360-Degree View Of Consumers

New Delhi, Sept 18: | Updated: Sep 19 2003, 05:30am hrs
So you think the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) is all about ad insertions and readership figures Right. Not quite. Possibly, for the first time, there has been an attempt to go beyond number crunching with IRS and use the vast databaseof about 2.3 lakh consumersto answer some strategic questions marketers grapple with.

The initiative has been taken by NFO MBL India, the Indian arm of the international research agency NFO WorldGroup in collaboration with the Media Research Users Council (MRUC), the NGO which brings out the IRS. The report leverages all the information in IRS 2002 to segment and profile consumers and arrive at the relative potential of different segments and markets.

The sheer sample size of the survey makes it unique and different from other surveys, says NFO MBL India general manager ND Badrinath. Named Future Outlook, the survey offers a 360-degree view of 2.3 lakh consumers, using all 35 demographic and lifestyle indicators; 33 media exposure indicators; 179 indicators related to FMCG usage and 82 related to durables ownership, reported separately for 40 metros and mini-metros; 22 states; 62 socio-cultural regions!

Sample this:

The top of the pyramid, for instance, hitherto classified as one heterogenous group called SEC A1, is further split into three parts or clusters.

Such segmentation prioritises your marketing efforts and impacts strategic decisions, says Mr Badrinath.

Further, quite unexpectedly, the high-potential segment for new generation brands, say washing machine, in the next one or two years is neither SEC A dominated or SEC B dominated cluster but surprisingly its SEC C dominated Cluster described by the report as lower middle class and while collar workers, titled Followers. Followers are set to contribute strongly, they can generate large number of first-time buyers, and are also good share replacement buyers, notes Mr Badrinath.

The Future Outlook report, using sophisticated data mining techniques, offers detailed descriptions of prospective consumer segments based on more than 300 indicators available. It then goes on to describe their product purchase behaviour and media habits; and follows this up with an assessment of business prospects for the near term, says Mr Badrinath.

The survey which took NFO nearly a year to complete, can help a marketing manager to determine:

*Which are the growth segments

*Where to invest marketing effort and budgets

*Is the positioning working equally hard with all key growth segments

*Is the retail strategy providing competitive advantage

*What are the opportunities for cross-selling, up-grading or brand extensions

Interestingly, even though NFO India parted ways with the IRS in March this year, it has been closely working with MRUC on the Future Outlook project. Our partnership however continues for this project, Mr Badrinath said.

MRUC has now tied up with Hansa Vision, the research division of advertising agency RK Swamy BBDO, to conduct the field work for IRS.