If there is one sacred truth in the media and advertising these days, it is that much in consumer behavior has changed dramatically since the beginning of the global pandemic.
Media agencies whose job it is to monitor consumer habits and behaviors in order to guide their clients to the best possible activations and executions have been putting together consumer research panels over the past year. Although some panels have been operating for years, others have stepped up their efforts in recent months in hopes of gathering more first-party information for their customers and beyond where a consumer has gone on their online journey why they went there and what motivates or discourages them.
Media agencies not only want to refresh and update their consumer knowledge in a changed world, but also feel increasing competitive pressure like consulting firms and smaller shops that specialize in this type of knowledge. And finally, with the setting of cookies, a decreased ability to track consumer behavior across the digital landscape requires deeper understanding – especially as contextual targeting is making a comeback. The more you know about your customer’s customers, the better you can position their marketing.
“We’re in the business of understanding consumer sentiment,” said Barry Lowenthal, CEO of Media Kitchen, part of the Stagwell Media Network, of which Stagwell Partners owns research company Harris Poll. “We can use surveys and panels to interview potential customers, thanks to ever simpler technology. And it is more important than ever that cookies disappear. ”
Lowenthal said it was important to constantly maintain and refine the panels – it should never be a one-off or occasional endeavor, no matter what the cost. (In most cases, agencies cover the costs associated with consumer panels and only charge the customer if there is a special request or particularly heavy effort.)
While not new to the agency world, setting up original consumer panels “gives you the ability to conduct on-demand research for a client in a scalable and action-oriented manner,” said Jed Meyer, senior vice president, media domain leader at Kantar .
A former CEO of a media agency who now runs a consulting firm who refused to speak up for attribution blamed the holding companies for years of neglecting consumer panels as they complained about third-party data offered by cookies supported. “They have been neglected for years and are now back in vogue,” said the managing director.
Dentsu, for example, has been operating its Carat Consumer Connection System (CCS) for years and is now part of Merkle’s M1 division. And with the acquisition of Epsilon, Publicis inherited Shoppers Voice, a self-reported database of 22 million consumers (100% permission-based opt-in) – its goal is to “find difficult-to-reach consumers and enable our partners to deliver personalized messages send”. in the right channel and timeframe so that you can increase the response and the ROI, ”said an Epsilon representative.
You certainly are. In the past few months, Omnicom Media Group and Horizon Media have made renewed efforts to dig deeper into the who and why of consumer behavior.
Horizon Media started a human intelligence practice within its WHY unit in June that has been dealing with the cultural and societal factors that influence people’s consumption decisions for 14 years. The new HI team aims to examine the behavioral aspects of the long chain of human decision-making – trying to identify the chain of influences and factors in the consumer decisions that Horizon customers want help with, from the product / service planning phase (usually not) being one step ahead (a place where media agency people raise their heads) to messaging, planning, and advertising.
Similarly, in May, OMG launched OMG Signal, a consumer panel of approximately 2 million Americans that it can access anytime (who signed up using a new privacy-compliant language) via an online survey to access the company’s omni data platform to enhance. Since it is directly integrated into Omni’s identity diagrams, the panel’s insights can automatically flow into media planning, activation and measurement, which enables quick pivots on customer campaigns – either creatively or in placement. Areas of interest include gender insights, intergenerational differences, cultural and multicultural trends, and attitude and psychographic profiles.
“We have been working on the use of behavioral data for a long time – we used it early on for marketing purposes,” said Scott Hagedorn, CEO of OMG North America, at the time of the launch. “But that’s how someone behaves, it’s not the motivation to behave. So we wanted to take a leap into the qualitative and anthropological side while still having a quantitative ability. “
In other words, better, more insightful answers for customers will help keep them happy.
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