Following is an excerpt from the interview. Links to the full interview videos can be found at http://weislermedia.blogspot.com/search?q=xenos
CW: Currently you are Director of Research for MediaVest and you are working on a variety of interesting projects. Can you tell us how the agency business has changed since you've been involved in agency research?
TX: I think what has happened is that as the media landscape has changed [because of ] how the audience has fragmented over time, there has been more demand on agencies to come up with creative ways of how to connect with consumers. Here at MediaVest one of the things we really focus on and consider research is connections: how do we really connect the dots between data, between trying to develop insights, between trying to understand what media the consumer is watching, how do they buy in terms of the buying process and really linking that together for the client....
There really has been a push to truly understand things from the consumer's perspective. A lot of times when you are in research, you fall into the trap of analyzing data from just the perspective of NBC or CBS or Lifetime or wherever you may be working -- but what we try to do here and what we try to bring to the table in terms of value is how the consumer [is' using media, how it is important to them, how do they engage. The same way a consumer watches TV may not be the same way that they interact with Internet or print or other media. Each medium is unique....
CW: Do you see consumer segment groups becoming more fragmented, or do you see them coalescing into different types of groups? Does it transcend age and gender?
TX: Well it depends on how you segment the audience, because I think there is a lot of room for creativity. And where you are seeing a lot of new data sources -- things like data fusion -- there is the ability for looking at opportunities to go beyond segmenting in the traditional way.
Nielsen has done a lot of stuff in terms of fusing their tv database with different kinds of data. There is also a company out there that MediaVest is working with, called TRA, that really looks to target in terms of product purchases. Instead of using traditional age/sex demographics, they are creating a database involving shopper card information. So there are a lot of opportunities, and I think what is happening is, while 20 years ago age [gender] was the accepted norm of how you would target your audience in terms of who you would want to reach, now I think everyone is a lot smarter and realizes that there are a lot more different dimensions to people than just how old they are.
And I think what is happening in the industry right now is that you are seeing a lot of these new services like TRA... data fusion is really that recognition that there is a connection and a different way of segmenting the audience and trying to understand their media habits.