Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mediamark Missing the Mark

A new semester is underway and with a new semester invariably comes the semi-annual updating of my library instruction handouts. One of the updates that I usually make in late August is to my MRI+ Quick Guide and Powerpoint because Mediamark adds last year's data to MRI+ around that time. (For those of you who don't know, MRI+ is a consumer data set that advertising students can use to learn how to best target their campaigns).

This year was different. The new data was just added yesterday and as of my writing this, it appears to be less robust in some areas than last year's data. For example, it is missing the data for women throughout.

Also, we are still trying to get clarification on what some of the categories mean. An example of this is the listing of dollar amounts in the Contributions to Public TV/Radio report. This report also seems to list contributions to other types of charities such as religious organizations so this raises the question of whether the dollar amounts refer to just public media contributions or to charitable giving in general. A colleague of mine began investigating the meaning of this report last school year and still hasn't gotten an answer.

I think that Mediamark's MRI+ can be a great teaching tool for communication students, but I wish they would do a better job of communicating with their customers about product changes and what their data means.