Index Measures Media Exposure, Distraction

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DMW and MBS, both members of Dimac Marketing Partners, have introduced the customer distraction index, a scoring measure that provides clients with quantitative data on media consumption based on demographics and lifestyle.

According to DMW and MBS, all consumers have a certain level of distraction in their lives, but some have a higher level than others because of lifestyle and other factors. The index could help determine these different levels of distraction to develop a direct marketing program that reaches the audience, the companies said.

"The index is all about getting the target's attention," said Steve Isaac, CEO of DMW, Wayne, PA. "We started with studying media consumption because it seems to have the greatest impact on getting an advertising message to the intended audience. But we're also going to look at other factors such as number of jobs and number of children in a household. All this impacts how and when a message is heard."

The initial research is based on media consumption only, such as newspapers, e-mail and television. The research may expand in the future.

To gather the information, MBS, Central Islip, NY, conducted an Internet survey of 100,000 people to identify factors that predict which groups would have a high level of media exposure. MBS then developed a regression model to predict the level of media consumption.

The index could be used in deciding who receives a communication and how often. If someone has a high distraction index, he may receive a lower score than someone with the same characteristics but a lower distraction index.

"The distraction index was developed to allow us to select the right medium and the best method to deliver that message for our clients," Isaac said. "There are many factors that influence the level of media exposure, so it is imperative that advertisers understand the impact that this information can have on an ad campaign. The data obtained from the index helps us establish what the message should look like, its frequency and media selection."

For example, findings conclude that homeowners with higher income and education levels are exposed to more media than other groups. Consequently, it may take greater effort to reach this group. For instance, a business-size letter and envelope may get lost in the chaos of messages, while a 9-inch-by-12-inch envelope printed with a powerful message on the outside would have a greater impact. The cost of the mailing may be higher, but the return on investment for the client would be stronger.

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