Nielsen Media Research was founded in the 1920s by Arthur Nielsen and it focused on assessing the success of advertisements within the consumer markets. During the following decade, the organization commenced to assess the success and popularity of radio programs. The means in which the organization assessed the ratings of television programs evolved and these were eventually applied to compute the ratings of television programs. Today, Nielsen is evolving to assess the ratings, popularity as well as other elements regarding radio and television programs, but also online efforts. Additionally, the company is also measuring ratings on novel equipments, such as TiVos. This very evolution of Nielsen and its ability to quickly adapt and ensure rating measurement on a variety of media creates its unique selling proposition. "You know you are a powerful research company when your results change the face of television programming. The king of TV ratings, Nielsen Media Research collects its nationwide audience data from electronic People Meters placed in thousands of randomly selected households" (Hoovers, 2010).
The current research endeavor strives to offer insights on how the Nielsen Media Research organization promotes itself within the online community. In order to achieve this objective, it is first necessary to understand the market and the industry. The specific marketing strategies would then be discussed and the measuring success would also be described. Finally, the research endeavor comes to an end with a section on concluding remarks and recommendations for the future.
2. Market summary
Nielsen serves a wide array of customers from virtually any industry. The organizational website lists three separate industry segments, as follows: media and entertainment, consumer packed goods and retail and third, telecommunications. They offer primary measurement services, but they also complement these services with solutions as to how their customers could improve their performances, strengthen the brand, enhance the popularity among their own consumers and so on.
In terms of their own approach of the customers, the executives at Nielsen Research Media have developed and implemented a strategy focused on the following:
"Answer the 'who,' 'how,' 'why,' and 'where' of consumer decisions to create the most comprehensive view of the consumer available.
Build on a deep practice dedicated to understanding consumer decisions and media usage, and include expertise in media, in-store, and e-commerce environments.
Define consumers based on your actual marketing target or traditional age/sex demographics" (Website of Nielsen Media Research).
These specific three strategies related to customer understanding are the very basis of the strategies Nielsen implements when supporting its customers understand and relate to their own targeted consumers.
The competition in the industry is rather intense and this is due -- among other things -- to the increasing access to media and the growing interest in the usage of the media and the ratings of various programs and efforts. The demand for rating measurement services depends primarily on the general state of the economy -- which creates affordability for these products and services -- and on the individual profits of economic agents. The industry is divided into two types of players -- small size rating measurers which succeed through efficient operations and the creation of economies of scale, and small size players which succeed with the development of specific products and services specialized for niche markets. In other words, "the profitability of individual companies depends on managing costs and maintaining a steady flow of work. Large companies have advantages in providing a variety of research and ancillary services to large customers, and in achieving economies of scale in marketing and computerized operations. Small companies can compete successfully by specializing in a research methodology or in emerging niche knowledge areas" (Hoovers, 2010).
In terms of direct competitors, these are represented by Arbitron Inc., GfK SE and the Kantar Group. Arbitron is headquartered in the United States and focuses on rating radio programs, which means that this limitation constitutes a competitive advantage for Nielsen, which provides services in various media channels. GfK SE is specialized within the European market and addresses issues in retail and purchases. Finally, the Kantar Group is the one to offer the largest service pallet, which means that it poses the highest levels of threat for Nielsen. Kantar has the most dynamic and interactive website, whereas Arbitron and GfK have more informational websites.
Nevertheless, Nielsen has created a competitive advantage through its diversified offer and its focus on innovation integration and continued development to meet the emergent needs in the market and the industry.
4. Specific marketing strategies
The first point on this agenda is that of reviewing the objectives which need to be attained. This constitutes the starting point and the core of the future strategic selection. Given this line of thoughts, Nielsen Media Research strives to accomplish the following:
Reach new consumers
Ensure higher quality of the delivered products and services
Stimulate visits to the website and support additional sales
Ensure the measurement of the marketing programs and efforts
Strengthen the organizational brand.
The objectives have as such been selected so that they are SMART, namely -- specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time farmable (Hoeger and Hoeger, 2008). In order to attain them, the company would be using a series of online marketing techniques. The most relevant of the strategic recommendations to sit at the basis of the e-commerce marketing plan refer to the following:
a) Improve the quality of the research engine
This search engine optimization has a dual emphasis, as follows:
On the one hand, the search engine on the Nielsen Media Research website would be improved in order to recognize more key words and to retrieve more relevant results. Additionally, efforts would be made in order to allow for the efficient search based on idioms rather than single words.
On the other hand, the Nielsen Media Research website would be promoted on various other websites in order to increase its presence and popularity within the virtual community. Currently, the most popular search engines retrieve the company's website as first result when "Nielsen" is typed in the search box. Efforts should however be made in order to ensure that the company's website is in the top results when searches are conducted for key issues in the ratings measurement industry.
b) Email marketing
This specific marketing technique commences with the collection of the email addresses from customers or prospective customers. The primary target is constituted by the already existent clients who are familiar and satisfied with the company's products and services. Whenever new service opportunities or promotional sales arise, these customers would be the first to be informed and also the first to generate sales. The emphasis on the already existent customers is useful as it also constitutes advertising through word of mouth publicity.
The secondary segment targeted is constituted by prospective customers. The collection of their email addresses would be ensured through recommendations of existent customers, as well as through processes of market research. The emails sent to these prospective customers would fall into two categories. The first category includes emails of introduction and information provision which familiarize the prospected customer with the company and the products and services it offers. The second category of emails would promote specific products and services.
c) Online advertising and blogs
This third and final component of the proposed electronic commerce marketing plan is constructed on the combination of two different techniques. It specifically argues that online advertising should be integrated and that, among other things, it should also be conducted within blogs. The personal pages of individuals are often highly specialized and reliable. Various blogs have created strong reputations and they have the ability to influence the purchase decision of both individuals as well as economic agents.
Aside from blogs however, the internet advertising efforts should also include advertisements placed on the websites of several economic agents which have collaborated with the firm, as well as on the websites of independent agencies in the field of media and ratings. Specialized journals and magazines could also be approached to host such advertisements.
5. Measuring success
In the aftermath of the strategic plan implementation, several actions would be taken in order to measure the success of the plan. These refer specifically to the following:
The computation of the numbers of clicks and visits on the company's website
The correlation between the new and increased website traffic and the actual number of orders and new customers attracted
The open communications with the customers in order to retrieve feedback and assess the means in which the company has become better able to serve their needs.
6. Conclusions and recommendations
Nielsen Media Research has a long history of ratings measurement and it has gradually become an authority in the field. It continues to face intense competition but it manages to overcome it by continually developing and diversifying its offer. Regarding the future, it is advisable for the firm to implement a three fold plan focused on online advertisements, email marketing and search engine optimization.