The semi-rhetorical question surfaces the industry’s focus on research and analysis in the wake of Upfront negotiations. The Audience Measurement Conference (which you can read more about in Charlene Weisler's new report) “comes at a critical time for us all,” remarked David Poltrack, ARF Board Chairman, CBS Chief Research Officer and this year’s recipient of the ARF’s Erwin Ephron Demystification Award.

Despite advances in research over the past year such as Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS), the collaborative initiative founded by the ANA, 4As and IAB, “we are not moving at C-Suite speed,” observed Fuguitt in her Day 1 Call to Action.

It was a notion echoed by speaker Radha Subramanyam, iHeartMedia President, Insights, Research and Data Analytics. In her session, ROI is the New Ratings, Subramanyam evaluated iHeartMedia’s recent investments in real-time ad buying and targeting products as key tent poles in bringing the most actionable intelligence to advertisers.

In a CBS VISION Spotlight Session, Poltrack shared how through the Campaign Performance Audit, CBS can precisely target potential customers and deliver enlightened learnings to its advertisers. Using proprietary data and Nielsen analytics, the Campaign Performance Audit (CPA) offers performance-based metrics that prove the reach and efficacy of traditional network advertising.

In “Targeting Your Audience: From Devices to Dollars,” Peter Naylor, Senior Vice President Sales at Hulu and Manish Bhatia, CRO at comScore presented a winning paper that evaluated and measured Hulu’s total audience across platforms -- desktop, mobile and OTT. Using tag data, survey data and comScore panel data, results showed that Hulu’s audience grew by 95% in measuring OTT and mobile with co-viewing.

These recent efforts in delivering insights to aid marketers in their performance evaluation and decision-making are well worth the investments they require. As Poltrack said, it is a “critical time for us all.” Especially as current data suggests that advertisers feel underserved when it comes to research and market intelligence.

According to the 2015 MyersBizNet TomorrowToday Survey of Advertiser/Agency Executives’ Perceptions of 36 Digital Sales Organizations (fielded in March/April 2015 and available in full to MyersBizNet member companies), only 41% of respondents perceive the industry as a market achiever or leader in providing advanced research and market insights. In the 2015 Survey of Perceptions of Television Sales Organizations (fielded in December 2014), 39% of respondents perceived the industry as a market achiever or leader in research across 32 broadcast and leading cable/video networks.

Advertisers are not wholly dependent on their media partners. As presented in several sessions at the Audience Measurement Conference, brands are budgeting for proprietary research to understand the effectiveness of their marketing mix.

Delta Airlines teamed with full-service market research agency MESH, to answer the question, “How do people experience Delta?” The experience-driven market approach that Delta took on may be “the frontier” for making more impact with less money, explained MESH President and CEO Fiona Blades in a YouTube video posted prior to the conference.

MESH defined experience-driven marketing metrics to draw the lines between investment and experience, allowing Delta to take these learnings to maximize its paid media investment. Their winning paper “From Message Sent to Message Received” deduced that share of experience strongly correlates with market share.

As marketers continue to be held to a higher level of accountability in their purchase decisions, the research and insights that their partners provide remain vitally important -- especially now as brands ramp up their own internal research efforts. Research is no longer a crutch but the crux to doing good business effectively and efficiently.

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