al berrios & co. CONSUMER STRATEGIES REPORT 09.23.03: Comparing the HBO and Showtime Consumers Using Our Research Approach

[1] UPDATES: We Never Stop Learning
[2] TRADE EVENT: Advertising Research Federation Week of Workshops, + + + +
[3] CONSUMER: Comparing the HBO and Showtime Consumers Using the al berrios & co. Research Approach
[5] TRADE EVENT: Kagan's Radio Summit, + + + +
[6] OPINION REPORT: Grasso: The Day After

"I think this anti-Trust fever is a craze." - Paul Babcok to John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

Good morning execs,

Yesterday was the big day - I introduced iMarketing (my proprietary research methodology) to the Advertising Research public. If you missed it, I'd be more than happy to present it to you personally - just ask.

As a result, this week's report will feature my study on the premium cable consumer and corresponding speaker's presentation. In addition, below you'll find my trade event reports for last week's TechxNY and Kagan's Radio Summit, as well as this week's ARF Week of Workshops conference.

Finally, I'm letting you know what I think about this Dick Grasso situation - absolute crazyness.

Enjoy your REPORT!


Advertising Research Federation Week of Workshops, + + + +
By Al Berrios, Published Tuesday, September 23, 12:45am E.D.T.

For months I'd been preparing my presentation, expecting a near revolt at my usurping the research industry's bread-and-butter billing tactics with my research approach - a simple, yet highly efficient way of gathering massive amounts of consumer data. It's what allows us to advise you on "consumer strategies" and most times, I provide as a value-added incentive to having us advise you.

To my utter amazement, the audience was passive and actually not surprised at what I was proposing - to get away from focus groups and start interacting with your audience. Do this in their environment and without incentives and eliminate approximately 95% of your costs of doing research. In fact, throughout the day, many other researchers advocated similar approaches. What's happened to research in the last 3 years?

Post-internet, consumers evolved. They've actually become sophisticated with their expectations and perceptions of brands. When we ask them questions, they'll actually answer honestly because 1) big brother is no longer a big fear and 2) in this age of transparency, researchers inform consumers what their answers are going to be used for and consumers enjoy knowing how they're part of the process.

Qualitative vs. quantitative isn't about the data, it's about the analysis. Ethnography captures what demography leaves behind. And insights should be had by the client, not the data-gatherer in order for research to have value. It was with this liberal-minded, commercial yet, academic backdrop that I presented the al berrios & co. research methodology and application. And I think they liked what I had to say.

The event was hosted at the Crown Plaza hotel, a venue I've criticized as being probably one of the worst venues in the city in terms of attendee accommodations and space. ("Jupiter Advertising Forum Conference & Expo"). The food was average (continental breakfast and buffet chicken or beef), while the other attendees skewing towards geeky and very knowledgeable. Basically, if you skipped grad school, you can make it up by going to this event; it's a mental marathon, with non-stop stats, facts, and methods. Overall, 4 our of 5 pluses (+ + + +). You can check out the ARF's site for details.


Click here for Report >>


By Al Berrios, Published Tuesday, September 23, 12:45am E.D.T.

What a waste of time TECHXNY has become. It used to be a grand spectacle that took up the entire Javits Center in New York. Last week's event took up half of the floor space than prior years, with HP and IBM using it as a mere sales opportunity for cameras, printers and laptops, rather than a showcase for new products, services, or ideas.

What's happened with TECHXNY isn't unique. In attending dozens of trade events, I've observed severe shortages of attendees at large events, while increases in attendance to smaller, more focused, and high-level events. The large, late-90s-style, shows just aren't as appealing anymore. In my research into the meeting planning industry, we learned that the budgets aren't there either, and that service and amenities have become more important than space ("The Meeting Planner and the Perfect Space"). In a market saturated with competitors, these are always the two most potent differentiators.

I expect that either shows like TECHXNY will be bought by another event organizer and consolidated with another event, or TECHXNY will just cease, leaving the market open to a new generation of event organizer, one that breeds exclusivity, promotes education as well as networking opportunity, and ultimately delivers greater value for your dollar. (Due to TECHXNY's history, I'm sure it'll be a survivor, but please, put it out of its misery until the economy recovers.)


Kagan's Radio Summit, + + + +
By Al Berrios, Published Tuesday, September 23, 12:45am E.D.T.

The business of radio is so mundane and straightforward, it's a surprise few understand it. And for a medium that's been around way before TV, too few marketing experts understand its affect on consumers. But guess what, Viacom, with only 180 radio stations throws off $1 billion annually from free cash flow, according to Chairman and CEO John Sykes. Imagine Clear Channel and their 1376 stations? And consumers spend an average of 40% of their uninterrupted time with radio. Yes, it's passive, but with frequency and reach, your message will get across and you will be able to develop that all important relationship with consumers.

Kagan's Radio Summit was indeed an eye-opener. Although a business of older, fatter, balder boys, there's plenty for the next generation to love. From a financial point of view, the assets and licenses all have automatic value (particularly in this consolidating environment). From an advertiser point of view, it's cheap and local, which means targeting is a breeze. And from a programmer's point of view, attracting an audience is as inexpensive as playing the top songs of any genre, with a mix of news, weather, traffic, sports, and business. It's a wonder the industry has remained relatively hidden from entrepreneurs.

Although I'd love to expound on the many more virtues of radio, or media consolidation for that matter, you can check out previous articles I've written about the subject. Overall, I'd give this event at the gaudy Helmsley Park Place 4 out of 5 pluses (+ + + +).


Grasso: The Day After
By Al Berrios, Published Tuesday, September 23, 12:45am E.D.T.

As I've witnessed Chairman Grasso's life implode on the pages of the Wall Street Journal, I've asked myself, what's the point? What's the point of working hard to become the boss if you can't keep the rewards that come with it? What's the point of being in a position to look out for the people you trust, if you can't hire them or put them on your board? What's the point of providing employees with benefits and good pay, if they're all eagerly competing to blow that whistle? What's the point?

Today, the day after, every major NYC paper announced Grasso's resignation on the front page, as though announcing to the common man that, "Look, See, We're not bad guys. It was just one greedy, bad apple that we got rid of for you!" Is the common man supposed stop asking for transparency and accountability because you've sacrificed another one of your own to this witch hunt called Sarbanes-Oxley? And what will happen to the American spirit if by "corporate governance" you mean, "We will not tolerate aspiration"?

Paul Babcok once advised John D. Rockefeller, "I think this anti-Trust fever is a craze." (Cherlow, Ron. "Titan", Vintage Books, 1998). My, my, how soon we forget the past.



Disclaimer: The recommendations, commentary and opinions published herein are based on public information sometimes referenced via hyperlinks. Any similarities or likeness to any ideas or commentary from any other sources not referenced is purely coincidental. al berrios & co. cannot control any results occurring from advice obtained from this publication nor any opinion(s) conveyed by any reader of this publication.

(c) 2001-2005. All Rights Reserved. al berrios & company, inc. Published by al berrios & co. This Report may not be reproduced or redistributed in any form without written permission from al berrios & co., subject to penalty.


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