Thursday, May 04, 2006

New US Business Elite Survey Shows Senior Business Executives Responsible For Over $1 Trillion Annual Expenditure

Style Conscious Businessmen With Passion For The High-Tech Possessions Also Give Work-Life Balance Top Priority

USBRS 2006, Ipsos Media’s new survey looking at the media consumption and buying power of key decision-makers at the highest end of the business spectrum in the US, estimates senior business executives are involved in decision making worth over $1.2 trillion dollars a year. Key areas of responsibility measured amongst this select group of individuals includes; IT, telecommunications, office and industrial equipment, financial and insurance services, automobiles and business services.

In addition USBRS 2006 also demonstrates that US Senior Business Executives thirst for knowledge can only be satisfied when using all of the available media providers. Senior Executives turn to network TV for entertainment; cable TV first for breaking news and sport; believe national newspapers have the best journalists and reliable reporting; and turn to business magazines first for business news.

Internet use is still growing. Not only do one fifth of these top business executives use the internet as their first port of call for business news; it is also the most popular first step to gleaning financial news, used by 24 per cent of this group, information on financial markets, 26 per cent, personal finance, 30 per cent, and technology, 23 per cent.

However, while nearly two thirds, 65 per cent, of the mostly C-level audience questioned, spend more time reading business information online than in the past, this doesn’t seem to be having a negative impact on print readership, with over two thirds, 68 per cent, believing the internet is an important part of a business publication’s overall offering. While using a publication’s website is yet to become part of the daily routine of two thirds of this audience, clearly there is a real opportunity for publishing houses to build on this consumption.

Surveying the media habits of the US’s most influential decision-makers across TV, print and websites, the survey paints a picture of news hungry, internet-savvy executives - 92 per cent like to keep up with the latest news - for whom a real cross section of media has a role to play.
Network TV is the most popular source for US and political news; cable TV is sought after for foreign / international and entertainment news; the local paper is the best source for sports; and business magazines provide the most management / career development information.

Simon Staplehurst, associate director at Ipsos MORI Media, commented:
“With top business executives hungry for information to fuel their business lives and personal desire to stay ‘on the pulse’, there’s room out there for a whole range of media channels. The challenge for publishers and broadcasters is to recognize the individual role each medium plays and tailor the news and information offered accordingly to ensure it adds value and is compelling, be it on an instant by instant, day by day, weekly or monthly basis”.

Local papers hold sway in US
The survey also highlights the importance of local newspapers to the businessman’s media mix. Nearly a fifth, 19 per cent, cited this channel as having the most actionable and the most credible advertising, (compared to the internet at just three per cent), and the most informative advertising, 16 per cent.

The Wall Street Journal rules the roost amongst national dailies – read by over two fifths, 46 per cent, of the audience; followed by USA Today, thirty per cent, and the New York Times, 14 per cent. Businessweek and Newsweek are jointly most popular weeklies, both read by one fifth of the group.

On the internet, CNN is the most popular website at 11 per cent, followed by MSNBC, eight per cent.

The power of advertising
With sizeable incomes and lists of possessions that read like an upmarket shopping catalogue this audience is an obvious target for advertisers. Possessions range from the high tech, with 57 per cent of businessmen owning portable laptops or notebook computers, 37 per cent hand held or palm top computers, 35 per cent plasma screen or LCD TVs, 29 per cent a blackberry, and 32 per cent an iPod or MP3 player; to the luxury, with 31 per cent owning fine wine or champagne and 23 per cent premium liquor.

The good news, according to the survey, is that this group is open to advertising aimed at them in both their business and their social capacities. Nearly three quarters, 74 per cent, openly admit to being influenced by advertising in their personal lives, while 68 per cent claim the same in regards to their professional purchasing. 72 per cent also admit to getting ideas of what to buy from newspapers, magazines and TV and over half, 51 per cent, of this group claim to have purchased a product after seeing it advertised on the internet.

With over half the audience describing themselves as style conscious, an affinity with well-known brands is perhaps not unexpected. When asked about lifestyle purchases, 92 per cent say they are prepared to pay more for quality, 75 per cent prefer to buy well-known brands, and 80 per cent prefer to use well established products.

Attitudes differ slightly when it comes to this audience’s working life however: 44 per cent are not concerned whether major suppliers are well known names or brands, and just over half, 51 per cent, don’t need their CEO to have heard of the supplier.

Work isn’t everything
Despite painting a picture of hardworking business enthusiasts – 83 per cent are not afraid of taking business risks - work-life balance is also a priority for these executives, with the majority, 74 per cent, making sure work doesn’t stop them spending time with their friends and family; and over half, 56 per cent, claiming their career is not their top priority.

This penchant for enjoying their leisure time is also evidenced in the way American business leaders spend their money. Over a quarter, 29 per cent, enjoy sports club memberships and a similar number, 26 per cent, are members of a golf club. A fifth own their own vacation home; 14 per cent their own yacht or boat; and 19 per cent have taken a holiday in the last 12 months costing $3,000 or more per person.

Simon Staplehurst, associate director at Ipsos MORI Media, commented:
“This is the first time a survey has taken such a comprehensive snapshot of the business elite in the US. The survey helps to highlight subtle nuances between businessmen in the US and elsewhere in the world and promises to be an invaluable tool to advertisers, planners and buyers and to the publishers and broadcasters themselves as they steer content over the months ahead.”

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