Note to self: follow the money online
What is a really good business idea? In the media- and marketing industry it is to provide the boring, but necessary target group data. On the surface the really fat cats are the owners of media agencies. They drive the really big boats. But they stand on the shoulders of the research firms. The reserach firms, however, have a lot of high-salary analysts (having theoretical credibility can be quite lucrative sometimes) and have high production costs for the core product; target group data destilled from surveys. The media agencies is less analyst-intensive; anyone who can convincingly enough read out loud the data from the target group databases provided from the media research firms will do. No messy survey administration at all. And a of marketing budget will inevitably slip through the fingers of the media agencies no matter where it ends up; in dead trees, in the ether or online.
Multiple streams of income is cool
But the amazingly cool aspect of being a media and consumer research firm is that you are able to take money in both ends; both from the advertising channels who need data to prove their value to advertisers and from media agencies who need the data to help advertisers choose channel. That´s sweet. But it doesn´t stop there; brands need more and more data about their consumers which is another revenue streem. So it´s a pretty cool business idea to collect target group data.
Three things are crucial for such research firms. The more data the better. The more accurate data the better. And the cheaper production cost the better. When people start to express their thoughts and feelings about their lives on the Internet on blogs, consumer forums and the like it´s great news for research firms who happen to have data mining and text analysis capabilities at hand. Such as Microsoft. They are actually adjusting from making money from licensing software to gathering consumer intelligence online. Owning a lot of channels such as MSN Live and Messenger etc makes it even more interesting. Doing their own research is a great idea and their entrance into the world of media and consumer research will probably stir up the business quite a bit – they got great financial and technological muscles. And the result will probably be that the marketing budgets will find new and interesting ways to it´s final destination, the consumers. It´s a PRfekt idea to keep an eye on that meandering river of marketing logics.
But life is more than money. There´s also sex. There is a lot of more or less scientific research going on in that field. The major finding seems to be that the old truth that opposites attract is still going strong. The size of the dating industry is a good thermometer in the lower parts of western society when it comes to love and intimacy. A trend, spearheaded by match.com, is to compete by providing psychological tests to match people. Their is also a lot of people that are interested in the topic personalty type and attraction on the web. It would be PRfekt if insights about personality type could help create more love in the world – don´t you think? ;-)