Uses of data increasing

The ways in which advertisers and agencies use pmb data are varied and becoming more sophisticated as understanding of the survey and its applications grows, according to a cross-section of client and agency representatives.Sandy Key, manager of media administration at Imperial...

The ways in which advertisers and agencies use pmb data are varied and becoming more sophisticated as understanding of the survey and its applications grows, according to a cross-section of client and agency representatives.

Sandy Key, manager of media administration at Imperial Tobacco, says the company uses the PMB Print Measurement Bureau annual survey, which provides independent research into the product consumption, media habits and lifestyles of consumers, to help it define its sponsorship programs.


Since the federal ban on advertising of tobacco products, Imperial has used sponsorship events such as jazz festivals, tennis tournaments, car races and the Canadian Open golf tournament as a way of keeping the company top-of-mind with the consumer.

Key says Imperial uses the data from the annual study by pmb – an organization of about 230 publishers, ad agencies and advertisers – to help it create a profile of those who attend these events, and as a barometer for changing trends.

And although Imperial, which joined pmb in 1972, the year it was founded, can no longer advertise its products, it can promote its sponsorship events through traditional advertising and uses pmb data on consumers’ media habits to select the appropriate vehicles.

Canada Post sponsors some proprietary questions in the pmb survey.

Paul Oldale, manager of advertising for Canada Post, a pmb member for about five years, says the questions deal with the types of mail people open and read.

The results are confidential and available only to Canada Post.

Oldale says Canada Post leaves use of the pmb data up to its Montreal agency, Publicite Martin.

Robert DesLauriers, account group director, strategic planning and client services at Publicite Martin, says the pmb study is ‘one of the most useful pieces of research we have in advertising.

Choice of media

‘The media department uses it along with other research to identify the best choice of media,’ DesLauriers says.

‘But it provides a lot more than just media information,’ he says. ‘There’s lots of information on consumer habits so we can better profile our target groups.’

The agency gets pmb data on computer disc, runs it with its own information, and, if needed, the pmb representative is contacted for more information or to double-check the agency’s analysis.

PMB numbers were used to target the primary buyers of courier products for Canada Post’s Priority Courier service, which got under way this past January after two years of planning.

Discussions about Priority Courier’s sponsorship of the coverage of the 1992 Olympics began in 1990.

In March 1991, the next step was the use of pmb data to define the profile of the target group so the rest of the media plan could be established.

Canada Post targetted professional shippers as primary buyers, with decision-makers as the secondary audience.

pmb information allowed the agency to isolate the media habits of both groups.

The result was that a mix of tv sports and news programming was used to reach the primary buyers.

To zero in on the secondary group, made up of accountants, financial officers and chief executive officers, advertising was placed in business magazines and during tv news programs.

The wide appeal and viewership of the Olympic Games made it a good choice for primary and secondary targets.

James Warrington, Publicite Martin’s vice-president of strategic planning and client services, says the agency is a heavy user of pmb data and so are its clients, many of which do their own primary research and rely on pmb to supply additional data.

Warrington says pmb has been helpful in tracking regional differences in buying and media habits, leisure activities and psychographics.

The psychographic information, which looks at values and beliefs, shows that ‘family’ is a stronger, more pervasive factor in Quebec than the rest of the country.

Warrington says it is also interesting to note that although traditional in many ways, pmb data also point out that the Quebec consumer is non-traditional in other areas such as fashion.

Last year, Warrington gave a presentation to the Canadian Direct Marketing Association on the Quebec consumer.

He was able to pinpoint differences in media habits, buying and demographics using pmb as his primary source.

Mike Shannon, account group director, strategic planning and client services at Publicite Martin, says that for client Via Rail, the pmb survey is used primarily for media selection.

Shannon says the data contribute to the wise spending of advertising dollars, while supporting the rationale behind the media choices to the client.

Often a Via Rail campaign will target more than one group, such as leisure and business travellers. pmb information on both groups helps the agency reach them at the same time.

‘We take pmb for granted,’ Shannon says. ‘It’s part of our process, and we use it all the time without thinking.’

Another way pmb is used at Publicite Martin is in new business presentations.

Shannon says it provides information on product and service categories, making it easier to structure a proposal.

‘Today, we’re all looking for innovation, for an advantage,’ he says. ‘pmb helps me learn more about a potential client’s business.’

David Lavoie, senior manager of corporate advertising for the Bank of Montreal, uses pmb to define target groups and produce market segmentation studies.

He says the bank’s advertising agencies, Vickers & Benson and Publicite Martin, use the study more extensively on the bank’s behalf for developing media and creative campaigns.

Bank of Montreal has already committed itself as a sponsor of pmb’s recently proposed Business/Affluent Study, which will survey media habits and product usage of 4,000 affluent Canadians every three years, beginning next year.

The bank hopes to use the resulting information to target potential customers for its private banking division.

Robert Lord, general manager and media director of Groupe Everest in Montreal, uses pmb for all projects.

Lord says what he finds so beneficial about the pmb study is that it allows him to isolate segments of the respondent base.

He can look at groups by income or leisure activity, or by family structure such as parents of children under the age of six or those with teenagers.

Lord says for a company marketing sausages, he would be able to determine for the client precisely who eats sausage, providing information such as income level and interests.

If the target group is quite active in a sport such as skiing, he would recommend a promotion that ties in with a ski area rather than an in-store campaign.

‘When you know who the people are, and their lifestyles, you can really play around with that information,’ Lord says.

Kathy Grant-Munoz, senior product manager with Cadbury Beverages Canada, calls the pmb study a ‘cost-effective, objective source.’

Grant-Munoz says the study helps her to develop media plans and choose advertising vehicles for each of the brands, but also helps her pick test-market areas by looking at regional differences.

For consumer promotions, Grant-Munoz can understand the target group and, by looking at preferred leisure activities and sports, can decide on promotional themes and prizes.

She can pinpoint the best way to reach the upper-income group for a Mott’s Clamato juice promotion, or target another segment for a family-oriented promotion for Welch’s juices.

Grant-Munoz also uses the data to track changes in the consumer base, and to shape viewpoints and strategies.

Virginia Dymott, media director at McCann-Erickson in Toronto, finds that she uses the PMB Product Profile extensively.

Many McCann clients sponsor proprietary questions on the survey.

Dymott says that not only is the information useful in analyzing users of her clients’ products, but in targetting users of competitive brands.

She says the pmb readership information is invaluable in ranking and evaluating magazines for media selection.

In 1988, pmb began measuring readership of community newspapers for the first time, with data which can be broken down by region and province, as well as by population size within each region.

The Canadian Community Newspaper Association (ccna), which represents 700 of the estimated 900 community newspapers in Canada, has been making extensive use of the pmb data in a bid to raise the profile of community newspapers as an advertising medium.

Mike Mozewsky, ccna marketing director, says pmb data provide support for presentations to major advertisers, adding he uses the information to profile readers of community newspapers in specific communities by income and lifestyle, right down to ownership of cars and homes.

Proprietary questions

ccna sponsors five proprietary questions on the survey that deal with general readership of community newspapers such as time spent reading, interest level, how the paper is delivered and how often the paper is read.

From the latest pmb readership survey, Mozewsky says the ccna has found there is an average of 2.7 exposures per person for each issue of a community newspaper.

Nasreen Madhany, media director at Ogilvy & Mather in Toronto, says there are many ways of applying pmb data that will help give clients the edge over their competition.

Madhany says pmb helps establish the media and product profile that is so critical in media planning, as well as providing psychographic insight for the creative product.

o&m in Toronto is part of a multinational organization, which means Madhany also has access to international and u.s. research, which she uses along with pmb to get a headstart on trends.

Warner-Lambert Canada conducts its own primary consumer research several times a year, using pmb data to confirm and support its findings.

Victor Feliciano, senior marketing research associate, says the company also sponsors some product and brand usage questions on the pmb survey.


Feliciano says that because Warner-Lambert’s three divisions sell such a wide range of brands and products, the company needs more frequent information to remain competitive.

The three divisions are quite diversified.

Adams Brands is the consumer group, which markets products such as Trident, Chiclets and Dentyne gum, Certs and Clorets breath mints, Hall’s cough drops and Choclair chocolate bars.

Consumer Health Care Division sells over-the-counter remedies such as Bromo Seltzer, Sinutab, Benylin, Gelusil, and personal care items Efferdent denture cleaner, Listerine and Schick Wet Shave.

Parke-Davis Professional Health Group produces prescription drugs, as well as otc products Benadryl antihistamine and Mylanta antacid.

Feliciano says the marketing department is the main line of communication between the company and consumer and it must ‘feel the pulse.’

The department takes pmb data and its own research and puts it into a form that can be used by the brand groups and the ad agencies.

The report will also include recommendations and the results of tracking exercises that highlight information on changing consumer trends.

Feliciano says pmb data played an important role in the launch of new products such as Choclair, from Adams Brands, because the company had no prior market information.

Before the launch, the marketing research department was able to use the data to profile the target and summarize the chocolate bar market.

pmb also helps Warner-Lambert analyze the motivations of the consumer.

Impulse items

Feliciano says products such as candy are impulse items, so it is important for the company to know what motivates the consumer.

Research can help the advertiser understand what makes someone buy one product rather than another at the check-out counter.

Feliciano says otc pharmaceutical products is one category in which the consumer has a myriad of brands to choose from and may often be confused by them.

Research can help the advertiser target that consumer more effectively.

Feliciano says another important factor in the use of pmb is its ability to profile the regions of Canada.

The demographic information highlights regional differences between French and English communities, and urban and rural areas, which is useful in planning in-store promotions.

Heavily involved

The marketing department of the Royal Bank is heavily involved with pmb.

The extent of Royal Bank’s involvement in media research is not surprising considering that Don Wingfield, manager of advertising services, is a former media director at ad agency MacLaren:Lintas.

Wingfield is also a member of the pmb board of directors.

The bank sponsors proprietary questions on mortgages and credit card usage and uses the data in many areas of marketing.

As an advertiser, Royal Bank uses the pmb study to choose media and check the efficiency and accuracy of the buys.

Lifestyle and psychographic data are also used to brief the bank’s ad agencies to ensure that each campaign uses the right language and approach for the target audience.

As a tripartite organization, pmb meets the needs of agencies, advertisers and media, while making the cost bearable to all.

Because pmb spends about $1.5 million annually on research, it is cheaper for individual companies to tap into this study than do their own research.

Wingfield says pmb data also give him the ammunition needed to justify his ad budget.

He can run profiles of users of products such as banking machines – urban, younger, upscale, not afraid of technology – and because pmb is an annual tracking study also be aware of shifts in usage.

Through pmb, the bank gets to know its customers and how to talk to them.

For example, Wingfield says regional demographic information shows that each area is so different, that using one creative execution nationally may not be effective.

Michele Erskine, research manager at Media Buying Services in Toronto, says she uses pmb data for a variety of reasons.

The most obvious is determining appropriate magazine buys, but Erskine says she also uses it to evaluate other media.

She finds pmb helpful to assess the target’s preference in television programming and radio formats.

By looking at the stores frequented, theatre attendance, participation in sports and other leisure activities, Erskine can pinpoint opportunities for promotions and cross-promotions for the client.

Watching for developing trends can also help marketers plan for the future.

Trends, such as an increase in reading or tv viewing, can be tracked and examined for regional variations.

Erskine uses pmb on a constant basis, finding an application for every client, and says it is especially helpful for multimedia advertisers and sophisticated marketers.

She uses the study in three ways: to define the target group, isolate media preferences and to understand attitudes so the creative message can be directed effectively.

In summation, Erskine said:

‘Careful analysis of readership results cannot only assist in making better advertising choices, but can also lend valuable insight into the concerns and interests of the population at large.’