The research services provided by IMRB (Indian Market Research Bureau) can be classified into three broad categories:
1. Customer specific quantitative research services.
2. Customer specific qualitative research services.
3. Syndicated research services.
Customers Specific Quantitative Research Services:
The customer specific quantitative research services of IMRB include the following:
1. Consumer research
2. Industrial market research
3. Media research.
Customer Specific Qualitative Research Services:
IMRB also offers customer specific qualitative research services. It established a separate unit for this service under the name Probe Qualitative Research (PQR). The research activities under PQR cover the following:
1. Motivation research
2. Lifestyle study
3. Advertising pre-testing
4. Concept evaluation
5. New product research
6. Positioning of brands
7. Corporate image study.
Syndicated Research Services:
IMRB offers a wide variety of syndicated research services, especially in areas like market measurement and media planning. They include:
1. The National Readership Survey (NRS)
2. Businessmenâ€™s Readership Survey (BRS)
3. Television Rating Points System (TRP)
4. Market Pulse â€“ household purchase panel
5. Rural Market Probe.
Taylor Nelson Sofres MODE is another major MR agency in India. In this case again, an MNC. TN Sofres Network, has 100% equity stake. Marketing Operations Design and Enquiry Service (MODE) is its Indian partner. MODE is a Kolkata-based MR agency offering customized as well as syndicated marketing research services. Its syndicated dealer survey that determined the effect of dealer promotion campaigns deserves a special mention. MODE was taken over by TN Sofres as a part of the new trend of globalization of the Indian MR business. With the takeover by TN Sofres, MODE became the beneficiary of business from projects unconnected to India and could use its research skills in the overseas projects. TN Sofres has set up a back office to handle research work for TN Sofres clients in other countries.
Worldwide, AC Nielsen specializes in market research in consumer product industries and service industries. Its products and services include consumer panel service, retail audits media research and customized research. Retail audits and media measurement are two of its core businesses. It is the global leader in both of them.
In retail measurement, AC Nielsen is now challenging ORG-MARGâ€™s long standing audit. ORG-MARG has, however managed to hold on to its leadership status. In retail AC Nielsen is still limited to the larger towns and hence has not got many bigger customers yet.
AC Nielsen competes with IMRB in consumer panels and with ORG-MARG in retail audits. It claims that it will advance fast in these areas. It is possible that some of AC Nielsen models challenge the existing ones of IMRB. For that matter, they can challenge the existing models of other agencies as well. But, both ORG-MARG and IMRB feel that they cannot be easily dislodged from their leadership position in their respective strong areas. IMRB feels that in the area Nielsen plans to challenge it, the latter does not have much of a presence now. Nielsenâ€™s core strengths are retail audit and media. It has no presence in the region in panel research. It is not easy to launch panels in a market. Moreover, IMRB is not just a data supplier. Value addition to the data is its forte. Similarly, ORG-MARG discounts the view that AC Nielsen will make it difficult for it to survive in retail audit. Its contention is that at present, AC Nielsen India has its facilities for retail audit in just a few cities. The spread of ORG-MARG already extends to 370 towns and 1,000 villages. Its urban panel size is 7,300 and rural panel size is 3,425. It has 850 strong staff and can double the number any time. It has toiled for three decades to get its logistics in place. Interestingly AC Nielsen and ORG-MARG have a common patent, VNU. For the TV meter, AC Nielsen presently has a tie-up with KANTAR. It also has a 50:50 joint venture agreement with IMRB.