Getting into consumer head space with Environics Analytics

PRIZM2 can predict Canadians' media consumption according to class, neighbourhood and ethnicity.

A new web-based micromarketing tool by Environics Analytics will help media agencies and marketers find out exactly where their target demographic lives, what their value systems are, and provide a snapshot of their consumer and media consumption behaviour.

‘We could define a subset of the population…we can identify whether they open flyers, whether they use the Internet; whether they’re concerned about the environment or whether they’re concerned about having a good time,’ says Jan Kestle, president of Toronto-based analytical service, Environics Analytics.

Linking data from Statistics Canada, PMB and BBM Canada among others, the second-generation segmentation system called PRIZM2 divides Canadians into one of 66 lifestyle types that marketers, using the new Envision tool, can access for their database.

New trends for 2009 that Envision has captured involve diversity and class. The ‘Cosmopolitan Elite’ lifestyle type for instance, typically found in neighbourhoods like Toronto’s Rosedale, is getting younger, and increasingly moving west. And by understanding and identifying the ‘diversity within diversity,’ marketers can have more comprehensive campaigns. ‘If you are into diversity marketing, the next thing that you have to remember is that all South Asians or all Chinese or all Italians aren’t the same. They don’t buy the same products, they don’t think the same way,’ says Kestle.

As marketing dollars are increasingly under scrutiny for accountability and ROI, a precise tool to measure and monitor the target is valuable, says Kestle. ‘This allows advertisers to use a research base for getting different messages to different people, picking the right medium, and the other thing about it is it can be measured,’ Kestle tells MiC.

The cost of the software is $10,000 but the additional licensing varies – for all of Canada, a package could start in the $20,000 range and go up to more than $100,000 depending on which marketing databases a customer requires. But some over-the-counter services can be as cheap as $500, depending on the extent of data required, Kestle explains.

Previous versions of the system are used by some 200 companies. One of them is the University of Toronto, which uses it to target alumni for fundraising efforts. ‘We know that the groups we’re mailing to will have an interest in what we’re either promoting or asking them for,’ says Rivi Frankle, interim VP and chief advancement officer at U of T.

Statistics Canada divides the country into 54,000 neighbourhoods of about 300 households each. Environics, using survey-based data collected by their partner Environics Research (which has been collecting information for 25 years), takes the data and splits the neighbourhoods into categories. Titles of those categories include ‘Upward Bound’ – upper-middle class homeowners with school aged children, the self-explanatory ‘South Asian Society’ and ‘Villes Tranquilles’ – a working-class Francophone cluster.