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NY Times: Madison Avenue Turns a Keen Eye Toward Mothers

June 16, 2011

By Stuart Elliot

An organization that seeks to improve the quality of information about how consumers consume media is releasing its most comprehensive data to date.

The data is being compiled to focus on mothers, a demographic group that Madison Avenue is keen to know more about because of how often they shop and the fact they buy goods for their families as well as themselves.

The organization, named the Coalition of Innovative Media Measurement, is a consortium of two dozen companies in the advertising, marketing and media industries.

The members are seeking better methods of learning how and where consumers watch, read and see commercials and other forms of advertisements. The search for more precise data across various types of media has for decades been almost a grail-like quest for the executives in those industries.

Among the members are AT&T, CBS, Comcast, Walt Disney, Hearst, the Mediabrands unit of the Interpublic Group of Companies, the Omnicom Media Group unit of the Omnicom Group, Procter & Gamble, the Publicis Groupe, Time Warner and Unilever.

The organization is to make a presentation on Tuesday morning at a session of the annual conference of the Advertising Research Foundation. The conference is being held at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square.

The presentation will offer a cross-media look at the data the organization has compiled after a consumer pilot survey that was conducted with the Media Behavior Institute. The survey ran from September through February.

The survey was conducted among 1,000 consumers, men and women, ages 18 to 64. Every 90 minutes or so over a 10-day period, they were asked to detail their media usage and other information in 30-minute blocks.

“We want to bring a time-based understanding” of consumer media habits, said Jane Clarke, managing director of the coalition, which is based in New York.

“By being able to have the time of day, you get this amazing texture” to the usage patterns, she added.

For the initial presentation, the organization and the institute decided to gather and release the data about the mothers among the consumers surveyed.

The mothers are “being used as an example” of what the organization was able to learn, Ms. Clarke said.

The mothers were divided by age into three groups: millennial mothers, ages 18 to 32; mothers who belong to Generation X, ages 33 to 46; and mothers who are baby boomers, ages 47 to 64.

Among the findings that Ms. Clarke and others at the coalition said were the most interesting are these:

*The younger mothers spend less time on so-called basic duty chores and tasks like grocery shopping than the older mothers.

*The Gen X moms spend about the same amount of time on those chores as the boomer moms, almost a third of each day.

*The Gen X mothers have the least amount of “down time” during the day of any of the three groups of moms.

*When preparing meals, the media that millennial mothers typically interact with include print media and mobile media. The Gen X mothers use media like television, the Internet, e-mail and mobile. The boomer mothers are avid television watchers during meal preparation.

*Millennial mothers spend 43 percent more time during the day than boomer mothers on connecting with others.

*Meal preparation time for millennial moms is diffused throughout the day, while Gen X mothers tend to concentrate on preparing dinners and boomer moms tend to focus on breakfasts.

*For all three groups, the time spent during meal preparation is not generally a “happy” time, they say. That is contrary to how that time of day is portrayed in so many commercials and print ads.

That finding, for instance, could lead agencies to tell their advertiser clients that ads depicting products as enabling mothers to cheerfully spend time preparing meals might be more effective if reworked to show those products as helping mothers quickly complete a chore.

The organization calls the survey the USA TouchPoints initiative. The first TouchPoints surveys were conducted in Britain in 2006 on behalf of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. The American version is based on and licensed from the British service.

The next step the coalition plans is to combine the data from the pilot study with information from existing media measurement services.

That will provide “a much richer picture than we’ve had before” of consumer media behavior, Ms. Clarke said.

As seen here:
http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/13/madison-avenue-turns-a-keen-eye-toward-mothers/

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