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David Verklin: What research the Carat boss wants

RBR/TVBR recently asked David Verklin, CEO of Carat Americas: What do you wish research companies could provide that they're not?

"I think there are a few key buckets on the research area that we're all interested in. The first is that in the quest for ROI, everyone wants research that answers the question "I spent a dollar and I want to know what I got back." But there's really an issue that's before that which is some kind of research on the effectiveness of non-traditional media. How do we measure event marketing? How do we understand what is the ROI on that model? What do you get for that experimental market activity? I think the research on non-traditional media is one that we could really use. ROI research would be great, but even in front of that would just be some metrics on how do people react to event marketing? Does it have a lingering effect on brand imagery? Are we seeing that those kinds of experiences do drive purchase intent?

I'll give you a very simple fact; call it 'Verklin's Law.' ROI is directly proportional to the diversity of the media mix and the degree of interactivity in the media plan. Now we have seen that fact through our market mix modeling analysis of over 800 brands. You show me a media plan that's got a lot of componentry to it - - that could be both the Internet or it could be direct response, anything that's got more two-way - - and I will show you a media plan that's generating a higher ROI. What fascinates me is what research do we have that shows the punching power and throw weight of a more diverse marketing mix that has lots of elements? The problem is that as you move into some of these diversified marketing elements, they are extremely difficult to research and to be able to get statistical measurements that they're giving you ROI.

Most of us would agree that the traditional media metrics, almost all of them, are flawed. The second bucket is an improvement in traditional media measurement devices. Television research right now basically measures the number of people watching the program and then we impute that the same number people who are watching the program watch the ad at the commercial break. We do not have minute-by-minute research in TV, which they have in Europe. We have research every quarter hour. Well, if you're an advertiser particularly with new advertising technology in the future, I'm actually not interested in who's watching the show I'm interested in who's watching the ad. That's an example of an improvement we need to make in traditional research and that's minute-by-minute research.

The next bucket we're going to need is, I'll call this 'Aggregated National Data for Interactive Television.' Imagine I've created a VOD opportunity on five different cable systems. I need the data on who clicked on that and the action they took, hopefully a little bit about who watched my ad. I need that rolled up nationally. I don't want to deal with five different cable operators. So there needs to be some kind of national media interactive TV clearinghouse."

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