In December, global market research firm GfK announced the acquisition of digital research firm Knowledge Networks. And late last week, the company announced the acquisition's closing. Read the release.
David Krajicek, CEO of GfK Custom Research North America, discussed the acqusition and its implications.
AdExchanger.com: What would you say were the triggers for GfK’s acquisition of Knowledge Networks?
DK: There were a couple of things. The first was, as in any acquisition, we had some base hurdles that we always look to clear, and one is a real fit into the strategic direction for the company. In Knowledge Networks (KN), we find that nice fit because it continues to drive us into the digital space: in the online assets that they have, the panel assets that are there, the Dimestore element, as well as some additional synergistic relationships in a few key areas around healthcare, the consumer packaged goods area, the government and academic areas. At its foundation, the real focus on quality that we try and deliver to our clients dovetails nicely or complements with KN, along with the push into digital.
What’s GfK’s view on digital and its opportunity?
Increasingly, what we're seeing is the digitization of commerce. General market activity is used to make decisions about purchase and seek out opinion or influence about brands and situations. We continue to see digital channels as important – and not just touch points, but intermediaries that really start to influence consumer behavior and the consumer cycle.
It's absolutely important that we continue to not just engage with consumers but also understand their attitudes in a digital environment. Additionally, we need to understand how those digital channels begin to impact behaviors and have metrics or solutions in place that begin to address that. When I think about digital, I think about it in terms of how it impacts the brand and consumer dialogue. The interaction is an important evaluator such that it can provide strategic direction to brands. In understanding that, we get a better idea of how media is consumed, how it's used to make decisions and how purchases are actually made.
Digital is a broad word, but it can be made very tangible in our business when we focus on those areas.