media planners and buyers just rush for the briefing and give a directionless briefing about the proposed campaign to the media owners. Such briefs are often lacking in specific objectives or even in the budget range that they 63
  • 64. are looking for their client. In such cases it is difficult for media owners/vendors to deliver information without precise objective and budgets to make proper decisions. Basically, in such a blur-brief, the media owners lack basic answers as to Why, What, and how of the campaign. This would project a wrong and unprofessional impression about media planners and buyers as being ill-informed practitioners.  Over-focus on price aspect during meetings: Usually a business development team of the media owners visits the media planners and buyers. This is a very common business practice in the MarCom industry e.g. the sales team of a channel visits a planner’s office. Many media planners and buyers do not leverage this opportunity to strike new ideas/innovations as they are too involved in negotiating cost competitiveness. Most media planners and buyers take these meetings very casually and do not brain-storm with business development teams on creative issues which could help the advertiser. This casual approach may hinder their learning and updates about available media properties in the market. It may be possible that the owner’s business development team wants to showcase something genuinely new and cost effective which would be appreciated by advertisers. But this is lost due to focus on only cost negotiation by planners. Therefore, being attentive to matters other than price negotiations at meetings with business development teams is important. This rarely happens. 64
  • 65.  Nothing good about ‘Make Good’ Once upon a time a learned gentleman said, “We are wonderfully unorganised”. This unorganised way of life slowly and gradually became a habit with wide spread acceptance. Earlier, MarCom practitioners would agree that dropping of a TV spot from a planned TV programme was seen as an occasional error. Over a period of time this has become so common that MarCom practitioners have accepted it as a way of life, which is ‘compensated’ with something which the media owners call as ‘Make Good’. The term ‘Make Good’ means the TV channel would compensate the dropped/missed TV spot which was committed by accommodating the committed spot somewhere else (other programme during day parts) or during the same programme a few days later. Ideally this should be a rare and occasional error committed by media owners, however; it has almost become a standard industry practice indulged in by channels on a daily basis. This is definitely not in the best interests of the client. ...Such are the bitter truths in practice today visible to and experienced by every MarCom professional. They only demean the professional levels of the industry, and such bitter truths occurring with repeated frequency are one of the primary reasons why the need for this book has been felt. To comment on this chapter SMS <AB4> space <your comment> to 08080445599 OR give a missed call on 08080445599 to post a like 65
  • 66. 5. Industry black boxes In India, each of the media planning currencies has got their own set of limitations. There are currencies for individual media platforms such as IRS for the readership and demographic data, TAM for TV viewership, RAM for radio listenership, and other related studies which are used as add-ons. In India, these are the media planning currencies that have been predominantly used for many years. There are clearly visible gaps that need to be filled to avoid situations like the case study of ‘Furious’ that we discussed in a previous chapter. However, planners, buyers and media property owners are much occupied with taking briefs and making plans, involved in rate negotiations and offering value adds. Therefore in all this, the fundamental gaps that are critical to be filled for the brand’s effective communication and long term health are forgotten or in some cases are not known at all. Interestingly, during one of the casual discussions related to the MarCom industry between the authors of this book and colleagues from a European market research industry, we as authors were defensive of these practices. While our defensive strategy was more of a face-saving exercise to defend the self respect of Indian MarCom practices, in reality we agreed with what they said. Unfortunately, in India, MarCom in many cases is more about discount negotiating and 66
  • 67. value add broking for the clients rather than an insight driven approach, which is what it should really be. So let us start bisecting some issues, which if re-examined would improve the efficiency of our existing planning currencies. These will be eye openers to many naïve and extremely ‘busy’ media planners and marketers.  Separate currency for every medium Traditionally, media planning is more to do with individual media platform planning, each done separately. The synergies of an advertising campaign cannot be brought about effectively by considering individual platform deliveries (reach and frequency). In today’s complex multi-media interconnected world, MarCom planning should ideally deal with integrated multiplatform planning with the critical aspect of ‘message receptivity’. This is because of multiple media being consumed at the same time by an individual, the rapidly changing engagement space, proliferation of media vehicles across media platforms, changing lifestyle, etc. And this list is endless. So the question that arises here is, have media planning currencies and brand solutions adapted to the aspects described above and consolidated on to a single currency? The existing currencies such as IRS for Print, TAM for TV, RAM for Radio, TGI for Psychographics, etc., could be handy tools for microlevel planning for individual media platform. However pre-planning and post-planning MarCom synergies cannot be addressed by individual currencies in an effective manner. 67
  • 68.  Certain currencies leading to incorrect estimation of audiences There are currencies that can be taken as ‘so called’ multimedia currencies as far as MarCom research goes. For example, one such currency, IRS, is a currency traditionally meant for medium such as print. The major problem with currencies such as IRS is the underreporting of other major platform’s reach. For example, current IRS data show radio listeners (weekly reach) in Mumbai to be around 39 lakhs. At the same time, another currency specifically meant for Radio medium, RAM, shows radio listeners in Mumbai to be around 1.04 crore. Which currency should we believe? Which currency should be used for making high level MarCom decisions? Why do such major discrepancies occur? One reason could be that IRS being primarily a currency to promote print media could be biased against other platforms (e.g. radio, internet), or possibly the methodology of one currency is not designed to capture and present other media platforms realistically. These currencies where we have shown that major discrepancies exist are very much used to conduct pre-planning media portfolio dispersion. If the numbers reported for individual media platforms by such currencies are highly biased or inaccurate, how can we expect them to do justice to pre-planning media investment split?  Audience research methodologies being misused for commercial gain by media owners Traditionally, newspaper readership is being captured with the methodology of showcasing the masthead (Newspaper Header) to 68
  • 69. respondents and asking them “Have you read or looked at the newspaper?” This means a mere ‘masthead’ exposure is assumed as readership as per current readership measurement surveys. This has also led to incorrect practices for influencing readership numbers in order to get a bigger pie of ad revenue. In the last decade, few newly launched publications seemed to have benefited from these loopholes in research, such as low cost yearly subscription to generate higher subscription numbers to enhance advertising revenue (selling newspaper’s ‘raddi’ fetched more money than the yearly subscription fees of Rs.99), OR providing a free copy of a newly launched newspaper along with an existing newspaper to ride piggyback on the popularity of the existing newspaper. One of the oldest ‘National Survey’ on readership used to conduct their field work (data collection) within a short time period (around 8 weeks), unlike IRS which is continuous and the field work duration is spread across the year. Also, the fieldwork period for this survey was known to the publishers. Therefore, it provided comfortable grounds for the publications to influence their readership during the fieldwork period by providing free copies, promotional offers, advertising, etc. This would mean that instead of genuine readership of a publication, field work (data collection) would capture temporary spikes influenced by the publications. Many publications have misused these artificially enhanced readership figures for their advertising revenue. We strongly believe that there should be a minimum time-frame necessary for any individual to be classified as a reader of any 69
  • 70. publication. For example, individuals who have spent at least ‘5 minutes’ on a particular newspaper/magazine (yesterday/ last 1 week / as per periodicity) should be considered as a definition for classifying as a ‘reader’ (Average Issue Reader / Claimed Reader). Also, it is imperative to realise that “Issue Exposure” does not equate to “Advertising Exposure” for that particular publication.  Reporting Errors Erroneous/unbelievable findings reported by audience measurement currencies are not news for the MarCom industry. However, the print readership figures reported by a ‘Nationwide Readership Survey’ that closed down in 2006 were laughable and ridiculous. The research and fieldwork for the same was conducted by the ‘reputed research agency’. The survey reported illiterate individuals to be the readers of many publications. And such warped results showed up for leading English language newspapers. Other ‘howlers’ which were reported showed up individuals below 20 years as ‘retired’ in their occupation. Was that survey focussing on child labours? Another gross population estimation error was reported in this ‘Nationwide Readership Survey’ of 2005, where the population of Ghaziabad (a booming suburb near Delhi) was shown to be Nine Lakh Fifty Eight Thousand. And in 2006, the very same survey conducted by the same ‘reputed research agency’ showed the population of Ghaziabad to be a mere One Lakh Six Thousand. A wonderful recipe for population control. 70
  • 71. The icing on the poisonous cake is that in August 2012, MRUC (Media Research User’s Council), a body of advertisers, agencies and media houses, (a kind of third party media research organisation), has AWARDED the same ‘reputed research agency’ to conduct the NEW IRS. Hopefully, this ‘reputed research agency’ will utilize this opportunity given to them to bring back the ‘gold standard’ in readership surveys. Such are the follies of these surveys which are unfortunately highly respected by the industry and they form the basis on which most of the MarCom investments are made today.  Different methodologies lead to different results with disastrous consequences (Diary v/s DAR) Different methodologies for the same objective appear to provide different results in research surveys. Each of these methods has their own disadvantages and advantages and that includes how the market perceives them. The different numbers emanating from the usage of different methodologies mean different opportunities to advertisers, broadcasters and agencies for revenue impact, visible return on investment and content formulation. Obviously all these methodologies cannot be giving the accurate results. Let’s take an example of MRUC which started India’s first radio listenership survey, ILT (Indian Listenership Track). MRUC had conducted a research to evaluate which methodologies out of DAR (day after recall) and Diary were the most robust and with minimum error. It was found that DAR reported a 55% inaccuracy, whereas Diary reported 85% inaccuracy. 71
  • 72. Post the results of these findings, TAM media research released the first round of Radio Audience Measurement with Diary methodology, pitching hard for real-time capturing of data. The radio station which according to ILT was the undisputed market leader for two consecutive years, suddenly dropped to number four position according to RAM, whom do we believe ILT or RAM? Further, this discrepancy occurred when there were only a total of 7 private FM stations available. The question is whether real time capturing of data (Diary), which was developed to overcome the inaccuracies of the previous methods (DAR), truly presents the actual picture. Another example which can be looked at is a famous radio station which recently converted from 100% Hindi content to 100% English content in Mumbai. When comparing three months of Hindi content (Pre-Launch) with 3 months of English content (Post-launch), the existing listenership survey conducted by a ‘renowned media research agency’ reported NO significant changes in either demographic consumption of the station across age groups, gender and socio economic class OR in tune-ins and time spent. On the contrary, lower socio-economic class showed growth for 100% English content for the same radio station. This either shows that all listeners are deaf or it shows how real time capturing of data could mislead due to some lesser known reasons or leakages in validation process or it shows that the data capturing and analysis are being done in a thoroughly unprofessional manner. Or could it be that there is a short-coming in the methodology itself and that fresh, new methods are urgently needed? 72
  • 73.  Universe Projections Listenership Survey and a well-known The existing Radio listenership survey from a ‘credible and trustworthy research organisation’ has shown utter carelessness and total lack of responsibility which has hindered the growth of this nascent medium. The listenership survey, which launched in 2007, used NRS 2005 universe estimates without applying growth rates for the intervening two years, which means its figures were two years out of sync with reality. This lethargic output was produced after charging humongous fees from the client for subscriptions. Logically, in any such media currency, the critical factor is the ‘estimation of the universe’, which needs to be done as accurately as possible. This can be done by using the latest available census figures and applying the intermediate growth rate to arrive at the current universe, OR by using IRS figures (since IRS provides updated universe estimation by demographics on a quarterly basis.) Moreover, this listenership survey continued to report these wrong universes for the next 3 years till the end of 2010. Not only was the universe underestimated but the radio penetration figures were also wrongly reported as compared to the baseline. When this ‘credible and trustworthy research organisation’ finally updated the universe in January 2011, some markets showed growth in population by 143% over the previous year. (Obviously, since for five years, the research agency had not bothered to update universe, now there was a sudden leap). 73
  • 74. The basic demographics such as gender ratios changed almost inversely for male : female from 57 : 43 to 41 : 59, socio-economic classes observed stark differences. For example, upper socioeconomic class demonstrated a drastic drop where as lower socioeconomic classes showed significantly unrealistic rise over the previous year. Conventional wisdom says that the demographic proportion takes almost one full decade to show the kind of change in proportion that this listenership survey showed in a single year. Such drastic changes in gender ratio were last witnessed during World War II, when millions of members of the male population were killed in a single year of warfare at the front. They cannot radically change in just one year. Can we expect such blunders from an organisation which is looked upon as the ‘Messiah’ of media research in India? Unfortunately, YES.  New age television viewership and measurement TV audience measurement through the ‘people-meter’ is accepted as the most appropriate technique among others, for measuring TV audiences. (It may be the most accepted, because there is currently no alternative. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king). However, the capability of the people-meter is completely dependent upon external factors such as continuous human intervention. Viewers need to press their respective button on the people-meter remote (as assigned to them) to let the system capture the data on who is viewing what. Which means it is safe to say that it 74
  • 75. does not automatically capture the viewers and their viewing patterns. It requires the viewer to keep in mind that they have to press the respective button every time they leave the room and enter the room. In an age, where people forget to turn off the switches while not occupying the room or even turn off the water taps after use, do you think people will remember religiously to switch on and off their respective people-meter remote button every time they enter and leave the room? There are high chances that the viewer may get interrupted by something and leave the TV room or for a while take an exit to do some other household activities without pressing the exit button. In such situations, the people-meter does not stop capturing the viewership of the audience, even though he/she is no longer viewing. What could be more erroneous than this? In the current people-meter, if the TV is ON but none of the panel members have logged in the system (i.e. pressed the people-meter button), then the people-meter would prompt for an input to register the viewing occasion for the respective panel member. But what if the panel member has logged in the system and is not present in the room. Is there any kind of validation thought about? This is why we say that each media currency tends to be biased towards the specific medium. However, today’s technological advancement allows us to make every impossible thing ‘possible’. There are Pyroelectric ("Passive") InfraRed sensors that can detect whether a human has moved in or out of the sensors range. And undoubtedly, these are very inexpensive chips. 75
  • 76. Another such technology is used by Microsoft in their Xbox 360 game console, ‘Kinect”, which is a motion sensing input device capable of facial recognition along with full-body 3D motion capture. Which means if incorporated in the people-meter, will not only sense the individuals present in the room, but also identify if they are viewing the TV along with their engagement through facial expressions. Also, a very interesting point crops up, which ideally should have been raised by MarCom professionals. Bear with us as we elaborate. With the new Digital Video Recorder now commonly available along with most of the DTH providers, individuals have now got into the habit of not watching programmes live, but recording their programmes of choice and watching at their convenience. For example, if a working individual chooses to record a programme which was telecast from 4 - 5 pm, reaches home at 8 pm, and watches this recorded programme from 9 - 10 pm. ANOTHER PROGRAMME BEING TELECAST FROM 9 - 10 PM ON SOME OTHER CHANNEL IS ALSO RECORDED BY HIM AT THE SAME TIME TO VIEW AT A FUTURE TIME OF HIS CONVENIENCE. The critical point we are making is, most people with DVR facility have now got into the habit of recording almost all programmes they wish to view, and while viewing the recorded programmes, most of them would forward and skip all the ads. The question is, at 9 pm in the case of the above example, what will the people-meter capture as viewership? Will it capture the 4 - 5 pm show which is being watched between 9 10 pm or will it capture the 9 - 10 pm show which is being recorded for future viewing at the same time? 76
  • 77. And will the people-meter be able to gauge whether the Ads have been skipped by the viewer while watching the recorded programme, which is bound to happen in most cases? BECAUSE THE 10-MIN AD BREAK CAN BE FORWARDED AND SKIPPED IN A MATTER OF FEW SECONDS.. Thus this DVR facility has the potential of making the people-meter defunct and useless. Definitely, the currencies such as TAM should be keeping up with these advances in technology. We are very sure they have an answer for the questions we have raised above. BUT, we are also sure the industry and MarCom professionals would love to see a practical demonstration, if they claim that the peoplemeter can take care of these issues. Speaking is so much easier than doing. According to research paper published by Andrew Green (2010), the people-meter is only capable of capturing what is being displayed on the TV screen and not the actual behaviour of viewers. Very interestingly, TV broadcasting would be going digital in coming days. It has already gone digital in the four metro cities of India as on November 2012. In future, there could be options of pay v/s free channels, where the pay channel will have only programme content and no advertisements, similar to the current HD channels. DVR (Digital Video Recording) technology is also expected to dominate in the near future, which means there would be more flexible and enhanced TV viewership. This would also include storing 77
  • 78. of favourite TV programmes by viewers who would watch them at their convenience while skipping the commercial breaks. There is also an increasing trend of VOD (Video on Demand) in direct-to-home households. Would this mean lower viewership for repeat telecast of TV content? Because as the name suggests, VOD is TV content that can be viewed at anytime as per the convenience of the individual viewer. More sob stories for MarCom due to digitization. The new-age television viewership will include CAS (set top box), as well as others like DTH, DVR, IPTV/VOD, internet TV, TV programmes via YouTube and mobile TV. Conventional wisdom says that subscribers of these technologies will have vastly differing lifestyle habits. As we say, “necessity is the mother of all invention”. For the first time, the audience will be in the driver’s seat for choosing their option of technology of reception. So is the case with TV channels that they wish to subscribe to. Now, looking at the traditional TV measurement system, the viewership base will be determined by subscription packages, as now the option of choosing a specific channel is available to the viewer. In the recently phased-out analogue system in 4 metros, for a fixed monthly subscription fee, subscribers got access to ALL TV channels. This means the sampling frame for estimating TV viewership is based on the audience pool that recently had access to all the channels for a fixed subscription fee. Whereas, the new technology of digitalized reception will make the subscriber’s pool asymmetric for sampling. There are bright chances that the universe (the channels which an individual subscribes to), 78
  • 79. will fluctuate depending on basis of favourite channel/popular programmes/sports seasons or a new series, as people may change their channel subscription from time to time. For example, let’s consider a household which has recently switched to the DTH system from the old analogue system. Now this particular household has not subscribed to a particular GEC channel because they felt it was not worth paying an extra fee as they were casual viewers of only one programme on this channel, as against other GEC channels where they watched multiple programmes. Now after a couple of months, this household again decides to subscribe to that GEC channel they had abandoned because of a new programme of interest to them, along with a sports-pack for the upcoming IPL cricket season. Post the IPL season, they again unsubscribe the sports-pack. This means the channel’s universe has now changed beyond recognition. This will keep happening as now it will be directly related to pay for what you watch. In such situation of switching subscription plan from analogue to digital, peoplemeter may capture the audience movement from analogue to digital. However, within digital, the viewership for channels may fluctuate significantly (as these are sample surveys, where 1 panel member’s viewership is extrapolated to around 20,000 audience or more). This could result into vague and halfhearted understanding of channel viewership as practitioners would not know the reason for volatility in channel viewership i.e. Subscribed but NOT viewing OR Channel NOT subscribed. Until now in analogue mode, the same set of channels that a household with a people-meter had was also the same set of 79
  • 80. channels that all other households had, so the household with the people-meter was representative of all other households in the universe, at least as far as availability and access to channels went. But now, with households free to choose and reject individual channels, it is not necessary that a household which has a peoplemeter will have similar channels as other households in the universe. In fact there could be thousands of permutations and combinations of households with different sets of channels. So how would one judge whether the people-meters households are truly representative of the universe. Now with due respect to the existing people-meter technology for capturing TV viewership data, can we ask ourselves how geared up are we to take on the future challenges of capturing TV viewership data in light of the above mentioned technological advancement. The story does not end here. The real challenge is still to be explained by us. TV as a medium was largely an ‘at-home’ medium. However, TV as a medium is now becoming highly portable. How are we going to measure the audience on portable TV? E.g. Most of the working population may watch IPL out-of-home such as at office, at a common friend’s place, on their laptop, etc. On weekends they would also go to restaurants and pubs to watch the game in a social gathering and cheer for their favourite team. Their receptivity to the programme may be higher but it does not get covered as the people-meter is not capturing out-of-home viewership. This may influence viewership of popular sports seasons and they may get under-reported as compared to actual viewing figures. 80
  • 81. According to Horrell (2008), IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) could offer some encouraging answers to audience measurement such as real-time audience measurement through return-path-data technology from TV owning households itself. Moreover, it allows broadcasters to divide audiences based on socio-economic class, geographies and basic demographics. This would enable advertisers and media planners to showcase lifestyle, socio-economic class and geographic location based Ad streaming. One can avail the technology now as this is reality. One of the sophisticated devices according to Pellegrini, Pasquale and Purdye, Ken (2004), for measuring out-of-home TV viewership is Arbitron’s Portable People-Meter for capturing passive viewership data based on encoded audio signals, embedded in the TV programmes being watched. This pager-like device would have to be carried by selected individuals to enable this device to capture the encoded audio signals. However, it could prove to be misleading if the audio signals are being captured in the vicinity but the individual is actually not watching it. For example, in a coffee-shop, the PPM may record TV viewership for an individual but the selected individual is engrossed elsewhere. What does all this mean for advertisers? How will they optimise their media investment? In totality, TV as a medium which even today is highly fragmented with 700+ channels will have very tough and challenging days ahead as far as measurement goes. And, so for the media planners and the marketers. According to Canadian Advertising Research Foundation 2005 – ‘The Future is now, but Measurement is Yesterday’. 81
  • 82.  Corruption Simplified In analogue days, if a channel wished to ensure that a household with a people-meter had to be moulded to its liking, the channel would identify the people-meter household (not directly, but through the research intermediary), and with some good gifts and good wishes, manipulate his ‘choice’ of viewing to benefit the said channel. Now, with digitalization, this money for corrupt practices can be saved, thus reducing bad karma. To tweak findings in its favour, all a channel has to do is to ask the research intermediary to identify and recruit households for placing people-meters which have subscribed to its channel and not competition. Or if the household wishes to watch competing channels, the channel would be happy to gift a second TV set to that house-hold on which they could view whatever they wished. Or the channel could ask the research intermediary to make the household stop subscribing to competing channels. So many varieties available for corruption due to digitization. Progress is wonderful.  No currency for emotional engagement by dayparts for complex multi-media There is almost unanimous agreement that in today’s world no single medium is actively consumed by any audience for a major part of the day. Audiences are bound to get exposed to plural media platforms. A simple example can be smart phone connectivity which is rapidly growing in penetration and virtually present with us 24x7. In addition there are other media platform exposures that come and go in the span of 24 hours. Moreover these platforms come in certain 82
  • 83. combinations and at certain times of the day depending on our lifestyle. Therefore it can safely be said that today’s era is a complex multimedia era. According to Plummer, Cook, Diforio, Schachter, Sokolyanskaya, Korde and Heath (2007), Roy Morgan International attempts to measure the audiences ‘Engagement’ that can help advertisers and agencies to understand which media platform could be used for brand persuasion. For instance, Roy Morgan International captures TV viewers with broadly three levels of engagement metrics such as involvement, attention and attitude to the programme content. They aim to identify whether the advertisement of any brand has engaged their target audiences and persuaded them in making a brand preference. However, it would be interesting to see the actual behaviour of respondents and then derive the emotional engagement and not simply measure the engagement on the basis of what respondents feel about their engagement. This is another urgently needed instrument which is currently missing in the MarCom armoury. In today’s fast-paced and mostly stress-driven cities including semiurban areas, audiences display mood swings, which mean they have a volatile emotional engagement with these complex media mix. Let us refresh our memory of the story in the first chapter of this book, where Asmeena the housewife is busy during TV prime-time (8:00 pm – 11:00 pm) cooking and serving and cleaning up after her daily family dinner. This gives an opportunity for other family members to watch their favourite TV programmes, and hence Asmeena’s (the housewife’s) attention is diverted, leading to interrupted TV viewing. 83
  • 84. Therefore Asmeena is not as much emotionally involved at what TV channels perceive as prime-time as compared to what she is during noon-time when she watches the similar TV programmes with a relaxed and peaceful frame of mind without any disturbance or interruptions. (Unfortunately, noon-time is not considered as primetime by channels and agencies for purposes of MarCom.) Clearly, her emotional engagement is different for two different day-parts. Similarly, when Asmeena listens to the radio in the early morning along with performing various other daily morning chores, she is actually a passive listener, with diverted attention. However, when she listens to radio during the afternoon/early evening time, she is a very active listener and has fewer disturbances. This again proves that no single media platform can be consumed with the same emotional engagement and same quantity during different day-parts. Therefore it can be said that ‘Each day-part is a day in itself’ Clearly, the MarCom industry has already understood these lacunae, but in the absence of a suitable tool or instrument to measure these day-part wise engagement, the out-dated method of considering all day-parts as equal for purposes of MarCom is still being used. What if a better and more suitable tool were made available?  No Currency with wide sample spread along with real-time capturing/reporting. Looking around, it is more than evident that the changing life-style and rising time crunch result into research surveys being answered less truthfully and completely by respondents. In most cases, the 84
  • 85. results are more of a formality than an honest response. We tend to ask, do our media research products understand this short-coming well while claiming to capture robust data? Are we moving with the times? Are we doing justice to this more than INR 279+ billion advertising industry? For example, there are currencies that still capture responses with manual pen and paper, there are currencies that still capture data on the basis of the manual diary method and there are currencies that capture data on the basis of leave-behind physical questionnaires. These methods of data capturing were useful at a certain point of time in history but the larger question is are these still relevant in a technology-driven era? The question yet remains, is there scope for media research for capturing robust data in terms of media-mix consumption along with emotional engagement? Can we have research that can capture data and simultaneously provide results to the user in real-time for cross-media platforms, which is the need of the hour? The concept that we are trying to discuss in this space is to have a media research product that is wide in its reach as well as quick in its reporting, almost like real-time. There is a gap in this space as the existing media research products either have a wide reach or deliver a quick report such as weekly reporting. For example, IRS is wide in its coverage with urban and rural markets. However, the reporting is done quarterly. Whereas, TAM for TV research captures data only in urban India, but gives quicker weekly reporting. But a combination of wide reach and quick reporting is missing in all the currencies currently available. 85
  • 86.  Is Manual method of capturing data still the best option? One of the most famous and oldest media planning currencies in India (IRS), claims to be the world’s largest sample survey, capturing data through face-to-face methodology. It has still not evolved and progressed in its core data capturing method which is still face-to-face, which is the same methodology it has followed since its inception about fifteen years ago. The data capturing for this currency happens via door-to-door visit and administering a lengthy questionnaire to the respondents. Which actually means that if a respondent were to honestly answer this lengthy questionnaire (Household & Media consumption), it would take them easily over two hours to do so. And the respondents are not paid for their time and effort. Does any sensible individual feel that these questionnaires would all be filled honestly at the respondent’s place, the way they claim to be? Which respondent would give so much time (that too without prior appointment), without being compensated for it? Apart from all other considerations, it would lead to high fatigue levels of the respondent. And the method used by surveyors in most cases is to knock the door without prior appointment, say we are conducting a ‘small’ survey, enter, and then proceed with the lengthy questionnaire. These days consumer behaviour indicates that the time composition in a day of the average consumer’s life is changing. There is rapid urbanisation and decline in disposable time for responding to research questionnaire or to be noting down media consumption patterns in a diary for research based on diary-methodology. 86
  • 87. Furthermore, computer aided personal interview (CAPI) is being talked about these days for capturing responses and administering the questionnaire with less effort. This will definitely reduce the data punching effort and typo errors but will it help to ease the respondent’s fatigue, which is a major factor leading to incorrect reporting by respondents in these methods? How would these existing face-to-face or diary or leave-behind questionnaire methodologies adapt with the existing huge interview time needed? Also, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that radio audience measurement is still a problem in most of the countries across the globe and in India specifically. The Indian MarCom industry still has not agreed on the methodology of capturing radio audiences. The industry opinion is split between two methods, namely, the diary method and the day-after recall method. Both these methods have their own drawbacks. Diary method is more of an interruption and a disturbance for sample respondents as they have to note down details in a diary about their listenership patterns. It is also considered to be a more expensive method. The day-after recall study stresses more on respondent’s memory and it cannot provide accurate listenership data, apart from the other typical drawbacks related to face-to-face questionnaire administration during an interview. Can we still claim that these are among the most effective and robust methodologies for capturing data? 87
  • 88.  Going beyond reach and frequency (opportunity to read/listen/view) Most of the media research and planning products deal with the reach and frequency of the plan. Predominantly, the success of planning is measured on the parameters of reach and frequency. This in no way answers the effectiveness of the advertisement in terms of awareness, liking and purchase intention. To attract all these advertisers, media agencies still conduct customised research separately. However, by the time the research starts getting responses to the campaign, the actual synergy of response on awareness, liking and purchase intention gets diluted. The question that arises here is, are we falling behind the technological advancement which is currently available to us and which can be explored for data capturing and reporting along with media planning currency? Agencies can tell us the reach frequency of an ad or campaign, which is fine, but can they tell what were the reader’s/listener’s/viewer’s awareness levels, liking and purchase intentions while the advertisement was on the shelf? Is this really rocket science that we find this issue extremely difficult to address? Surely with technological advances as we have today, such issues could be answered fairly accurately using an intelligent model.  Additionally, platforms like OOH are still out of reach for MarCom purposes Out-of-home is one of the very critical platforms which is usually missing from number-driven scientific planning for MarCom 88
  • 89. purposes. A few years ago, MRUC started with outdoor media planning currency; however this currency seems to have vanished from the market space for some reason. Which means that at the time of writing this book, we do not have a single, standard, syndicated, out-of-home media planning currency? Agencies and advertisers have their own individual outdoor site data-bases to rate outdoor sites. There is no industry standard against which to benchmark. The passage data for these outdoor sites are also not updated regularly by agencies and hence the dynamics of road traffic, new shopping-mall footfalls, and new places for socialising are not captured properly. There is a huge gap in capturing of outdoor data as well as in reporting it systematically at regular time intervals. All this, despite the huge monies involved in OOH, where a single prime hoarding is priced at over 10 lakhs for a week’s space. The question that arises in the mind is, don’t our advertisers (our clients), deserve at least sufficient passage data (OTS) to understand the outdoor media space for which they are paying huge rates? Don’t these amazing brands deserve informed media planning for better synergies in the MarCom space?  No currency provides media consumption PATTERNS for In-home v/s out-of-home for weekday v/s weekend It takes a simple understanding to say that the weekday and weekend behaviour of audiences differ visibly. So do their media consumption habits. The time spent by audiences on professional 89
  • 90. space, friends, family, personal relaxation, entertainment, etc., are all different for weekdays and weekends. For example, take the typical case that we discussed in our first chapter. Ameet, the working individual, during a typical working day, is a passive radio listener at home, glances through his newspaper on his smart-phone in hurry and rushes to the office. Whilst commuting to office he gets exposed to the outdoor medium too. However, his focused activity is to reach office. The same individual on a typical weekend when he is not at work, listens to the radio actively, reads the newspaper very attentively, and spends the day with family over a movie at a Multiplex and at shopping-malls. Therefore his receptivity of media messages across platforms would be different for weekdays and weekends. A result of the above example is the classic, confused, real-world scenario which occurs in the case of radio. According to radio listenership data, weekend/Sunday listenership is higher than average weekday listenership. However, as per AdEx report, the advertising volume on weekend/Sunday is much lower than average weekday. Why does this happen and who is to blame for this faulty planning? Which means that even analysis of available data is not being done in a sensible manner and MarCom funds are being wasted?  Data accuracy level v/s Population diversity India is famous for its multicultural diverse society. In India we do not have a unilateral culture across the country unlike in the 90
  • 91. Western world. In fact most of the Indian metro areas are populated with multi-linguistic audiences. For example, in metros such as Mumbai and Delhi, we can find many people with differing mothertongues and cultures. This could have a significant influence on the overall media consumption behaviour. Therefore, selection of an individual as part of a sample would need to be very intelligently done. For example, if there is only one Tamil speaking person in a locality which is predominantly Maharashtrian and he is the one who is random selected by the research agencies to represent the audience of that locality? Based on his media consumption /lifestyle patterns, wrong results would be obtained on extrapolation of this one individual for over 20,000 people and their viewing/reading/listening habits. The individual selected could easily be an outlier and not representative of the majority population of that geography as his lifestyle and media consumption pattern is significantly different from the majority in that geography. Currently there is no practice to identify whether this error is being committed. As of now, for television and radio, no currency is taking the effort to report the consumption at the mother-tongue level. On the other hand we have audience research currencies that claim to have sample sizes sufficient to report 90% to 95% accuracy level. The question that arises here is, has this sampling frame been decided on the basis of population diversity of a particular geography? As explained above, within a specific geography there could be a vastly differing multi-linguistic population with diverse cultures, especially in a metro environment. Can we state with confidence that the sampling frame selected by these currently existing currencies is sufficiently robust to represent all the diverse 91
  • 92. groups in this geography? Else the accuracy level they claim of 90% to 95% is pure fiction. The reason these questions arise here is the foundation on which these concepts of confidence levels and confidence intervals are practiced. Industry practitioners basically started practicing this in the Western world, where a unilateral culture exists and hence town-wise/geography-wise sampling to capture confidence levels and confidence intervals would be a good idea. Whereas in India, the situation is totally different from the homogenous Western environment; as we have multiple different small ‘countries’ within a single town or geographical area. The question which arises here is - how are we taking care of the above lacuna in the Indian context? And if at all we are addressing the issue, then who is validating the robustness and how robust are these validations? To comment on this chapter SMS <AB5> space <your comment> to 08080445599 OR give a missed call on 08080445599 to post a like 92
  • 93. 6. The ‘Bridge’ Model We have elaborated on the evolution of the media industry in India in recent decades in chapter two of this book. We also discussed the limitations of the current media research providers for various media platforms. So far we have discussed and articulated the current scenario and process. The limitations that we discussed related to existing media research and planning in previous chapters need to be addressed by the authors of this book as founders, developers and custodians of the concept of the ‘Bridge’ model for MarCom”. Carrying forward, let us now examine: “How to Bridge” the gaps in the current MarCom space. Let us first visualise a dream MarCom Model which could deliver the following:    Cross-Media REACH and FREQUENCY build up (exposure) provided within a single currency. Cross-Media CONSUMPTION with ENGAGEMENT could also be presented in the same currency. DAY-PARTS wise Cross-Media behavioural engagement could also be provided within this currency. 93
  • 94.  And imagine if you could know where the consumers of your product/services lie, and: - Track how they react to your communication messages through path to purchase stages - And their interest areas for products and services The basic building blocks for the ‘Bridge’ model could be depicted as under - Day-Parts Media Engagement Cross-Media R&F Figure 1 A. Cross-Media Reach and Frequency: Conventionally, data-driven media planning and buying happens with available audience measurement currency for an individual media platform. Therefore media planning and buying for brands that aim to be present across media is done by evaluating individual media platforms and not cross-media platforms in 94
  • 95. terms of reach and frequency. Obviously, the net reach and frequency of cross-media platforms depends upon assumptions, as no audience measurement currency currently provides the same. To start with, the main purpose of the ‘Bridge’ model is to provide cross-media reach and frequency. This would essentially provide the net reach and frequency across media platforms such as TV, Print, Radio, Internet, etc., which is an important element, yet not currently available through any currency. The obvious benefits of this would be: i. ii. iii. Media spend allocation across media platforms would be more intelligently done. Media buying efficiency would improve. Controlling spill-over of message would be possible and hence wastage would be greatly reduced. However, in order to capture cross-media reach and frequency, the ‘Bridge’ model captures media vehicles across media platforms except for outdoor media. Importantly, the ‘Bridge’ model will not only capture traditional media, but also aim to capture behaviour across smart-phones, tablet PC, multiplexes and shopping malls. This would make the ‘Bridge’ model an effective tool for fourth-generation media planning. 95
  • 96. B. Media Engagement: The USP of the ‘Bridge’ model is all about measuring media engagements through audience behaviour across different dayparts. As discussed in previous chapters, all the currently available media currencies for individual platforms provide only exposure-based media consumption. However, this is an era of cross-media and multi-tasking. Therefore, it can very well impact the audiences’ receptivity. This receptivity will obviously have an impact on brands that are being advertised/ communicated. This would also have implications for media content across platforms. Henceforth, engagement levels of audiences are going to be critical whilst conducting cross-media planning and buying, for effective utilisation of ad budgets. Below is the engagement Pyramid depicting levels of individual media consumption patterns/habits to understand parameters of ‘Ad-Avoidance’ as per the ‘Bridge’ model. Level 6. Loyal Level 5. Active Level 4. Switcher Level 3. Secondary Level 2. Passive Level 1. Disturbance Figure 2 96
  • 97. The engagement levels of an individual across various media platforms that are being captured by the ‘Bridge’ model are as follows. Figure 3 Below we will now explain and elaborate the above matrix. For purpose of convenience, television and radio have been explained together since the engagement levels for ‘Ad-avoidance’ according to the ‘Bridge’ model are commonly applicable to both these media. Similarly, newspapers and magazines have also been explained together for the same reason. (4 of the 6 levels are commonly applicable to both these media). Internet is explained separately as 4 distinct levels of engagement are applicable to the Internet. 97
  • 98. For Television/Radio Level 1- Disturbance: If an individual is switching between media consumption and other activities/work in different rooms, then he/she is at the engagement level of ‘Disturbance’. E.g. If a housewife is engaged in cooking food in the kitchen and simultaneously moving to watch TV in the living room from time to time, we term her level of engagement as ‘Disturbance’ according to the ‘Bridge’ model. Level 2- Passive: When an individual is consuming media alongside doing some other activity in the same room, we term it as ‘Passive’ level of engagement in the ‘Bridge’ model. E.g. If a housewife is watching TV whilst cutting vegetables (performing both activities in the same room), then we say that she is passively engaged. Level 3- Secondary/Unintended Exposure: If an individual happens to be exposed to a medium because someone else alongside who is consuming it, (or as we say, is unintentionally exposed to the medium), it is termed as ‘Secondary Level’ of media engagement according to the ‘Bridge’ model. E.g. If an individual does not intend to, but is watching television because his/her spouse is watching a particular programme then it becomes ‘Secondary Level’ of engagement. (It can happen that such secondary viewing/listening may engage the individual and he/she could at a later stage be converted to ‘Loyal Level’ of engagement). 98
  • 99. Level 4- Switcher: If an individual is viewing TV, and is continuously switching TV channels across different genres (sports/news/soaps), in a particular viewing occasion without any disturbance or interruption, he/she is termed as ‘Switcher’ level of engagement according to the ‘Bridge’ model. Level 5- Active: If an individual is flipping across TV channels of the same genre (e.g. GEC: Star, Zee, Sony, Colors) in a particular viewing occasion without any disturbance or interruption, then he/she is termed as ‘Active’ level of engagement as per the ‘Bridge’ model. E.g. If an individual who is viewing TV, is switching across different English news channels in a particular viewing occasion, then his/her engagement is at the ‘Active’ level within the genre. Level 6- Loyal: If an individual is regularly consuming certain content/ programme on a specific channel, in a certain day-part, intentionally and consciously, without any disturbances or interruptions, then he/she is at the ‘Loyal Level’ of engagement according to the ‘Bridge’ model. E.g. If a housewife is watching a particular TV programme on a specific channel on a regular basis without any disturbances, then she is at ‘Loyal Level’ of engagement according to the ‘Bridge’ model. Loyal level means that on a regular basis, day after day, the individual is attached to that channel. Please Note – At Level 1-5, an individual need not always be a ‘Switcher’ or ‘Active’ or ‘Passive’. At different day parts and on 99
  • 100. different days, he/she may be a Loyal or Active or even Secondary, depending on his mood and behaviour. Also, in the above elaborations, radio channels could also be substituted as examples. For Newspaper/Magazine: Level 3- Secondary: An individual reading any random newspaper/ magazine as a time-filler, which is available within his/her reach is termed as ‘Secondary’ level of engagement according to the ‘Bridge’ model. For example, if a person is reading a magazine while waiting at an office/dentist-reception, or at a saloon, then he/she is considered at the ‘Secondary Level’ of engagement according to the ‘Bridge’ model. (Of course, if such unintentional reading ends up in engaging the individual, he/she can be converted to the next level of engagement.) Level 4- Switcher: An individual reading multiple genres/languages of newspapers or magazines he/she has subscribed on a reading occasion (approached casually/ irregularly) is termed as ‘Switcher’ level of engagement according to the ‘Bridge’ model. For example if an individual flips through general news daily (Times of India {English}, Maharashtra Times {Marathi}) along with business daily (Economic Times) in a particular reading occasion, he/she will be termed as ‘Switcher’ level of engagement. 100
  • 101. Level 5- Active: An individual reading a particular genre of newspapers/magazines on a regular basis on a particular reading occasion is termed as ‘Active’ level of engagement according to the ‘Bridge’ model. For example, if an individual reads only business newspapers/magazines on a regular basis, then he/she will be engaged in ‘Active’ level of engagement according to the ‘Bridge’ model. Level 6- Loyal: If an individual has regular access and reads a particular newspaper/magazine on a daily basis or as per the periodicity of the newspaper/magazine, then he/she is engaged at ‘Loyal’ level of engagement according to the ‘Bridge’ model. Please Note: In the case of newspaper/magazine , Level 1 and Level 2 of the ‘Bridge’ model do not apply, therefore in this case the lowest level starts from Level 3 (Secondary). Thus Print media rightly gets an advantage, as ‘Disturbance’ and ‘Passive’ levels of engagement are not applicable. For Internet: Level 1- Disturbance: If an individual accessing the computer is multi-tasking (working on an office application while surfing the internet) he/she will be termed as ‘Disturbance’ level of engagement according to the ‘Bridge’ model. 101
  • 102. Level 4- Switcher: If an individual dedicatedly accessing an Internet Browser, is simultaneously switching between different types of portals such as ‘searches’, ‘on-line-shopping’, ‘social networking sites’, ‘You-tube’ in a particular session will be termed as ‘Switcher’ level of engagement according to the ‘Bridge’ model. Level 5- Active: If an individual dedicatedly accessing an Internet Browser, is simultaneously switching between a specific genre of portals either ‘on-line-shopping’ OR ‘social networking sites’ in a particular session will be termed as ‘Active’ level of engagement according to the ‘Bridge’ model. Level 6- Loyal: If an individual visits a particular website/portal on a regular basis without multi-tasking or switching between portals in a particular session, then he/she is termed as ‘Loyal’ level of engagement according to the ‘Bridge’ model. Please Note: In the case of Internet, Level 2 and 3 of the ‘Bridge’ model will not be applicable. 102
  • 103. C. Media engagement by day-parts: Audiences across media usually are not at the same level of receptivity and engagement across day-parts. As discussed in previous chapters, every individual tends to behave and consume media differently during different day-parts. However, capturing of this behaviour and application of this knowledge in marketing and communication is still a grey area. Therefore the ‘Bridge’ model provides the much needed material for audience engagement by day-parts. This is one of the three main building blocks of the ‘Bridge’ model. Let us understand how this could be represented with media exposure levels to take informed decisions in the MarCom space. For example, let us consider a hypothetical case for depicting TV exposure (Reach%) versus emotional engagement score for housewife as the audience segment. Figure 4 103
  • 104. In Figure 5 above, we have represented exposure versus emotional engagement of ‘housewife’ as a hypothetical example of an audience segment by day-parts. This will enable us to understand how exposure and emotional engagement stages could differ. This would certainly help in taking informed media planning decisions. The graph in Figure 5 clearly depicts that exposure does not equate emotional enragement (which is not even currently considered in MarCom practices), and hence gives no guarantee of expected receptivity. It can be seen from the graph that for mid-morning (11 am – 2 pm) and afternoon (2 pm – 5 pm) day-parts where the viewership of housewife is lower as compared to prime-time viewership, but the engagement with the medium is very high in mid-morning and afternoon day-parts due to lesser disturbances and high involvement with the medium. This would have great implications for MarCom. Currently, only exposure is considered as the criteria for deciding ‘prime-time’ slots. According to figure 5, prime-time to target the housewife segment would be 7 pm – 11 pm or thereabouts as per the current exposure based media planning practice. But when we consider high engagement level with the medium for the housewife segment, the prime-time significantly changes and would be in the range of 11 am – 5 pm. MarCom budgets could see drastic changes in the context of cost savings and yet achieve far greater ROI if this is considered. 104
  • 105. For business articulation, this can be presented in a 2X2 matrix as depicted below for ‘exposure’ versus ‘engagement’. Figure 5 The quadrants of the above matrix can be filled with variables such as TGs, day-parts, mediums, media vehicles/properties, etc. Below are the few hypothetical examples for above mentioned business matrix with quantitative scale.  Cross-media exposure versus engagement in a particular day-part This could be articulated with an example of a college student segment that is exposed to TV, Internet and Radio during the day-part of 6 pm to 9 pm. This segment for instance would be listening to the radio while commuting from college to home. Once they reach home they would switch on the TV as well as their laptop for browsing social networking sites. 105
  • 106. Let us now understand how this audience segment can be represented on ‘exposure’ versus ‘engagement’ scale with the help of the below depicted scatter graph. (Figures in graph are hypothetical for understanding purposes) Figure 6  Day-parts by Target Audience Segments Let us understand how we can put across day parts in the context of the ‘Bridge’ model. For instance let us take a hypothetical example of the housewife as an audience segment. The exposure vs. Engagement level for this segment during a typical weekday can be plotted by day-parts to understand TV as a medium of consumption. 106
  • 107. Figure 7  Audience Segments in a particular day-part Similarly, various audience segments in a particular day-part for a particular media platform can be represented through the ‘Bridge’ model. For instance, let us look at the 6 pm – 9 pm slot as day-parts for the housewife, students and working-men as audience segments. An average housewife is exposed to TV during this day-part but is at different engagement levels such as ‘Disturbance’ and ‘Passive’, based on the ‘Bridge’ model. Whereas, students in this day-part are exposed mainly to TV at ‘Secondary’ and ‘Disturbance’ levels of engagements. This is due to the fact that though the housewife is watching TV, she would have interrupted exposure to TV, due to preparation and serving of dinner for the family, looking at 107
  • 108. children’s homework and packing school-bags, etc. Workingmen are engaged with TV during this day-part with ‘secondary’ and ‘passive’ levels of engagement, as either their wife or younger household member is watching TV and they get exposed to TV, but not to the channel of their choice. Some of them are also exposed to TV with ‘switcher’ level of engagement. Figure 8 The graphs and figures depicted and explained in this chapter so far have been elaborately explaining on two dimensional basis to give a better understanding to the reader about the basis for the ‘Bridge’ model. 108
  • 109. The Bridge score (B-Score) It is important to have unified statistics to explain ‘engagement’ and ‘exposure’ together. The unified statistics for engagement and exposure would make it easy for every MarCom practitioner to understand these two dimensions. For purposes of simplicity, the ‘Bridge’ model provides the “B-Score” that calculates ‘exposure’ in relation to ‘engagement’ levels to arrive at single score called “BScore”, which represents both dimensions in a single figure. Furthermore, this “B-score” can be calculated for use as a tool to determine investment effectiveness. Formula for deriving the “B-Score” based on the Engagement Levels of the ‘Bridge’ Model: As an example to explain the formula, let us assume that the TV viewership (reach) of working population in the age group of 25-44 in SEC AB Males during 8 pm - 10 pm on a typical weekday is at 44%. 109
  • 110. However, the mentioned audience segment’s average engagement level is at 4.7 of the engagement pyramid of the ‘Bridge’ model as discussed for TV. Therefore, the “B-Score” would be calculated as 34.4%. (Workings: 4.7 / 6 x 44). Capturing data for the ‘Bridge’ model The next logical question is how data could be captured for calculation of the “B-Score”. Well, there are different methods currently practised for media measurement such as Face-to-Face, Diary, Electronic, Internet etc. Let us evaluate the advantages and limitations of each of these methodologies to understand the suitability for capturing the ‘Bridge’ model. i.     Face-to-Face methodology This method requires a very well established and well networked field resource capability. Availability of respondent’s time at the time of visit could be an issue. Respondents may leave the interview half way as fatigue level rises with long questionnaires. With this methodology of data capturing, the respondent may not be in the right frame of mind to answer memorybased questions on his media consumption behaviour by day-parts as such interviews happen without prior intimation and preparation. 110
  • 111.    ii. Even field interviewers are vulnerable to practicing manipulation. Questionnaire printing cost is a separate and considerable cost burden. Also the cost of dispatching questionnaires to multi locations is high. Access to affluent households (which are the most important TG for many surveys), is still a big problem. Diary Methodology / Leave-Behind Questionnaire In the Diary Methodology, it would require the interviewer to leave behind a diary/questionnaire to allow the individual to capture their daily media consumption/activities and answer psychographic statements. In this method we face the below mentioned concerns    iii. People tend to fill the diary just before the collection time and not as per instructed in the diary. Individuals from affluent households are difficult to engage in participation. It is highly cost-driven as data capturing is manual and printing, dispatching is a significant component of the cost. Electronic Capturing the required data by the portable people-meter technique would involve huge investments. Also, it would additionally require administering a separate survey for capturing the respondent’s behaviour while consuming a distinct set of media. 111
  • 112. Therefore the question that arises here is, what can be the appropriate method that can:            Give us direct access to the sampled individuals. Allow them to respond as per their convenience. Give easy access to individuals from affluent segment of society. Reach a wider geographical spread across in a short time frame. Be less tiring for the respondent Avoid manual intervention and hence reduce human error at capturing level and data entry level. Report data in real-time to subscribers. Allow the measuring effect of media campaigns instantly due to real-time reporting of data. Reduce the printing and other human recruitment costs. Lay the foundation for the next level of GenNext market research. Give access to questionnaire to a respondent who is on the move. The method that we are proposing to replace the existing methods and get all the above mentioned benefits is the Hybrid Online/Mobile Panel method, which is devised to capture a day in the consumers’ life taking into consideration media-mix focus as well as emotional engagement. This method is capable of providing all the above mentioned benefits, which are lacking in existing data collection methods. The specific questionnaire in our proposed method will be designed in such a way that it actually captures the audience behaviour by 112
  • 113. day-parts, unlike other current media research questionnaires which are designed only to capture media exposures. The questionnaire would be in the form of an ‘auto-navigated digital diary’ which would also be available on the web/smartphone as an app. to the panel member. The panel member would simply need to fill the digital diary for his/her media consumption by day-parts. If the respondent somehow doesn’t fill up the digital diary for a particular day-part, the same set of questions would be pushed through mobile ‘USSD’ or ‘IVR’ method. The ‘Bridge’ model will follow the new Socio Economic Class definitions for recruitments. In addition, the detailed reasons for behaviour of audiences in the context of media can be captured with the help of Focus Group Discussion on regular intervals. This would add more clarity to audiences’ emotional engagement and exposure by different dayparts. Advertisers can use these findings for more rationale based MarCom rather than mute head count based MarCom. Real-Time Validation Now, since we have introduced this research concept, the question obviously arises on the validation of the data. We propose validation that can be done with minimum human intervention. Since this is an online real-time consumer panel survey, we propose the following data hygiene steps should be followed:   Responses should be captured from unique IP addresses/mobile numbers only. The standard average time pre-estimated to complete a particular questionnaire would be matched with the 113
  • 114.  response time taken by the individual. If it is lower or higher than the pre-estimated tolerable limit, that particular response would be flagged off. Pattern of responses would be monitored and cross validated. It will ensure that the respondent has understood and answered the questions accurately. Any completed questionnaire which contains apparently casually entered data (e.g. all responses ticked as 3), would be flagged off. The above mentioned validation points would be executed in realtime without human intervention. This will ensure more robust data which can be relied upon for purposes of large investment research studies, based on which vital MarCom decisions would be based. Direct Advantages of the ‘Bridge’ model: Let us now evaluate the direct advantages of this developed model, which is not intended to replace existing currencies. Rather, it will provide much needed added rationale for taking informed mediainvestment decisions, scheduling, and understanding the behavioural engagement of audiences. The advantages of the ‘Bridge’ model are:    A single methodology to capture ALL media and emotional engagement across day-parts. Helps in investment decisions based on multi-dimensional levels containing behavioural-based insights rather than only based on ‘exposure’ as is currently being done. Less chances of under-reporting or over-reporting of a specific medium, as it is not a medium-centric currency. 114
  • 115.    Unique syndicated study that provides weekday v/s weekend, home v/s out-of-home behavioural data by-day parts and emotional engagement. Vehicle level data reporting by day-parts. Opportunity for brand tracks on following parameters. (The parameters will be discussed in detail in the next chapter).  Awareness  Liking  Purchase Intention A small case on the application of the ‘Bridge’ model follows: Let us understand the utility of the “B-score” with the help of a hypothetical case of a brand, which is a telecom service provider. The brand ‘Konnect’ is one of the top telecom service providers in India. ‘Konnect’ wants to communicate its new offering to prospective customers. The new offering intends to offer 3G services at a price of 2G for the first six months to consumers opting to switch to their network as customers via mobile number portability. The same price benefit will also be passed on to its existing ‘Konnect’ users for the same duration to retain its customers. The objective is set out to be as under: To effectively reach and communicate the new 3G scheme to competitors’ customers, specifically those who are full-time working population in the age group of 25 to 44 from Socio-Economic Class AB. 115
  • 116. The CMO of ‘Konnect’ briefs the media agency about the objective with a campaign period of 4 weeks at a budget of INR 6 crores panIndia. As per the traditional approach of following IRS/TGI/AdEx and also the client’s historical pattern, the investment split was very predictable as depicted in the figure below. TV as usual dominating the split with a 65% share of the budget followed by print with 25% share, whereas Radio and Internet were allocated 5% each for media investment split proposed by the media agency representing ‘Konnect’. Media Investment Split based on Tradional Currencies (IRS/TGI/Adex) Radio, 5% Internet, 5% Print, 25% TV, 65% However, studying the results from the new wonder model ‘Bridge’, on the insistence of the CMO of ‘Konnect’, the media agency unfolded a different picture. As discussed earlier, the ‘Bridge’ model includes the concept of ‘Bscore’, which is a multi-dimensional score for exposure and various engagement levels. This helped them to understand the target 116
  • 117. audiences’ media behaviour, rather than only headcount-based or competition led investment split as per traditional existing approach used by MarCom professionals. According to the ‘Bridge’ model, the new investment split based on the “B-score” showed a split of 45% for TV, 30% for print, 15% for Radio and 10% for Internet, including social networking sites and new media as depicted below. Media Investment Split based on B-Score Internet, 10% Radio, 15% TV, 45% Print, 30% On the basis of the above mentioned investment split, (which is derived on the basis of the explanation provided above after the formula for ‘B-Score’ is explained), ‘Konnect’ asked its media agency to look for media vehicle level “B-score” to understand vehicle level investment split within media platform. Once the vehicle level “B-score” is understood, the media agency starts using traditional media planning currencies such as TAM, 117
  • 118. RAM, IRS, etc. for micro level planning. But the big picture becomes clear due to application of the ‘Bridge’ model. The media plan finally receives approval from the ‘Konnect’ CMO. The media agency also gets competitive rates from planned media properties for the campaign for ‘Konnect’. However, in the midst of this campaign, (which was in full swing), there came a piece of unexpected national level headline news on the famous social activist Appasaheb, who was sitting on a protestfast. Therefore the media attention was obviously tilted towards this event across the country. TV news channels were covering this event extensively and also increased their Ad rates for commercials. Every single agency was advising their clients to increase spots on TV news genre especially those whose target audiences constituted the working population. However, the CMO of ‘Konnect’ was smart enough to tell his agency to evaluate the ‘B-score’ (since ‘B-score’ is available real-time) of media platforms and vehicles to understand where to adjust the budget allocations during this unexpected event. Surprisingly, against the opinion of popular media sentiment and traditional currencies, the CMO at ‘Konnect’ found out that newspaper and online news-portals were displaying a competitive ‘B-score’. He then decided to avoid expensive news genre on TV for additional spots and instead diverted some budgets to competitive print and internet platform as depicted in the below mentioned chart. This enabled him to save significant percentage of money at the same time not losing on exposure and engagement levels, which he otherwise would have spent on expensive TV news genre for additional spots as advised by traditional MarCom. 118
  • 119. Media Investment Split based on B-Score - during campaign Internet, 15% Radio, 8% TV, 40% Print, 37% The above case thus depicts the practical application of the ‘B-Score’ concept, demonstrating its utility for enhanced ROI for MarCom purposes. Opportunities for Media Owners/Media Houses    Media houses that create content on the basis of audience engagement behaviour by day-parts can clearly benefit from the ‘B-score’ concept. For example, a particular media house can actually compare the ‘B-scores’ of various audience segments during the so-called prime-time for its channel vs. competition to evaluate content fit and audience targeting. Tracking audience segments by various day-parts to predict the future ‘B-score’ based on historical data patterns. Media houses can actually approach advertisers with comparative ‘B-scores’ and make their commercial space more competitive by creating positive differentiation. For 119
  • 120. example, a particular TV channel can actually tag a premium for high involvement ‘B-Score’ as against the channel viewership. Opportunities for Advertisers/Brand Owners     Controlled MarCom budget split on the basis of behavioural data and not just single dimensional exposure data from traditional media planning currencies. Prediction of behavioural score for target audience on the basis of past data, which can be utilised for controlled MarCom with minimal waste. Rider questions can be inserted to understand the ‘product interest’, ‘intention to purchase’, ‘capacity to purchase’, etc. (This is covered in the next chapter in detail). It will provide space for advertisers to establish a relationship between ‘B-scores’ and various stages of ‘pathto-purchase’ (awareness, consideration, preference). For instance, the ‘B-score’, which is an engagement and exposure level quantitative indicator, can be co-related with the captured awareness/consideration or preference level for the brand. Thus the ‘Bridge’ model will be beneficial to all stakeholders - Media Houses for engaging with their audiences and to conduct competitive analysis of their properties, Media Agencies for taking informed media investment-split decisions based on unified B-score and also Advertisers for maximising ROI by BRIDGE’ing the Gap for accountable MarCom. To comment on this chapter SMS <AB6> space <your comment> to 08080445599 OR give a missed call on 08080445599 to post a like 120
  • 121. 7. Enhancing MarCom- THE ‘BRIDGE’ Way Addressing and continuously enhancing MarCom is very much desired by marketers. However, any solution that addresses MarCom, needs to have a built-in flexibility to adapt to the needs and requirements of advertising objectives. Any syndicated research study that will be used for the purpose of capturing data as inputs to the ‘Bridge’ model, can be made more effective by adding more features to it for enhancing MarCom. These additional reporting features should essentially be focused on the parameter of ‘Return-On-Investment’. They ought to address the ‘impact-measurement’ of the campaign in the context of various stages of ‘path-to-purchase’ such as brand awareness, brand consideration and brand preference. Let us now go through the features that can be added to the research study that will be used as inputs to the ‘Bridge’ model, which will be continuous in nature. 121
  • 122.  Capturing product interest and intention to purchase As discussed in the previous chapter, the ‘Bridge’ model can be implemented through the online continuous panel. It will be advantageous to capture the responses on product interest level along with intention to purchase reported by various demographics to make MarCom decisions more precise for purposes of media investment and aid market prioritisation. To elaborate further, let us take an example of a brand in the tablet PC segment. Suppose the maker of this particular tablet PC brand wants to launch a new variant designed to target the audience segment of students but has got a limited budget for marketing and communication. The maker of this tablet PC would obviously like to know which market to focus on and how much to spend. This brand would also want to advertise in a manner that will reach the right target audience (in this case, students), and not aimed to the audience segments (e.g. housewives, working professionals and so on), who are not the intended purchasers for this new tablet PC, so that the spill over can be avoided. This could very well be addressed by information on tablet PC ‘interest index’ and ‘intention to purchase index’ by various markets across country, which would be provided by the ‘Bridge’ model. For example, if Mumbai and Delhi show higher tablet PC ‘interest index’ than other metros, in this case the brand owner can prioritise his focus on these markets. By further applying the 122
  • 123. ‘Bridge’ model, if it is revealed from data that the ‘intention to purchase index’ for students from Delhi specifically is high, (i.e. they would not only interested in the tablet PC category, but also intend to purchase the new variant), then the tablet PC brand owner may choose to advertise more on local media such as print, radio and outdoor in Delhi. The tablet PC brand owner may now choose to have a small-scale national level brand campaign to make the presence felt in the national market also. On the other hand MarCom spends for Mumbai markets could be geared towards ‘push’ activities such as BTL because that is the specific MarCom need for the Mumbai market as revealed by the ‘Bridge’ model. The point here is, the ‘Bridge’ model gives market specific behavioural data which can be used for fine-tuning MarCom activities for best ROI.  Measuring Campaign Effect Measuring the impact of a particular campaign in the context of the desired direction is what anyone in the MarCom business would like to do. However, this would require setting up fieldwork, administering questionnaires and post that, the findings would usually be presented post the campaign is over. This and other activities would need to be conducted to measure the effect of a campaign, but MarCom professionals will agree that these are all time consuming activities. 123
  • 124. Ideally, anyone would like to capture the effect of the campaign when the campaign is in progress/active. This would help the brand custodian understand the impact of the campaign on target audiences, so changes if any can be immediately initiated. Even in the case of customised online research, it requires time to set up research and decide on sample size. In a model such as ‘Bridge’, which is a continuous, on-line research, the advertiser could include such rider questions to the targeted audiences which take care of market specifics to capture the effect of the campaign efficiently. The ‘Bridge’ model would also provide a customised tool to identify the ‘word-association’ that the audiences attach on seeing the advertisement. E.g. Maruti-Suzuki advertisements could trigger the thought of ‘fuel-efficiency’, ‘availability of spares’, ‘innovative design’ and so on in the mind of the audience. These ‘word-associations’ would be measured on a strength association index bubble plot (word-cloud), to demonstrate which media/ creative gave more of which ‘word -associations’ for a brand campaign. This could provide the understanding of the ‘message’ or the cues that are being triggered in the minds of the audience, when a particular ad on a specific media platform is being showcased to an audience. This will help to evaluate the specific impact and message receptivity of campaign by various media platforms, which current currencies do not address. For example, a particular ad campaign for a telecom service provider is being run on newspapers, TV and outdoor. Though the theme for the message is the same across media platforms, the 124
  • 125. message understanding could be different. It could be perceived as more of a value-added-service message when aired on TV. However in print, a similar ad could come out as addressing valueadded-service plus cost-effective-offerings. Whereas on the outdoor media platform, the version of the ad could be received as a word association of wider network and value-added-services, etc. This will help understand which platform/media is triggering what message cues in the minds of the audience. The perception of the brand viz-a-viz competitors could also be mapped on pre-defined metrics. These pre-defined metrics could have four pre-defined dimensions on a plane such as youthoriented, matured, team-player, self-centred, etc. Brand position viz-a-viz competition could be mapped on such dimensions on the devised plane, pre-campaign as well as post-campaign, to understand the impact of the campaign. Similarly, the emotional impact of an entire campaign too could be mapped on predefined emotional dimensions on a plane and the brand-position could be mapped. These emotional dimensions such as negative, positive, exciting, dull, etc. would help understand the impact that the entire campaign created in the minds of the audience.  Brand Tracking on Path-to-Purchase Stages Dynamic and alert marketers would understand the cluttered media space and hence indulge in intense competition to outperform the competitor brands. 125
  • 126. This requires that they keep track of their brand on a continuous basis on all three major path-to-purchase stages. These three stages are - awareness, consideration, and preference. They need to be mapped with media activities by weeks, months, quarter, etc. This would help marketers understand the impact of MarCom activities on their brand’s path-to-purchase viz-a-viz their competition on a continuous basis. Such online tracking can be offered as a need-based solution with the ‘Bridge’ model. Interestingly, one of the vital advantages of such brand tracking is to receive weekly updates through rapid reporting via an onlinetool. This will enable advertisers to generate results and understand the ever changing and cluttered media landscape to adapt themselves quickly to such changes.  Impact of National Event by demographics In a diversified country such as India, there is hardly a single day which goes by without an event of national or regional sensationalism occurring. These events have a very good potential to show up their effect on political parties as a brand, voter’s inclination towards these political parties brand equity, and also how people perceive developments/events/incidents. Usually, we have observed many opinion polls, election predictions by many media houses conducted in association with research agencies, etc. Obviously, they require setting up infrastructure which is time consuming. 126
  • 127. Continuous research study such as the ‘Bridge’ model can very well accommodate such questions for objective based surveys. This would provide ready infrastructure for capturing the responses of the audiences on national and international events, issues and so on. In short, this chapter addresses the multiple opportunities that the syndicated ‘Bridge’ model could be applied to. To comment on this chapter SMS <AB7> space <your comment> to 08080445599 OR give a missed call on 08080445599 to post a like 127
  • 128. 8. In Pursuit of ROI Return on Investment (ROI) for marketing and communication spends is not as simple as it is generally understood to be by many MarCom practitioners at media agencies and media owners. Understanding and selecting the parameters for ROI is a complex but vital subject. It requires collective brain-storming and logically putting responsibility on the outcome of MarCom activities and marketing professionals to fetch results for the advertisers. Undoubtedly, ROI from MarCom activities would vary across different industries. For example, ROI from MarCom activities for an automobile brand could mean net walk-ins in dealerships for enquiries and the net number of people registering for test drives. On the other hand, ROI for a retail client could mean net number of customer walk-ins into the stores (footfalls). For a typical FMCG client, ROI could mean a reflection on market share, share of voice, or sales, etc. Surprisingly, many learned advertisers too do not understand the logical ROI on MarCom activities; on the contrary they are still stuck in the mindset of the typical ‘recall jargon’ of top-of-mind recall, spontaneous recall and awareness, etc. These are very outdated ways of understanding MarCom effectiveness. Therefore, MarCom 128
  • 129. practitioners need to get on to the path-to-purchase funnel to understand the efficacy of MarCom and not just look at recall as a parameter and feel happy about outdated MarCom efficacy. Following are some attempts made in the history of MarCom by various individuals and organizations to address the issue of ROI. Claude Hopkins way back in 1923 started the concept of couponcoded ads in the newspaper to measure the response of promotional offers made by brands. The above mentioned example is one of the scientific ways of measuring the effectiveness of advertising along with return on investments. It enabled the advertiser to evaluate which newspaper fetched what level of response, by providing separate coupon-codes for each newspaper. Typically, the advertiser would adjust media spends with various newspapers after evaluating the total response across each newspaper through the volume of coded-coupons received. This is a classic example of scientifically measuring the effectiveness of media for advertising ROI. Today, operationally, it would be time consuming to implement the above concept with the physical coupon-coded method. We would therefore need to exploit the latest technology and models available to incorporate the above mentioned scientific approach in current context. In today’s fast-paced and dynamic lifestyle, the above concept could very well be implemented with the use of toll-free numbers and SMS in Print, TV, Radio and Internet platforms to measure the effectiveness of a campaign, which is of a call-for-action nature. 129
  • 130. To understand how this concept could be used in practicality today, let us consider a brand in the health insurance segment. The brand uses unique toll-free numbers along with the advertising creative for a particular promotional offer to advertise in newspapers instead of the regular branch numbers spread across the city which appear in the newspaper Ad. When a prospective health insurance buyer calls this toll-free-number (unique across newspapers), he/she would directly get connected to the nearest branch office depending upon the location of the call through a technology called “Geo-Call-Patch”. This would allow the advertiser to keep real-time track of inquires and also evaluate which newspapers contributed maximum leads. Furthermore, during the call, the prospective buyer is provided with a promo-code which needs to be provided during the sale to avail the discount/offer. This would now enable the advertiser to understand the complete lead-sale conversion rate as well as cost per lead across newspapers. This means that the entire media campaign can now be made accountable in the context of return-on-investment. And, this AdTracking method can be availed across mediums - TV, Print, Radio and internet through unique toll-free-numbers and SMS keywords across mediums and vehicles. A similar scientific approach initiated by the respondent by making a ‘Missed-Call’ can be applied for TV advertisements across products and brands for measuring actual views/recall of the advertisement, unlike perceived exposure to the current 1-min TV viewership assigned to multiple advertisements run in that minute. 130
  • 131. Media Mix Modelling Interestingly, in pursuit of ROI, MarCom professionals look outside for taking help of agencies such as market research agencies, marketing consultants, etc, but do not acknowledge the fact that already available historical data could reveal a lot. These historical data points could be used to understand the pattern and relationship of various variables with one another. This can help them take informed MarCom decisions, which would result into better ROI. The media-mix modelling is one such tool in the data modelling space that could be used to understand the relationship of various input variables such as media spends, insertions, GRPs, Reach, etc. on intended ROI variables that could be net-footfalls, sales, net number of enquiries, etc. As explained in previous chapters, we live in a complex multimedia environment, where we are being exposed and engaged to more than one media platform in the same day-part. Therefore, understanding of how these variables are interrelated is very necessary. The causal relationship of input variables with the target variable could be established for understanding how media spends are impacting sales; how the volume of insertions is impacting net footfalls, etc. The impact of individual media platforms such as TV, Print, and Internet could be measured in the context of ROI variables. Joint impact of all the media input variables and how they are inter-related could also be identified through media-mix modelling. However, each media platform will drive a certain set of audience reaction. For example, TV exposure of a particular brand may lead to more searches on the Internet for this particular brand. This reactive 131
  • 132. behaviour too needs to be understood and should be captured in the model. This approach would not only be useful for controlling media spends and the correct allocation of budgets across media platforms and media vehicles, but also to forecast the ROI in terms of sales, net footfalls, net enquiries, etc. In fact there is a specialised stream called ‘demand forecasting’, which could be linked to media investments, and media agencies could offer this to their clients as a value added offering. Interestingly, articulation of media-mix models with detailed understanding of coefficients into actionable simple English is of utmost important for answering the questions raised by MarCom practitioners. But, it is also equally important to fit these media-mix models into a practical solution. Just blindly following the media-mix model may not lead to actionable and practical solutions. The MarCom professionals need to be alert enough to adapt the findings of the media-mix modelling exercise into their unique business solutions. Another important exercise that one needs to understand is the ‘what-if simulation’ modelling. This is nothing but understanding what would be the result of a certain set of actions, so as to understand the impact well in advance before any action is being taken in reality. For example, what would be the impact of 10% increase of media spend in Print and Radio, with a corresponding 5% decrease in TV? This will reflect the actual real life scenario of how things are inter-related, randomised, and contributory to each other in the highly dynamic environment of real life and could be known well in advance, so as to have focused direction for action and understanding the repercussions of the same. 132
  • 133. These days, many specialised analytics firms are offering such solutions to MarCom professionals. But, it has been observed that MarCom professionals have a casual approach to media-mix modelling, simulation modelling, etc. The historical data that they possess and the huge volumes of data that they work on everyday is actually a gold mine, if used intelligently for modelling, which successively will help in measuring ROI. Statistical understanding is not optional but a basic necessity for the true MarCom professional To comment on this chapter SMS <AB8> space <your comment> to 08080445599 OR give a missed call on 08080445599 to post a like 133
  • 134. 134
  • 135. References Andrew Green (2010) From Prime Time to My Time - Measuring television audiences, Warc Exclusive Beth Uyenco, ESOMAR TV Conference, Montreal (June 2005), Progress towards media mix accountability - Portable People Meters’ preview of commercial audience results Charlie Horrell, Real-time monitoring of TV advertising performance Admap June 2008, Issue 495 Claude Hopkins (1923), Scientific Advertising. ( Hugh M. Cannon and Edward A Riordan, Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 34, No. 2, (March/April 1994) Effective Reach and Frequency: Does it really make sense? Jane Mulligan Traub, James H. Collins and Daniel T Mallett, Jr (June 2002), ESOMAR, Print Audience Measurement, Cannes Jean Pascal Robiefroid and Johan Schockaert, Towards full diary audience measurement, ESOMAR Radio Audience Measurement, Cannes, June 2002 Joe Plummer, Bill Cook, Don Diforio, Bert Schachter, Inna Sokolyanskaya, Tara Korde and Robert Heath, Measures of Engagement: Volume II Advertising Research Foundation Workshops, White Paper, March 2007 Jon Swallen and Kraig Schultz, ESOMAR Audience Research, Miami, (May 2000), From Questions to Answers. Media Mix Modelling and the Return on Advertising Investment 135
  • 136. Kalakbandi, Vinay, Mitesh Thakker, and Sayan Chowdary. "Measuring Advertising Performance: Ad Tracking technology for Effective Planning of Offline Media." Proceedings of the IIML International Conference in Marketing. IIM Lucknow: Pearson, Jan 2012. 295-297 Pellegrini, Pasquale and Purdye, Ken (2004), Passive versus Button Pushing. A Comprehensive Comparison from Parallel TV Meter Panels in Quebec. ESOMAR Television Audience Conference, Geneva, June 2004 PWC India Entertainment and Media Outlook 2012 accessed on 2nd October 2012 Livemint, Aug 20, 2012 ( accessed on 11th November, 2012 accessed on 11th November 2012 (NRS 2005 – 2006 report published on November 12, 2006) accessed on 11th November, 2012 (Diary method to rate radio listenership incorrect: MRUC) 136
  • 137. Glossary of terms Mess (With reference to book title): A place where people eat, live and socialise. TAM (As vertically highlighted in book title): The Audience Measurement Currencies: Any syndicated audience measurement research that is used for deciding advertising expenditure is called currency in MarCom domain. MarCom: Abbreviation for ‘Marketing & Communication’ Exposure/Reach: Media platform/vehicle that is being seen/heard/read by individuals is typically called exposure and extended meaning in more technical word is called reach. OTS: Average opportunity to see/read/listen. RPC: Readers per copy CPRP: Cost Per Rating Point CPT: Cost Per Thousand GRP: Gross Rating Point Media-mix: Various media platforms in proportions ATL: Abbreviated form of ‘Above the line’ activities such as TV, Print, Radio campaign, etc. BTL: Abbreviated form of ‘Below the line’ activities such as ground activation, exhibition, public relation activities, etc. 137
  • 138. OOH: Out of Home SEC: Social Economic Class meant for segmenting households in India based on education and occupation of chief contributor of household expenditure in a particular household. NRS: National Readership Survey conducted by National Readership Studies Council (NRSC) IRS: Indian Readership Survey conducted by Media Research Users Council (MRUC) TAM: Television Audience Measurement by TAM Media Research RAM: Radio Audience Measurement by TAM Media Research TGI: Target Group Index done by IMRB AdEx: Advertising expenditure reports by TAM Media Research GEC: General Entertainment Channel CAS: Conditional Access System via set-top box DTH: Direct-to-Home DVR: Digital Video Recording Vod: Video on Demand IPTV: Internet Protocol Television Path-to-purchase: Various stages through which a consumer passes for making brand purchase decision. Typically it starts with brand awareness to Brand consideration to Brand Preference and then developing loyalty. 138
  • 139. 139
  • 140. Sci-MO is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bridging the gap between marketing science theory and business practice. Sci-MO aims to create a common platform for likeminded people in the domain of marketing & communication, where people from MarCom fraternity can ideate, debate, share their work, white papers, research findings for betterment of science driven MarCom space. Let there be a flame of knowledge in MarCom domain that can be utilized and taken forward by present and future MarCom generation. Url: Email: For updates, visit us on You can reach the authors on: 140
  • 141. 141