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Marty’s Marketing Minutia

This week's assortment of news, views and schmooze.

by on Apr.03, 2009

Exclusive New Consumer Research Predicts Monthly Automotive Brands Marketshare Points Gain or Loss

More than 300 different models of new cars are for sale in dealer showrooms right now. The important question is what are consumers with good credit scores going to buy in this scary market?

Oh, yeah … there’s that research of what “they” want according to focus panel BS. Much automotive research is based on the past — what the consumer has purchased and what they said they’d like in the future. Not what he or she is going to buy. And that’s rather important, make that vital data isn’t it? This has made it almost impossible to forecast or project sales demand with any degree of accuracy for automobile manufacturers, auto dealers and their advisors with confidence and reliability, until now! It’s a significant marketing tool that has been needed, especially now when the economy is in the ceramic receptacle. And it’s only here in MMM. 

Reliable Purchase Information           

There’s a respected marketing research firm, BIGreseach, LLC, with a unique focus on consumer purchase intentions. Every month 18,000 consumers respond to their syndicated Consumer Intentions and Actions survey which monitors the pulse of potential buyers regarding what brands and products they plan to buy next month. That’s right, next month

A major national retailer uses this study to determine monthly inventory levels and promotional programs based on projected consumer purchase demand for the thousands of items known as SKUs or Shop Keeping Units. 

When I first learned about this research, I had an audible “ah hah” moment. 

Auto purchases intentions had not been part of the monthly study, but I convinced them to add a few important questions about automobile purchases. Respondents are now asked “if they are planning to buy a car next month?” if the answer is “No” nothing is done, but if the answer is “Yes” the research continues asking the following questions: 

  1. “What brand is your present car?
  2. “Is your first choice for consideration?
  3. “Is it your second choice?”

A few questions relating to buying that new vehicle are also asked: 

  1. “Current vehicle type?”
  2. “Type of vehicle under consideration?”
  3. “Price range expected to pay?

From the answers to the above BIGresearch develops a matrix detailing every brand mentioned, the percentage of current ownership by brand, the percent of 1st choice and 2nd choice to create an average percentage which then drives the calculation of the “share point percentage change.” This is the critical number because it relates directly to brand currently owned. 

Here’s how to read and understand the data. In the just released March 2009 study, Acura was owned by 0.7% of the people who said they were going to buy a new car; 3.2% of the Acura owners considered Acura their first choice, 1.3% as the second choice which resulted in an average of 2.6%. This resulted in a projected 1.93% SharePoint Gain for Acura this month. 

This study is nationally projectable based on the customers of the retailer; changes in current market penetration will vary based on their consumer demographics. And that’s easy to determine by looking at the brand currently owned. 

For ease of presentation, I will use the David Letterman Top 10 Winners and Losers format. Read ‘em and weep. Or smile and grin.

 Share Point Gainers/Winners, March 2009 Research 

Rank Brand Now Owned % Average Gain Point Up %
 1 Honda




 2 Lexus




 3 Cadillac




 4 Lincoln




 5 Acura




 6 Hyundai




 7 GMC




 8 BMW




 9 Nissan




10 Audi




Source: BIGresearch CIA Share point losers for March 2009. Car owned percentage
applies only to the people responding to the question,
"Do you plan to buy a new car next month?"  (more...)