Say you’re an entrepreneur and you’ve got the money to compete with Dell or Apple. Wouldn’t it be worth knowing how much each of those competitors spends on advertising for different product lines, and on what types of media? Getting the money may be an impossible dream, but finding out how they spend advertising dollars is relatively easy. The Library’s online resource Ad$pender is used by industry for media planning purposes, but can be used by anybody to track where corporate ad dollars go.
To create custom reports, logon to Ad$pender and click the pencil icon or the “Create” link. The Custom Reports dashboard lists the 6 steps it takes to create a report:
Step 1 “Media/Market.” Simply highlight the media types you want information about and click the arrow to move them to the “Selected Media” window.
Step 2, “Time Period,” lets you select the time frame you want to study; make it 5 years or less, otherwise Ad$pender will spit your search back.
Step 3, “Product Set,” lets you choose the brands and product lines you want to collect data on. Use the drop down menu in the first box on the search bar, select “Brands,” then type a brand name in the box to the left of the search button, click “Search.” Once you’ve found a product you want to know more about, use the “Drill” button at the bottom of the window. It will give you different categories to choose from to help you work back and pick up other brand names and product lines you may want to include. Move items you want to analyze to the “Selected Items” window.
Steps 4 and 5, “Report Format” and “Report Options,” let you control how the finished report will look. Most of the defaults are pretty intuitive—products in rows, the costs in columns, the results in dollars, and totals at the bottom. Most users will probably not want to change defaults, but they will want to type a header for the report.
Step 6, “Report Summary” lets you give the report a name and check the search terms (media, products, etc.). If you want to modify any aspect of your search, click the pencil icon next to it, make changes, go back to “Report Summary” and “Run Report.” It’ll take some time.
You can view the report as a PDF or a spreadsheet. Dollar amounts are abbreviated; a figure that appears to be in the thousands of dollars—6,036.7, for example—is actually 6 million, 36 thousand, 7 hundred dollars. If you’re not satisfied with the results, you can recalculate by making changes in “Report Summary” and running it again.
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