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22 CHAPTER 2 Research Approach Media Planner Quantitative Research 37 with clients who are predominantly regional and local advertisers Objective 75 out-of-home media specialists The main research objectives were to understand media 37 with clients who are predominantly national adver- planners' current familiarity with, usage of, and attitudes tisers and perceptions of transit advertising and to determine what 38 with clients who are predominantly regional and local could motivate them to increase their usage of transit adver- advertisers tising in the media plans they recommend to advertisers. More specifically, the research team wanted to come out of The assumptions were that generalist media planners would the research with enough information and insights to be able not be as familiar with transit media as out-of-home media spe- to position transit advertising relative to its competitors; rec- cialists and that greater approval and greater usage can go along ommend a marketing strategy relating to both advertisers with greater familiarity; therefore, the samples in these two seg- and media planners; and develop an agenda of action items ments needed to be large enough to enable comparison of the for transit agencies, their sales contractors and the industry responses. Similarly, the research team presumed that media association. planners working with clients who advertise nationally would have different perspectives on transit media than media plan- ners working with clients who advertise regionally and locally. Approach To inform research planning, the research team conducted Participation Criteria telephone interviews with both media planners and advertis- ing sales contractors. A key insight from these preliminary To qualify as a respondent, individuals had to meet the interviews was the extent to which media planners influence following criteria: advertisers' media decisions. This insight led to the decision to prioritize research among media planners over research among Be employed by an advertising agency or a media agency, advertisers. (The interview guide used for these preliminary not by an advertiser. interviews is attached as Appendix D.) Work in media planning, not buying or research. (Media buying and research are distinct areas of specialization. But most importantly for the purposes of this research, the Sample Design media planners, not the buyers or researchers, are the ones Knowledge of the media planning industry, along with the deciding which media to recommend to advertisers.) information gained from the preliminary interviews with Have the opportunity to work with out-of-home media in media planners and advertising sales contractors, led to the their current position. (Media planners with no opportu- following sample design: nity to recommend out-of-home media of any type are of no concern to this study.) 75 generalist media planners Be responsible for recommending out-of-home media to 38 with clients who are predominantly national adver- clients or to the people who make recommendations. (The tisers research team wanted to make sure the survey captured the

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23 responses of senior people who have real responsibility for asked each half of the respondents to go through the same the media recommendations that get presented to clients, exercise for one of the two other most popular forms of out- not the junior media planners who are on the media plan- of-home advertising: billboards and place-based media. ning team, but who do not make the actual decisions.) Respondents were then asked to select from among transit, Be familiar enough with transit--whether they recommend billboards, place-based media, television and the Internet it or not--to be able to answer questions about the medium. the one medium that was the most effective at achieving each of the given objectives. Usage of transit media was not a criterion. The research Section 4: Media Planner Beliefs and Attitudes. This sec- team specifically wanted to include "non-recommenders" for tion asked for the level of agreement with a series of state- their ability to express what makes transit media unappealing ments about media planning in general and transit media or not useful to them. in particular. For example, respondents were asked for the The research team used personal contacts and networking, degree to which they agreed with the statement, "I'm com- bought a list of media planners and advertised on the Media fortable recommending transit media to clients." The sur- Planner and Buyer website to identify candidates for the sur- vey also asked about transit's competitive set: was transit vey. Once the telephone screener confirmed that a candidate most often competing for media dollars versus other out- met the criteria for participation, the participant was emailed of-home media or versus all other media? Also in this sec- the URL for the on-line survey. Once candidates completed tion, one of the few open-ended questions was asked: which the on-line survey, which took about 30 minutes, they were consumers do media planners think of as the audience for sent an American Express gift card in the amount of $100. transit advertising? Section 5: Image of Transit Advertising. Respondents were asked to rate the degree to which specific attributes Survey Design describe transit advertising. The research team was looking The research team custom designed the survey to answer for impressions of transit advertising's image (e.g., "down- numerous questions that, analyzed together, would inform scale") that might be obstacles. development of a robust strategy for transit advertising growth. Section 6: Desirability of Features of Media. In this sec- The questions were grouped into 10 sections: tion, respondents were asked to indicate how desirable it is for a medium to have a credible audience measurement Section 1: Screening and Classification Questions. These system, to deliver exactly what was purchased, to have questions included the type of agency that respondents really knowledgeable sales representatives, etc. Although worked for, the size of their agency by annual billings, these features are not primary drivers of usage (the primary whether they worked primarily with local/regional adver- criterion is whether the medium can deliver the media or tisers or national advertisers, etc. These responses allowed marketing objective), they matter to the media planner's the collected data to be "cut" and searched for meaningful level of comfort and confidence in recommending the differences between sub-segments. medium to their clients. Section 2: Out-of-Home and Transit Media Usage. Fre- Section 7: Rating of Transit's and Competitors' Abilities quency of use, the portion of the media plan typically devoted to Deliver Media Features. Having just indicated which to out-of-home and transit media, and the typical level of features of media are important, respondents were now spending on out-of-home and transit media were requested asked how successfully transit delivers on those features. in this section. Also, level of familiarity with transit media, The research team was looking for what transit is perceived transit's competitive set, top-of-mind impressions of transit to do very well as a medium and whether its strongest fea- advertising's audience, and specific modes of transit adver- tures were of high or low importance to media planners. In tising used were requested. addition, half of the respondents were asked to rate bill- Section 3: Effectiveness of Transit Advertising. This sec- boards and the other half to rate place-based media for tion asked media planners to select the media and market- comparison. ing objectives that they believed transit media to be highly Section 8: Satisfaction with Sales Representatives. In this effective at achieving. This was crucial information: a fun- section, respondents were asked about their sales represen- damental obstacle to greater transit media usage could very tatives. Were their sales representatives dedicated to transit well be its perceived inability to deliver on basic media and media or did they represent other media, as well? How did marketing objectives. Respondents were asked to do this their sales representatives perform along specific criteria, exercise for trains separately from buses to explore whether and what were the respondents' overall satisfactions with media planners view these two types of transit advertising their sales representatives? The research team wanted this differently. The research team also split the sample and information to help evaluate whether the representatives