J.D. Power, MRI Track Car Buyers

LOS ANGELES J.D. Power and Associates said it would offer agencies more accurate psychographic profiles of new car buyers via a collaboration with Mediamark Research Inc. (MRI).

The first reports with fused data should be released in May and could change the way shops develop media plans.

“Agency media planners were using our psychographic studies, but not technically correctly,” said Gene Cameron, vp, media solutions at J.D. Power. “They would take our audience figures of new-vehicle buyers, then adjust according to the psychographic composition of magazines’ audiences using MRI—but the two studies use different bases.” (MRI specializes in magazine readership and multimedia research data.)

For example, new vehicle buyers constitute only 6 percent of the population and don’t necessarily correlate to MRI studies of 26,000 adults, which culminates in MRI’s bi-annual “Survey of the American Consumer.”

Cameron said media buyers typically used inference techniques to correlate the two sets of data.

“Now there will be a much more accurate reading of the psychographic profile of a magazine reader,” Cameron said.

“There are significant differences,” he said. “After the fusion of the data, we see a very different pattern,” particularly among buying habits of car enthusiasts and consumers seeking basic transportation and vehicles for specific needs.

Cameron predicted the new data would change agency media-buying habits.

In a related development, the company used its annual Automotive Marketing and Advertising Issues Briefing in Torrance, Calif., to name BMW (luxury) and Toyota (non-luxury) its Automotive Online Marketers of the Year. The awards are based on performance metrics drawn from J.D. Power studies and autoshopper.com, among other sources.