You need an MRI!

Not the words you want to hear from your doctor but if it comes from your advertising partners it’s definitely worth looking into. For one thing an MRI is painless, and for another it’s a pretty good place to start during media planning when seeking answers to category, brand and target audience related questions.  

I am writing of course about a different tool than the one found in the medical field.  Among the many tools and methods we use in the planning process none is probably more useful than the survey data provided by Gfk MRI, a subsidiary of the GfK Group. MRI is useful in developing consumer insights and targeting, media insights and specific channel values. It’s flexible enough to incorporate a client’s proprietary segmentation to garner media related insights that are generally under-reported in the original segmentation

The name MRI stands for Mediamark Research & Intelligence, and just as a medical MRI provides a detailed view of the human body, the MRI survey provides a detailed view of the 226 million adult consumers in the U.S. An MRI report shows their media choices, demographics, lifestyles, attitudes, and usage of almost 6,000 products in 550 categories. 

There is also an American Kids Study and a Teenmark Study that along with the adult survey provide a clear, single-source view of the entire U.S. consumer market in high resolution. That’s about as complete as any consumer research study can get and it’s why we subscribe. Of most importance to us is that an in-depth understanding of current consumers and best prospects can be compiled AND tied to media consumption.

How MRI collects the data:

  • Data are collected in person, with in-home, face-to-face interviews. Surveys are collected year round, every year and reported 2x a year. 
    • Adult survey- Survey of the American Consumer
      • Nationally representative sample of ~26,000 adults yearly
    • Teenmark- Captures the  teen 12+ market
      • Nationally representative sample of 2,800 teens age 12-19 recruited from households that participated in the adult Survey of the American Consumer
    • American Kids Survey – collects data from children age six to 11
      • Nationally representative sample of 4,500 boys and girls living in households that participated in the adult Survey of the American Consumer

What can we do with this data? Pinpoint targets… identify trends… develop product lines… define users vs. buyers… fine-tune media campaigns… study consumer motivations… identify shopping styles….evaluate the competition… gauge brand loyalties… analyze demand across segments… quantify niche target potential… explore new strategic directions.

An MRI analysis is just one of several important marketplace inputs that can help you identify strategic and tactical insights to drive marketing and media strategy. Continue to visit Blue Plate Media’s blog for additional overviews of other planning resources and media approaches. As always if you have any questions or would like further information on anything you see here please email us at

Tim Jones, Media Director, Blue Plate Media Services 

Published 05.08.13