Too Many Chiefs? - Alan Cox of Core Media

Date: 17/09/2012 | Comments


'What we need is single-source research which measures multi-media exposure for individual respondents and then relates these interactions to purchase behaviour'


The media & marketing business is comprised of many patches, with each section of the industry doing its own thing. The clearest example of this is media research. The industry spends over €5m per annum on measuring the audiences to TV, radio, press, cinema, online and outdoor separately. Instead of being managed by one body, the results are provided via seven different silo organisations with no co-operation between them.

This provides us with data about who sees ‘this’, reads ‘that’ or listens to ‘the other’, but precious little about how different media exposures work together to create consumer intent.

This approach needs to change immediately if we are to have a system that is fit for purpose in ten years time. I know this is a difficult topic and the challenges are considerable, but we cannot ignore them. If we think cross-media research is challenging today, it is going to be infinitely more challenging in the future.

Media consumption is growing rapidly due to the adoption of digital technology and the meshing of different platforms; young adults are spending 25% more time with media today than they did five years ago and this will grow by a further 35% in the next five years. Our cross-media research practices are light years behind this new reality. 

What we need is single source research which measures multi-media exposure for individual respondents and then relates these interactions to purchase behaviour. Achieving this will be extremely difficult due to the data burden on respondents, but it will be cracked and Ireland should be at the forefront of this development. We are ideally placed to become an International centre of research excellence if we want to - we are a small but sophisticated media market with strong connections into global media businesses.

The first task is to set up a joint industry team to explore all the options and seek funding for Ireland as a test market. The key challenge to make this happen will be getting media owners to co-operate with each other. A strong representative body from the marketing services industry will be required to drive this forward and this brings us to problem number two. 

The marketing services industry is also carved up according to different territories. We have associations and institutes for everything – advertising, direct marketing, the internet, public relations etc. None of these bodies have the critical mass or resources to make any real difference and consequently we never see any fundamental change or innovation at industry level. What needs to happen is the coming together of these organisations into one powerful institute for Integrated Marketing Communications which would pack a real punch. This is the kind of organisation that could see a project of this scale and complexity through. 

I know I can be accused for repeating myself on these points, but I obviously haven’t reached the effective frequency target yet...