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MarketShare Benchmark

Frequently Asked Technical Questions

Once you login to the MarketShare Benchmark User Interface you may have technical questions. The below list is designed to address the questions that may arise. You may use the search field below to find your question. If you cannot find the question, please reach out to your Administrator or Super User for support. Your administrator or Super User may then take questions to your MarketShare Account Manager for additional support if necessary.

Q: What if I am creating a scenario for a brand that has a significant portion of business in both the B2C and B2B sectors
A: Create one scenario for either the B2C or B2B portion of the brand's business, then copy it, edit the answers to reflect the other portion of the business, export the results from each scenario and aggregate to get a complete brand view.

Q: What impact does the B2C vs. B2B setting have? Does B2B prioritize a channel or a touch point?
A: In the current version, selecting B2B has a direct impact on the lift factors for media in total and by type of media. This version only covers the marketing communication portion of the B2B marketing budget; a full B2B version of MarketShare Benchmark is being designed which include other marketing budget line-items such as trade funds, shows/events, personal selling, etc.

Q: Under company and target, are all of the industries listed also mapped by B2C and B2C, or are those two weights independent of each other?
A: Industries and type of customer target (B2C vs. B2B) are separate and independent.

Q: How hard/easy is it to prototype new channels, particularly for the B2B space (webinars, trade shows, etc...)?
A: New channels would be prototyped based on actual deep-dive studies where we measure the actual elasticities and then model those elasticities as a function of brand characteristics. This would require several studies, with appropriate levels of time and investment. Within the 7 channels currently included in MarketShare Benchmark, new touch points can be added to the tool and described in terms of their Affect, Cognition and Experience dimensions fairly easily.

Q: How does MarketShare Benchmark address flighting?
A: MarketShare Benchmark is designed to recommend the optimal budget, types of advertising and mix allocation. It does not attempt to recommend optimal flighting (timing, sequencing) as these recommendations would need to be very brand-specific and best handled by MarketShare Benchmark Plus or Rapid ROI experts.

Q: Can I provide different inputs or goals by target audience?
A: Yes, you split out the brand's results by target audience as much as possible. Create a base scenario for one target audience, copy that scenario, edit the answers for the next target audience, and repeat for each additional target audience. Export the results and aggregate them for a total brand view.

Q: Can I use MarketShare Benchmark to determine the best sequence of media investments for my business?
A: MarketShare Benchmark is designed to recommend the optimal budget, types of advertising to use and mix allocation. It does not attempt to recommend optimal flighting (timing, sequencing) as these recommendations would need to be very brand-specific and best handled by experts and the litany of existing tools available in the market. This could be a good opportunity to do a MarketShare Benchmark Plus or Rapid ROI project with MarketShare.

Q: Can Benchmark help us plan a completely new product launch?
A: No, Benchmark requires some historical data to generate recommendations. However, Benchmark can be used to model the impact of having new products featured in the advertising campaigns of existing brands. For completely new product launch scenarios, a Benchmark Plus solution would be ideal.

Q: Can Benchmark be used to model something like the number of leads or recruits instead of revenue?
A: Yes, users can substitute leads or recruits for dollars, and the “target setting” component of Benchmark will work. The profit component will not work with this substitution unless you translate leads or recruits into revenue and apply a Gross Margin percentage. We will have the ability to allow the user to model other customer funnel metrics besides just revenue in future releases.

Q: Is there a way to use the outputs to suggest the optimal type of messaging by medium?
A: Not currently but this could be a topic of future research and development.

Q: How can we get Gross Margin percentage estimates when most clients never share that information with us?
A: MarketShare can provide a range of Gross Margin estimates by Benchmark industries to facilitate this.

Q: Should I include non-working media costs (e.g. production costs) into the paid advertising inputs?
A: No. Benchmark analyzes the impact of working media spending (i.e. not including production costs) on the brand's business performance. Users should subtract any non-working media costs before entering paid advertising budget, spending or constraint inputs.

Q: In the Industry Compare section, what are competitive benchmarks based on?
A: These benchmarks are mostly based on the results from published advertising studies on brands in the U.S. that. We will update these results annually and eventually will incorporate user-entered data from Benchmark scenarios to provide the benchmarks.

Q: When I use my browser's back or forward button, I get logged out of the Benchmark tool. Why?
A: Benchmark uses Flash, which requires you to use the tool's navigation. Don't use your browser's back/forward buttons or you'll be forced to log back into the tool.

Q: Are MarketShare Benchmark questions different based on Industry?
A: No, Benchmark has a consistent set of questions that are applicable to all industries and that capture the specifics of a brand's situation.

Q: Maximize Profit results are recommending incredibly high or low spend levels compared to our last period. How should I interpret these recommendations?
A: Maximize Profit results are the theoretical optimum for the brand, but often times the recommendations aren't practical, either because the brand can't tolerate a reduction in revenue or can't scale operations to the recommended spend and revenue levels. These results are provided as a benchmark, but they may not always provide recommendations that can be implemented.

Q: Often Benchmark seems to recommend a smaller number of media/touch-points. Why?
A: Benchmark identifies the touch points which will yield the highest lift for the brand. For the most effective touch point, it spends up to the point where spending becomes inefficient. If needed to reach a revenue target or maximize profit, Benchmark will begin to spend against the touch point with the 2nd highest lift up to the point of inefficient spending. It does so until the brand's maximum advertising potential has been reached. The optimal mix often includes fewer touch points than last period's mix.

Q: Often Benchmark recommends a significant reduction in spend to achieve the client's revenue target. Why?
A: When moving from last period's sub-optimal mix to next period's optimal mix, efficiency gains often enable clients to do more with less. This is consistent with our custom studies as well. Naturally the level of brand revenue growth and the category growth rate have an impact on whether or not the efficiency gains from the mix will be enough to achieve the revenue target.

Q: How should we explain drastic shifts in media channel allocations with only modest expected revenue gains?
A: Benchmark provides solid directional guidance on optimal budgets and mix. The results are highly accurate and show the client what they should be aiming for. In practice, dramatic shifts are often broken up into steps or phases by the client.

Q: How are weights calibrated to understand the diminishing return between channels?
A: Elasticities for each channel are estimated as a function of the brand characteristics. An elasticity represents a response curve for a particular channel. How Benchmark determines recommendations for specific mixes and allocations by channel is a part of our IP and proprietary algorithms. As a result, we are unable to provide additional information.

Q: Are any channels inherently biased?
A: No. Benchmark algorithms are based on actual results that include a wide variety of investment levels and mix allocations by each of 7 channels and roughly 16 touchpoints.

Q: How good has Benchmark been in showing optimal returns where digital spend is a substantial part of the mix?
A: Excellent. Benchmark algorithms are based on actual results which include a wide variety of investment levels and % mix allocations for digital channels.

Q: Given the recent economic recession, does Benchmark include elasticities from economic downturns and are recommendations impacted by these conditions?
A: Benchmark includes several models that include the recent recession period; however in most cases we haven't observed changes in elasticities as much as we've observed changes in the costs of media. In future versions of Benchmark, the costs of media will be added to the user inputs that are factored into the results.

Q: How does Benchmark account for things outside of the brand's control such as competitive activity or economic effects?
A: Questions related to market share, share of voice, loyalty and category growth rate are the primary ways Benchmark accounts for these external factors.

Q: How does MarketShare calculate the latest benchmarks for media efficiency?
A: Benchmark algorithms are built on elasticities which are the ultimate media efficiency metric (for a 1% increase in spending for this channel, what is the corresponding net increase in sales for the brand). Naturally-occurring market costs for media are included in the deep-dive studies on which Benchmark algorithms are based. Additional studies are completed every month and algorithms are updated at least quarterly. So market conditions and trends are incorporated into the Benchmark recommendations.

Q: How was social media accounted and calibrated for in the MarketShare Benchmark system? What tactics went into it, and where did the data come from?
A: Social media has been calibrated by taking online display elasticities and augmenting them with the Affect, Cognition and Experience dimensions offered by Social Media advertising. This is updated at least quarterly to reflect market changes.

Q: How is Social Media treated as a category?
A: Benchmark is designed to provide recommendations for spending on paid media advertising. Social Media doesn’t seek to capture the impact of investing in the staff that performs Blog outreach for instance. MarketShare is however in discussions with the top social networking platforms to analyze the impact of various aspects of their platforms and these findings will be incorporated into MarketShare Benchmark. No specific timing is available on this initiative at this time.

Q: Does MarketShare Benchmark’s spend recommendations for paid search account for the other non-online drivers of search activity?
A: Search is treated as a media investment similar to other types of channels. Our studies specifically measure the interaction effects between non-search channels and search. These effects are incorporated into Search calculations.

Q: Does MarketShare Benchmark suggest types of media that we do not or cannot provide historical data for?
A: Yes, MarketShare Benchmark will recommend best touch points for the next period even if it wasn't used during the last period with exception of TV, which would produce unrealistic results.

Q: Which MarketShare Benchmark questions have the greatest impact on the recommendations?
A: The weights of individual questions or combinations of questions are an integral part of our intellectual property, so we cannot provide specific answers to this question.

Q: How sensitive is Benchmark to the answers to scale questions?
A: As a directional planning tool based in solid econometrics, MarketShare Benchmark looks for roughly right answers. Placing the cursor in the appropriate interval is crucial, but a 1mm difference within an interval won't impact the results.

Q: How many models were built in the past that feed into MarketShare Benchmark algorithms?
A: MarketShare Benchmark algorithms are based on hundreds of models.

Q: Over what time period were the models built that MarketShare Benchmark is based on?
A: MarketShare Benchmark algorithms are based on models that include at least 3 years of data. Models have been built from 2005 to the present.

Q: How does the ACE algorithm work?
A: Based on the hundreds of models used to develop the MarketShare Benchmark algorithms, we have an in-depth understanding of how different macro media and touchpoints deliver against Affect, Cognition and Experience. By comparing the brand's need/desire to deliver Affect, Cognition and Experience, we compute a statistical fit between the brand, macro media and touchpoints to identify the best fit. The macro media and touchpoints with the strongest fits are recommended accordingly.

Q: Do the elasticities and coefficients from previous studies drive the MarketShare Benchmark results?
A: Yes, using the media elasticities from hundreds of models we've done across verticals, countries and types of brands, we have identified statistical relationships between brand/product characteristics and how responsive those brands are to media overall and by media channel. In addition, the results are driven by market size, market growth and profitability.

Q: What is the expected level of precision for MarketShare Benchmark recommendations, and in what sort of situations is MarketShare Benchmark likely to be more/less precise?
A: MarketShare Benchmark is intended to provide directional results and does so quite well. In circumstances where there are strong geographic differences, major geographic trends, media strategy shifts, innovation changes, unusual competitive behavior, MarketShare Benchmark will be less precise.

Q: Why should I believe MarketShare Benchmark questions are applicable to my business/category/industry?
A: The questions asked in MarketShare Benchmark are focused on the brand/product characteristics that MarketShare has identified to have the most significant impact on media responsiveness. Although there are fundamental adjustments made based on category, the MarketShare Benchmark questions apply as much to one brand, market or category as another. Brand/product characteristics are more powerful drivers of media responsiveness than industry. Within the same industry/category, you can have two brands with very different brand images, positioning and messaging. Those differences will result in different recommendations for each brand even though they are in a common category.

Q: Can the MarketShare Benchmark media elasticities provide granular insight into specific geographic regions?
A: MarketShare Benchmark doesn't provide tailored results by region or geography as there aren't sufficient numbers of models in particular regions or lower geographic levels to make these adjustments. At this time such detailed insights would require MarketShare Optimizer.

Q: Do consumers engage with media in different ways in different countries?
A: Yes they do, but not as much as you might think. For one of the biggest brands in the world, the results for price and promotion in China were identical to those in the well-established markets. This speaks to the universal ways in which consumers respond to media. If cultural differences are a concern, then the image, emotion vs. fact, price sensitivity and loyalty questions in MarketShare Benchmark will all help tailor the scenario to the market's cultural conditions.

Q: How relevant are MarketShare Benchmark results outside of the U.S.?
A: Very relevant for the following reasons:

  1. We have multiple countries in the MarketShare Benchmark Database.
  2. A country represents a set of market conditions and how consumers engage with and evaluate your products. MarketShare Benchmark asks specific questions that differentiate market conditions (e.g. market share, awareness, competitive structure [loyalty], how established the category is) and how consumers engage with and evaluate your product(s) to reflect market-specific differences.
  3. MarketShare Benchmark can create a country-specific or region-specific scenario to tailor business conditions, pro rate global or national spending into regions and then aggregate results by using scenario copy and export to CSV functions.
  4. The ACE model of how advertising works transcends markets.
  5. My country doesn't have penetration for a specific touch point (e.g. internet or TV penetration in China). MarketShare Benchmark allows users to specify minimum and maximum by touch point to account for this. The user must incorporate country-specific touchpoint realities.
  6. MarketShare Benchmark questions related to last period advertising anchor results to the recent realities of your business. This baseline incorporates and reflects the market and cultural conditions of your country.
  7. The MarketShare Database is growing monthly and algorithms are updated quarterly, thus it improves continuously.

Q: How do big brand or U.S. centric results apply to small, local, non-U.S. based businesses?
A: Brand and business attributes are more predictive of media responsiveness than geography or business size; business size is accounted for (scaled) to specifics of the business. Results are more dependent upon what you're advertising rather than how you're advertising.

Q: Can we force minimum, maximum, and threshold spends by channel into the model based on business requirements?
A: Yes, you can enter minimum, maximum and commitment spend levels.

Q: How precise are MarketShare Benchmark recommendations?
A: MarketShare Benchmark provides solid directional guidance on optimal budgets and mix. There are not confidence levels/intervals provided, but we can share that validation with our deep-dive studies show extremely robust results. Dramatic shifts between previous and optimal investment levels and mixes are not uncommon in MarketShare deep-dive studies and MarketShare Benchmark results. In some cases, clients feel comfortable moving aggressively toward their recommended optimal media mixes. In other cases clients move towards recommended spend levels in a staged fashion thereby testing and measuring results over the course of a year or two. This would be an excellent opportunity to engage your client in dialogue about what how you could use the MarketShare Benchmark tool to simulate such plans, design the tests and help guide them to the optimal mix over a period of time.

Q: How accurate are MarketShare Benchmark recommendations?
A: MarketShare Benchmark validates within +/- 10% of the recommended media budget findings from the custom, deep-dive studies we've done. Mix validations are within +/- 10 percentage points versus custom deep-dive studies.

Q: How can I save my scenario? It seems like a few changes in my scenario were not saved. Why?
A: MarketShare Benchmark automatically saves your scenario every 30 seconds in the wizard section and every time you hit Calculate and View Results button.

Q: Can we track usage of MarketShare Benchmark across our organization?
A: Yes, your Account Manager can provide you with detailed usage reports each month.

Q: Can we use MarketShare Benchmark recommendations for something we plan to do in the future that is different from what we’ve done in the past?
A: Questions in the Innovation section in MarketShare Benchmark can capture the following: new products, new benefits, messaging and creativity of advertising. Create separate scenarios for current vs. aspirational by using the copy scenario function. One caveat is that when you're doing something new is that it must be reasonably well researched and thought through.

Q: How do I use MarketShare Benchmark to indicate appropriate budgets for two scenarios; (i) with a new model/upgrade (ii) without?
A: For a new model/upgrade, you would modify answers to reflect the new model/upgrade. Example: if amount of info required for customers to make purchase decision is low for existing model and new model/upgrade requires a great deal of info, then answer would be a blend of these two (mid-point). Also, you would specify that your marketing does include support for a new product and whether the new product will provide a tangible new benefit to customers. For a scenario without a new model/upgrade, answers would be based on existing model, and you would specify that your marketing does NOT include support for a new product.

Q: I cannot proceed to results section. Why is this happening? (""Calculate and View Results"" button isn't activated)
A: Make sure Last Period Advertising page has been reconciled, and the Next Period Revenue is populated. Once these are reconciled and populated you should be able to proceed to the results section.

Q: Why can't I export my results to a CSV file?
A: You most likely need to change your browser setting to enable pop-ups for the MarketShare Benchmark domain/site.

Q: My Plan shows that TV won't show up in results for next period. Why not?
A: One possible reason for this is that including TV next period when perhaps it wasn't a significant part of last period's mix would produce unrealistic results (the total media elasticity for next period is likely to be MUCH larger than last period's). MarketShare Benchmark includes a guard rail and warning message that prevents this type of situation.