The South African Audience Research Foundation (SAARF) has proposed a new marketing research currency to replace AMPS. Michael Bratt attended the launch to find out more.
After a long consultative process with marketers and agencies, SAARF said it was clear there was a feeling that mothballing AMPS had left a gap and there was enough demand to consider a replacement research currency.
“This initiative is in response to growing concerns from marketers and their agencies about the brand, product and intermedia usage research void that has occurred arising from the withdrawal from SAARF of the media owner associations, and the resulting lack of funding for such research,” said Greg Garden, CEO of the Marketing Association of South Africa (MA(SA)).
Acting SAARF CEO Johann Koster also addressed the gathering. “Without funding, SAARF cannot do the research that will fill the gaps. Our consultations have shown that many marketers and agencies are willing to fund a new currency,” he said, adding that, “Marketers want the main categories of AMPS to remain as it is familiar.” He said, in effect, AMPS would return, but it would be revamped and fresh with new elements.
Feedback from marketers and agencies also showed that the research needed to be:
- Independent, transparent and audited
- Innovative – new methods and technology
- Co-operative and collaborative, training and development with a transformative mandate
- Established independent, benchmark research (continuous monitoring and audits)
“The best way of doing this type of research is through paper diaries, face to face interviews which will give you a solid base,” Koster said. A ‘day in the life of’ diary would be instituted, accompanied by an integrated consumer panel which would track shifts in consumer behaviour and new trends.
Koster reemphasised the benefits of this new research currency. It would fill the gaps left by the demise of AMPS; provide a single integrated view of the marketplace; does not require a change of target market definitions as LSMs would be available, but they would be reviewed, refreshed and tested; and it would be geared to the strategic and planning needs of marketers as they will be able to contribute to what is included.
Garden explained how this proposed research currency would be funded, saying that there were not enough marketers in the room and that everyone should take the plan back to their clients. He explained that a new levy system was explored, but it was determined to not be feasible as it was too complicated with too many questions that needed answers.
“Marketers also are not supportive of an industry-wide levy model,” Garden added. A subscription model was proposed, meaning that participation would be voluntary, not mandatory, and those who subscribed would be able to access to the research. He added that a minimum number of subscribers, between 60 to 90, would be needed to make this research currency feasible.
Garden also revealed that subscriptions would be based on the subscribers annual advertising spend, utilising a three tier system:
- 5% of annual adspend up to R250 million, with a minimum contribution of R35 000
- Plus (if applicable) 0.4% of annual adspend between R250 million and R500 million
- Plus (if applicable) 0.3% of annual adspend in excess of R500 million, with any subscription capped at a maximum of R2.5 million per subscriber.
The collection of this money would be outsourced to an external collection agency to separate it from the company doing the actual research itself.
“Making this happen is entirely dependent on enough marketers indicating their participation in principle within the subscription window, SAARF concluded.
SAARF chairman, Virginia Hollis, described this new research currency as “new and improved independent and media neutral ongoing consumer focused research, which could be available to all marketers on an affordable basis”.
The project is a collaborative effort between MA(SA), the Advertising Media Forum (AMF), and the Association for Communication and Advertising (ACA).
The end of March is the close of the subscription window. SAARF has urged marketers to come and put their names down for this research and then there will be time to discuss the Ts&Cs of their involvement.
Follow Michael Bratt on Twitter @MichaelBratt8