Sunday, January 25, 2009

Nielsen drops PRISM

Nielsen has announced that it is "suspending" their PRISM initiative, stating that the prices for the information created would be too high in the current environment.
"While the industry as a whole is very supportive of the syndicated service, many clients, in the face of the current economic environment, are not in a position to fully fund a syndicated service at this time."

Nielsen said it will keep providing custom work measuring and analyzing shopper marketing "until a syndicated service is financially viable for many of our clients."

I hope the initiative is revived. Although I was initially skeptical about it, I eventually came around to the view that it would provide valuable data, and now I'm disappointed not to see that data, and (more importantly) not to see how it is used to improve targeting of in-store promotions.

We will continue to have the most basic (and most important) measure of trade promotion -- POS (though often lacking, for in-store promotions, vital performance data to give full meaning to it). But PRISM was intended to be about Shopper Marketing, as distinct from trade promotion. Shopper Marketing, as I understand it (it's not always clearly defined), is intended to be more than trade promo alone -- it is intended to perform both the usual functions of trade promo (immediate sales lift) and of national advertising (brand building) . Without PRISM we will not have any measure of the second function.

It also seems that the costs are not excessive, though any cost may reasonably be viewed that way in the current economy.

... the cost of PRISM data, which an executive for a consortium member said ranges from the low to mid-six figures annually (and up to seven figures for bigger marketers), is particularly daunting in the current economy.

A million-dollar (to choose the higher end of the range) expenditure to measure and improve the effectiveness of a billion-dollar expenditure seems quite reasonable to me. But again we are playing by different rules today.

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