December 16, 2000

Simmons Market Research Bureau has created a common language between media and marketing research by integrating Nielsen's television currency with Simmons' multi-media/product marketing currency. With this accomplishment, ad agencies, advertisers and media companies now have a breakthrough media planning and buying tool to precisely identify and reach the consumers who matter most to their bottom line sales.

"The product and television marketplaces in the U.S. are extremely fragmented, and demographics alone (age, income, education) can no longer provide the basis for definitive consumer targeting," said Howard Shimmel, President of Symmetrical Resources, the parent company of Simmons. "What often happens is that media buyers successfully define narrow consumer targets in strategic planning sessions but those distinct consumer targets are lost when converted to broad demos for national television program selection."

"But by linking Simmons' behavioral and multi-media research with Nielsen's measure of TV viewership, we're offering a statistically significant way for businesses to accurately determine who their key customer groups are and what national television inventory on network, syndication and cable best reaches them, and to be able to buy that inventory using the Nielsen currency data."

Integrating Media and Marketing Research

The Nielsen data set contains detailed demographic information about television viewing. The Simmons National Consumer Study (NCS) data set contains in-depth demographic and psychographic information about consumer product consumption, as well as television, magazine, radio, newspaper and online exposure.

The integration of Nielsen and Simmons occurred using a breakthrough segmentation system called Matched Program Genre Clustering. First, the television programs and networks that are measured by both Nielsen and Simmons are scored for their ability to discriminate viewers. The programs and networks which are found to be the best discriminators are then grouped into one of 32 program genres, such as Late Night Junkie, Ethnic Sitcom, Evening Soap Drama, Real Crime TV or Cultural Cable. A sophisticated statistical segmentation process then assigned Nielsen and Simmons respondents to one of 23 Program Genre Clusters, based on their viewing to these 32 program genres. The end result is that individuals with similar viewing behaviors are identified in both the Simmons and Nielsen data sets.

This integration creates the most comprehensive picture of today's consumer groups, showing with crystal clear clarity the relationship between product consumption and television usage across all categories.

Ad Agencies and Advertisers Achieve Precision Targeting

For example, a beverage manufacturer can use Simmons NCS to develop an in-depth profile of the heaviest soda users. The retailer then identifies which Program Genre Clusters best define this target, and optimize their advertising schedule against those Program Genre Clusters in Nielsen. The retailer may find high CPM (cost per thousand) inventory that does not effectively reach its target, or low CPM inventory that does a very effective job of reaching their target. This roadmap is used to plan against the fragmented world of television today.

Media Companies Document/Boost Sales Effectiveness

For media companies looking to document the product consumption value of their viewers, this tool has tremendous value. For example, using the beverage manufacturer example previously mentioned, a media company will be able to find the Program Genre Clusters that best defines this target, and then use Nielsen data to document their competitive strength at delivering this audience, and build sales plans with the target Program Genre Clusters in mind.

This strategic research tool extends beyond the venue of advertising sales and planning/buying. A network or cable executive, for instance, knows the limitations of their on-channel audience reach. Now with the Simmons' link and its clustering methodology, they can clearly determine how to build their audience base through off-channel outlets including magazines, newspapers, radio and online advertising.

"The future of media and marketing research lies in merging traditional data with transactional data," said Shimmel. "We've already done this successfully with Transactional Data Solutions, our joint venture with MasterCard International. We're now applying our unique research engine --which is currently undergoing patent approval -- to this new challenge of linking the Nielsen and Simmons databases in a statistically significant way. With it, advertisers and media companies have a highly competitive tool to hone directly in on their key customers."

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