Imagine someone persuaded Ferdinand Magellan and his crew to abandon the Great Big Victoria in exchange for 271 canoes to help them successfully cross the Pacific. Without a doubt, the agent selling the canoes would have made a very profitable deal, however, it is almost guaranteed that Mr Magellan and his crew would never ever be in the list of those who crossed the Pacific (though probably the first ones to successfully accomplish mass sinking of 271 canoes).
In this new richer and bigger world the words selling, persuading and advocating small ideas sound no different to me.
I'll let you into a secret – maths was NOT my strong point at grammar school. I never really got the hang of algebra, and the maths teacher I had for several years did little to stimulate interest and understanding in his students. However, going to college changed all that. We had a young, inspirational lecturer for statistics, and suddenly the fog lifted, and I got the point of it all. Enough to say that I achieved a high mark in a maths related field for the first time in my life. I was weaned on texts such as Moroney's 'Facts from Figures', and for research methods, Moser and Kalton's 'Survey Methods in Social Investigation'.
So, when I first worked in market research, as part of Fred Johnson's team at the Gas Council, I never thought of myself as a statistician, but I felt I knew the principles and theory of sampling – high quality research design being crucial to the major studies we used to help our internal clients forecast demand, such as the Peak Load Survey for energy consumption and the then AGB Home Audit for measuring appliance ownership.
Then, further on in my career, running market research at the AA, quality survey design was crucial for measuring demand for roadside services, new products and developing the Members Satisfaction Index that transformed the quality of service delivery in the mid 1990s. Quality research design was also crucial to measuring trends in motoring expenditure, published each quarter in 'Drive' magazine, and in supporting the AA's public policy activities – including the replication of the seminal study by Colin Buchanan, 'Traffic in Towns' (1963) which we undertook in the 1980s. Representativeness was key.
This post details research by Dr. Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy of Neurons Inc. He is a speaker at the Neuromarketing World Forum in Barcelona March 25-27.
Little is still understood about the actual in-store purchase process, and research is often limited by traditional research methods that rely on conscious self-reports. While traditional market research methods only allow recording of actual purchase and customers' self-reports about the reasons behind their choices, neuromarketing methods allow better assessment and understanding of key unconscious processes underlying consumer choice. Here, we report the result of two consumer neuroscience studies that explore whether in-store decisions can be traced to immediate neural responses that precede conscious deliberation.
This post by GroupM's Adam Smith summarises the latest forecasts for 2015 ad expenditure in the UK and how they will impact on media categories.
The UK economy is in strong, but vulnerable, recovery. Our trade deficit is a symptom. its run-rate of 5% of GDP is the highest it has ever been in peacetime. This is not healthy. It suggests under investment in domestic production (guilty), excess borrowing to consume (guilty), and, in particular, excess borrowing from foreigners (which can dry up without warning, especially with the Fed calling its dollars home).
Another symptom is relying on consumers to save less rather than earning more. Takehome pay has risen 8% since 2008; CPI, 20%. Falling oil and supermarket prices will increase real spending power temporarily. Lasting improvement requires better productivity, which requires corporate investment, which requires a degree of confidence about the future which UK Plc may lack. For these ad forecasts, the short-term looks more attractive than the long-term. The advertising recovery peaked in 2013. And even the short-term comes with a government health warning. Low wage growth brought a tax shortfall, so the government is not finished with austerity yet. We will hear more about this after the election. The 11% (of GDP) annual budget deficit the coalition inherited in 2010 is still running at 5%-6% (same as Spain, worse than Italy) and the pile of accumulated public debt has doubled, to £1.5 trillion (nearly 90% of annual GDP).
The consumables sector is set to account for the greatest category share of UK advertising spend in 2015, according to the latest data from the AA/Warc Expenditure Report. The sector – comprising cosmetics & toiletries, food, drink, household FMCG, pharmaceuticals and tobacco – should take around 23% of total adspend, with ad revenues in excess of £2.4bn. This follows anticipated growth of 1.5% for the category in 2015, following a rise of 0.6% last year.
The category data included within the Expenditure Report is sourced from Nielsen, the market research firm. The 26 major product categories measured by Nielsen – Nielsen's data collection methodology is detailed here – are grouped into seven major sectors by the Advertising Association and Warc, according to the table below.
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UK recruitment adspend has now shown year-on-year growth in the last four quarters, and is expected to post continuous growth throughout the forecast period to end-Q3 2016, according to the latest data from the Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report.
The Report estimates annual growth in recruitment adspend of 3.9% last year, with total spend of approximately £528m, while a further increase – of 4.8% – is forecast this year. Prior to the last four quarters of growth, the sector had registered a decline in 21 of the previous 23 quarters.
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UK advertising expenditure is forecast to total £19.6bn in 2015, according to the latest data from the Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report, released this week. This is comfortably the largest total ever recorded, and represents a 5.7% annual increase from 2014. Receipts for 2014 are expected to total approximately £18.5bn, following growth of 5.8% from 2013. These rises also represent the best consecutive growth period since the millennium.
The largest medium for adspend – since surpassing TV in 2011 – is internet, with pure play digital revenues of £7.0bn forecast this year. The pure play figure excludes digital revenues from magazines and newsbrands as well as those from broadcaster VoD, however it does include mobile revenues, which have risen significantly over the last five years.
In 2015, one in every three pounds spent on internet advertising will be specifically for mobile, up from 1/20 in 2011. Furthermore, annual mobile display and search revenues are each expected to surpass £1bn for the first time this year.
As we enter 2015, electioneering in the UK has already started, up front of May's general election. Is this going to be a difficult time for the pollsters, especially following on from their perceived performance in predicting the outcome of last September's referendum in Scotland on independence?
All the signs point to a complex situation, with the possible annihilation of the Liberals; the rise of UKIP; the increasing support for the SNP in Scotland, possibly causing Labour a lot of grief; the role of the Green vote. Forecasting the likely outcome looks to be more problematic than has been the case for many years.
One issue that was discussed in the context of the polls conducted leading up to the referendum vote in Scotland last autumn was the impact of the 'spiral of silence' which may have contributed towards the 'no' vote having been understated in the polls. So, what exactly is the 'spiral of silence' effect, and are there ways in which pollsters can try to account for its influence when predicting voting intentions?
This post is by Richard Shotton, Head of Insight at ZenithOptimedia.
Much of advertising research is based on listening to what consumers say and then adapting campaigns accordingly. It seems a logical enough approach. However, it's based on the premise that what consumers say and what they do are aligned. Unfortunately there's a growing body of evidence that shows that the two things are often at odds.
Take sex. When heterosexual men and women are asked about the number of partners they have slept with the numbers vary dramatically. A 2013 Lancet study of 15,000 adults found that UK women admit to sleeping with an average of eight partners compared to twelve for men. The scale of the difference is not logically consistent. The most plausible explanation is that men feel a cultural pressure to exaggerate their exploits whilst women feel a corresponding pressure to play it down. Surveys, therefore, tell us more about what people feel they should say than the absolute truth.
In my last blog, I wrote about the risks to anonymity facing participants in confidential research projects if we don't give sufficient thought to the risk posed from creative analysts accessing survey data.
As you can read in my next Editorial (57/1, January), the MRS Census and Geodemographics Group (CGG) conference held last November focused on the growing opportunities now available through open data initiatives. Whilst the conference focused on the UK, similar initiatives are happening in other countries, not just to provide access to data in the public sector, but to encourage commercial organisations to open up their data resources to wider audiences.
As I describe, one speaker provided feedback from the Open Data Institute summit, held the day before in London where Tim Berners-Lee had argued that open data would be as transformational as the internet has been. However, in the week I write this (19th December), we see three contrasting perspectives on open data.