Thursday, May 28, 2009

When market research misses the mark

A colleague told me about a call he recently received. It was from a research company doing some radio research (ironically, he used to work in radio). Unfortunately, he couldn't give them any input -- his age placed him outside the 12-35-year-old demographic they were surveying (but not by much).

Whichever radio station is paying for the research, I'm not sure they're going to get any useful information from it. Why? The group they're trying to reach is self-filtering in two significant ways.

1) Telephone surveys only poll those with land lines. Currently, 30% of 18-24 year-olds and 40% of 25-29 year-olds live in households with only cell phones. Which means a significant part of the demographic will never be reached by the researchers.

2) According to Arbitron, 22% of 12-17 year-olds and 17% of 18-24 year-olds have decreased their radio listening over the past year. Portable players, especially the iPod and iPhone, are primary content providers for this age group.

So this research group will be sampling from the fraction of the demographic that's been left behind by two major trends. What will happen to the station that tries to target this group based on that information?

They should have talked to my friend.

- Ralph

Day 53 of the WJMA Podwatch

No comments:

Post a Comment