Tech Study Challenges IntelliQuest, Offers Integrated Media Perspective

A research company is going directly after IntelliQuest's decade-old CIMS Study with a competitive product that promises to deliver upon one of the planning world's long-standing desires: integrated research across multiple media platforms.

Texas-based technology researcher Mindwave Research is in the final stages of preparing a new research study examining the media habits and buying patterns of both IT-types and consumers involved with technology products, planning for a June release of TAP: Technology Advertising Planner.

IntelliQuest, which just a few weeks ago announced that it was moving to a 100 percent online-based methodology, has been conducting such research on those engaged in purchasing technology products for nearly 10 years.

Yet TAP promises to be much more narrowly focused and much more user-friendly than IntelliQuest's CIMS (Computer Industry Media Study), or any other media research tool, according to Mindwave president and CEO Jonathan Hilland.

"The big story is integration," Hilland said. "This will allow planners to get reach and frequency data and simulate a fully integrated media buy."



Media planners typically refer to multiple sources of research data when planning campaigns across different media, and have long clamored for research that is compatible.

"Planners often have to do some guesswork about what overlap occurs in these vehicles," said Hilland.

That is also a problem for publishers that produce magazines and Web sites, says Hilland. "Publishers hate it," said Hilland. They can't say: 'Here is what my total audience is.' They can't talk about unduplicated reach."

Unlike CIMS, which measures users' TV and print habits, TAP will implement an extensive research questionnaire that includes metrics on all relevant media, including the Internet (CIMS does go back to users with a secondary questionnaire that delves into Internet usage--although according to Hilland, this research employs a different base).

In another departure from CIMS, TAP will focus on a much more finite universe. "Last year, they identified 49 million technology influencers," Hilland said. "Excluding those who don't work professionally, etc., that is basically saying that one in four--or one in three people in America--influence how technology is bought."

Instead, TAP will filter out influencers, focusing solely on those who actually make buying decisions at companies. Hilland believes he will end up with a universe that is closer to 3 million people.

To allow advertisers to zero in on their most attractive business targets, TAP will also track metrics such as current brand usage and purchase intent. That way, "Media planners can say, 'we can find segments of the population who are desktop purchasers who are already pro-Dell,' for example," said Hilland.

Mindwave also promises to deliver this new research in a more timely fashion (in June, pre-planning cycles) and in a more user friendly fashion, with data points highlighted.

Given the ambitious scope of this undertaking--particularly the depth of proposed data collection--Hilland acknowledges that TAP may require quite a bulky study.

"We have to be careful of what we ask of people's time," he said. The size of the study "will also factor into compensation."

Currently, Mindwave is out talking to advertisers, publishers, clients, and agencies, both as a sales mission and as an opportunity to garner feedback before going into research mode.

If this venture proves successful, will Mindwave attempt to extend this product into the more general market, taking on players such as Simmons and Mediamark Research Inc (MRI)?

"Never say never," said Hilland. "But technology is what we've live and breathed for years."

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