Market Contact Audit
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Market Contact Audit is a research tool, which measures the effectiveness of various contacts in a category using a common method and a common unit. Therefore it provides a yardstick to understand which are the key contacts that drive the category, which contact points are working better for the brand and which are the ones where money should be saved. It is a planning process that helps in rationalizing and prioritizing the marketing and media spends.
The Market Contact Audit measures how successfully brands use marketing communications to connect with consumers in two ways. First it recognizes that some contacts are more influential than others. So it measures the Contact Clout Factor – or contact influence for the important contacts in a given category and market. Then it recognizes that some brands execute better than others, so it measures Brand Experience for each brand in the category and market, by the degree to which consumers recall encountering brands in a contact.
Outline of the MCA Research Method
In summary, via consumers’ interviews, using monadic cards each with a contact description in consumer language, two interview techniques are used to ascertain the three intrinsic values of contacts for a given product category and market:
- The “Process of Elimination” is used to develop the Information and Attractive Values of contacts to ascertain their cognitive and emotive influence,
- The contacts that are high in either Information or Attractive Value, or both, is then rank-ordered by their importance using the “Just Noticeable Difference” system. This ascertains their Power Value, or their behavioral influence,
Additionally, the survey asks consumers to associate Brands competing in the category with the screened Contacts to measure the perceived weight of brands’ activities relative to competition. (The questionnaire takes approximately 25 minutes in face-to-face interviews, and has been validated across a variety of fieldwork techniques - from face to face to self-administered on-line questionnaire - The questionnaire is well suited to be included in standard brand surveys such as U&A, Awareness and Image studies, etc. and relate them to the universe of contact).
In 1998 the MCA Method was widened by the discovery of a way to merge the three intrinsic values of a contact into a single indicator, via a series of algorithms. The merging of the three values into one generates a new indicator, the Contact Clout Factor (CCF).
The CCF score thus indicates the effectiveness of a contact by its capacity to influence attitudes relative to the other contacts screened.
Besides permitting the prioritization of contacts by their measured effectiveness, the CCF also enables the creation of a currency for the comparison of effectiveness and competitiveness of Brand Activities.
Output of the MCA Research Method
Brand Experience Points (BEPS)
Brand Experience Points (BEP) is an indicator that reflects the perceived weight of experienced consumer - brand encounters through individual contacts. BEPs are measured by the degree to which consumers associate brands and contacts. These associations are normalized and weighted by the CCF to deliver the BEP levels for each brand against each contact.
The higher the BEP level for a contact, the more consumers report experiencing the brand in that contact.
The brand - contact BEP accounts for the contribution of the brand perceived activity to the overall Brand Experience. BEP takes into account quantity (level of association of the brand with the contact) and quality (association weighted by the respective influence of the contact). Hence an association of 40% on a most influential contact (as rated by consumers) has a clearly different contribution to building Brand Experience than 40% scored on a less influential contact. Through BEPs, which are weighted via the CCF, activities can be compared across all brands and among all contacts of the category. Through BEPs, levels of activities can also be compared across markets and categories.
Substantial disparities have been noted in the average levels of BEPs among leaders across categories and markets: The average level of BEP of leaders can range from 500 to 3,000. These disparities are the result of i) different levels of consumer receptiveness; ii) the degree of competitiveness in the category; iii) the type of the category: fragmented (lower levels of BEP) as opposed to fewer brand players (higher levels of BEP).
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