Journal of Management and Marketing Research

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10475 – Journal of Management and Marketing Research

Target marketing and the product: categorizing products to understand the resulting marketing communication outcome measures Yuvay Jeanine Meyers Howard University ABSTRACT There is an increased expectation for American consumers to be presented with relatable images (Williams, Qualls, and Grier 1995). The use of Black models is now a commonplace occurrence in African American targeted marketing efforts; however there are a lack of studies that address other elements in the advertisement, beyond the skin color of the featured model. The author’s experiment shed light on the role that both the realm of consumption of the featured product and its cultural relevance plays on the reception of targeted marketing communication efforts. The way that a consumer views an ad is affected by elements within the ad and how these elements are seen and used within their own cultural context. In other words, a cultural lens is used to view the different elements of an ad in order to find significance. This study sets out to identify whether the product featured in a targeted advertisement affects the anticipated marketing communication outcomes.

Target marketing, Page 1

10475 – Journal of Management and Marketing Research INTRODUCTION The use of target marketing is based on the premise that those who are targeted have a pronounced affinity for the product or brand (Aaker 1999). By highlighting this affinity, marketers will successfully meet their desired outcome such as purchase intent, attitude towards the ad, brand, and product. One explanation of why this targeting works is due to the shared cultural knowledge displayed in the marketing communication (Aaker, Brumbaugh, Grier 2000; Brumbaugh 1997). In other words, the success of targeted marketing is driven by a consumer’s inference of similarity between some aspect of a company’s communication effort and themselves (Whittler 1989). As minority buying power grows in America, so too will the need for advertising that speaks directly to consumers of varying ethnicities. There is an increased expectation for American consumers to be presented with relatable images (Williams, Qualls, and Grier 1995). It is commonly accepted that African-American consumers respond favorably towards advertisements that feature African-American models (Whittler 1991). In support of targeted marketing, it is assumed that when presented with an advertisement, the audience will seek out similarities between the product and their self. This would make the consumer feel a connection with the advertisement and therefore feel as though the message, and therefore the product, is specifically for them. The use of Black models is now a commonplace occurrence in African American targeted marketing efforts; however there are a lack of studies that address other elements in the marketing mix, beyond the skin tone of the featured model that may also affect the resulting outcomes. This study sets out to identify whether the product featured in a targeted advertisement affects the anticipated marketing communication outcomes. LITERATURE REVIEW Reference Group and Product Consumption Advertising attitudes are influenced by the product categories viewed in an ad (Biehal, Stephens, and Curlo 1992.) Therefore, studies interested in the role of ethnicity in advertising also need to account for perceived product endorsement and product categories. For this study, the products featured were chosen based upon categories that were congruent with understanding the role ethnicity would play in the reception of an ad featuring an African American model. Endorsement of a product by a model that belongs to your group can influence your information processing, attitude formation and your purchase behavior (Bearden, Netemeyer, and Teel 1989). The products that a consumer purchases and the brands that they select can be significantly influenced by the reference groups they...
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