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MKT 352 - Marketing Principles and Policies

Fall 2023 - Prof. Tim Hartge

Simmons Insights Overview

MRI Simmons Insights provides access to U.S. adult consumer data on product and brand usage, spending behavior, media habits, and more. It can be used to create customized reports helpful for developing marketing strategies, making advertising decisions, and finding statistical information that comes from the Simmons National Consumer Study.

  • NOTE: Our licensing agreement with Simmons Insights limits us to only 2 concurrent users at one time. Allow yourself plenty of time before your assignment is due to work with this program, in case you cannot access it at any given time due to the user limit. Make sure to close out of the program when you are done to ensure others can use it. 
  • NOTE: If you are accessing this database off campus, make sure you are connected to the campus VPN.

Accessing MRI Simmons Insights

Once you have launched the database, switch your search settings from "composer" to "dictionary." Dictionary is easier to use, because all options are visible to you. 

Simmons Insights Demonstration

Below is a brief walkthrough of Simmons Insights created by the University of Alabama Libraries: 

Tips for Creating a Crosstab

Selecting a survey: You have a range of surveys to draw on for your crosstab.

  • The NHCS Adult Study options include demographic and psychographic information, product and service usage, buying behaviors and media usage for adults in the US. Data is available from as recently as 2020.
  • Simmons Connect Plus includes all the data of the NHCS Studies, plus some additional data on consumer use of media platforms. Data is available from as recently as 2019.

Pick the one you'd like to use from the dropdown menu as pictured below: 

Study selection

Using a base: You can either select a base or leave it blank. If left blank, the crosstab you generate will use the whole study population. In the example below, I narrowed my base to individuals who indicated that they use a smartphone: 

Setting a base

Using the Columns and Rows: In order to generate the clearest possible report, it is best to list the information you're investigating in the columns, and the demographic information in the rows. See an example below: 

Saving your work: Once you have filled in your base, columns, and rows, select the arrow in the upper right corner to generate your report. You can view your report within the database, or download your spreadsheet onto your computer to reference later. I recommend downloading your work to make sure you do not lose it. If you plan to use to Excel, export to a .xls file. If you do not plan on using Excel, save as a .csv file. 

Tips for Interpreting Reports

Index: The index column provides valuable information for understanding your report, because it indicates whether a particular demographic is more or less likely to use the product or brand you're researching. An index of 100 indicates average likelihood. The index results are color coded: a green arrow indicates a high likelihood of use, a red arrow indicates a low likelihood of use, and a yellow dash indicates average likelihood.

Assessing Reliability: Take note of any data points that are marked with asterisks. One asterisk indicates a small sample size and two asterisks indicates a very small sample size. Proceed with caution when drawing conclusions from data points with small sample sizes. See the image below for an example of small sample sizes: 

"Vertical" and "Horizontal" columns

  • For vertical, read the vertical (column) heading first, then use the row information to interpret
  • For horizontal, read the horizontal (row) information first, then use the column heading to interpret

In the example below, the vertical category indicates that of the people who used an Apple smartphone, 7% were between the ages of 22-24. The horizontal category indicates that of all the respondents between the ages of 22-24, 61.9% of them used an Apple smartphone. 

Below is a video explanation of the vertical and horizontal categories from UW-Whitewater's Andersen Library.

"Understanding Simmons Insights Results - Vertical and Horizontal Percentages"

Andersen Library, Reference & Instruction, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

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