Omnibuses provide the benefit of proprietary research at a shared cost--but the savings do not limit the value of the research. Deceived by the inexpensiveness, businesses often relegate omnibus data to screeners or tracking market changes, but omnibuses also can be used to field short attitude and usage studies, assess markets of interest, and conduct other studies limited only by the creativity of the researcher. Omnibus data may be collected in the mail, by telephone, or online to accommodate clients' budgets, timing, and informational needs.
Dig a Little Deeper Into Humble Omnibus Data
Even if the data is collected via an omnibus, it still deserves the same insightful analyses as any custom study.
A Fortune 100 client uses Ipsos' Insta-Vue omnibus to track the adoption of new titles introduced each year as well as to track the popularity of older titles. Insta-Vue is a monthly mail omnibus that completes interviews with 3,500 to 170,000 representative U.S. households drawn from the Ipsos U.S. Access Panel. At first, Ipsos fielded the study and reported the adoption rate and a few other key measures. Then Ipsos suggested that they could dig deeper and find additional value in the data. It was theorized that the titles follow the stages of a traditional product life cycle and that the key to introducing titles would be to identify innovators and early adopters. An analysis of the omnibus data identified three distinct groups: 1) innovators, who purchase new titles, 2) adopters, who buy titles that have moved through the introductory stage, and 3) laggards, who adopt the title when it has become mature. The three segments have unique demographic profiles and respond to different promotional efforts, making the segmentation actionable. By combining this information with media spending data, a marketing mix model was developed. All of this from humble omnibus data.
Using an Omnibus for Attitude and Usage Research
As the above case demonstrates, although omnibuses have limited survey lengths, insightful surveys can yield significant results. Among other things, brand lists can be included, frequency of purchase and usage occasions asked, segments identified, and switching behavior, source of volume, and cannibalization measured. Reasons for purchase/usage (drivers) can also be uncovered using closed-ended response lists, and some omnibuses allow for "other specifies."
A leading health and beauty aids manufacturer took full advantage of Ipsos' Insta-Vue omnibus to gather information about their fragmented category that comprised a multitude of low-incidence brands. The client used this omnibus to identify category users, brand users (for the client brand plus competitive brands), and reasons for using the category. In the same omnibus survey, the client was also able to identify current users and lapsed users on a brand basis. Plus, the client was able to uncover the specific brands to which that lapsed users switched. Because the Ipsos U.S. Access Panel was used, brand users and lapsed users could be tied to a wide range of demographics on file that allowed for detailed profiles of these segments and the category as a whole. Finally, the client used this single omnibus study to find out why lapsed users stopped using the client's brand.
For emerging categories, recently introduced products, and niche markets, omnibuses are an economic way to gauge the marketplace. The large sample sizes afforded by omnibuses can be used to precisely estimate category and brand incidence and provide demographic information about buyers in specific low-incidence markets. The demographic make-up of a consumer group identified in an omnibus (for example, a category or brand user, a sufferer of a specific medical condition, or some other segment) is often used as the source for weighting variables for future research.
The marketer of a trendy new teen product used an omnibus to identify a sample of its very low (1%) incidence customer base. The omnibus not only located the teen users, but was also the perfect vehicle for finding out who they were demographically, where they used the product (at home versus at school), and which brands formed the competitive set. The information gleaned from this study was so valuable to this client that they went on to conduct the study in several countries outside the U.S., using an omnibus vehicle in each country.
Tracking via an Omnibus
Omnibuses are frequently used to conduct continuous trackers. This is because omnibuses use independent representative samples, so they can measure category/brand awareness, penetration, and share, and they can be the source of projections without sample or non-response bias.
A major trade association has been utilizing Ipsos U.S. Express for several years to track usage, awareness and attitudes about its industry and competing industries. Ipsos U.S. Express is a nationally representative telephone omnibus that polls 1,000 American adults twice a week via random digit dialing.
The information gleaned from the Ipsos U.S. Express omnibus helps the association evaluate its products, identify trends, and prepare for shifts in consumer opinion. In addition, demographic profiles produced by the omnibus survey are invaluable to the client for learning which consumers to target, how to target them, and with what messages.