The DAGMAR (Defining Advertising Goals for Measured Advertising Results) process, which was developed by Colley in 1961. This process has been very valuable towards advertising planning and setting objectives by placing an increased emphasis on different stages of the consumer decision-making process regarding final purchases. It uses the traditional hierarchy of effects model and suggests that the communication task must be specific and measurable. Therefore, it introduces a structure to measure the advertising results.
Characteristics of Effective Objectives
You already know that the success of any business strategy and plan depends on the objectives that they are designed around. Well-defined objectives serve as the main standard to measure the effectiveness of advertising. However, setting objectives is much harder than said. Several factors complicate the objective-setting process, especially in marketing communications. Some of the factors are as follows:
·Conflicting perspectives among decisions makers—usually there is no clear consensus among the participants in terms what marketing communication should accomplish. ·The marketing environment is complex and there are a number of factors that influence communication objectives (i.e., media, cost, dynamic nature of the market, etc.). ·Uncertainty about future events, customer behavior, and competitor actions.
So, what are the criteria for effective objectives in marketing communications? In general, the SMART acronym (introduced by Peter Drucker in The Practice of Management) is good for remembering important criteria of effective objectives. See Figure 5.1.
It is possible that you might identify some other important criterion for effective objectives (i.e., quantifiable), but these five criteria are the most commonly used characteristics of effective objectives.
For instance, “Our advertising should increase consumers’ knowledge of our product features,” is not a measurable advertising objective. On the other hand, “…to increase consumer awareness from 15 to 70%” is specific and measurable. However, is it realistic to expect a jump in awareness from 15 to 70%?
Below are good examples of solid SMART advertising objectives:
·We want to increase the firm’s market share by 10% this year. ·We want 35% of our target customers to be aware of our new product within the next 2 months.
Advertising Objectives: Sales Versus Communication
In general, advertising objectives may be broadly classified into two groups—sales and communication objectives.
Most people argue that the ultimate objective of advertising is to improve sales. Sales may be quantified and effectiveness of advertising can be measured using sales as the outcome. Direct response ads and retail advertising usually are good examples for this form of advertising objective. However, we know that there may be a number of other factors influencing sales. Factors related to the marketing mix and other uncontrollable variables may influence sales. Furthermore, the impact of the advertising may not happen in the short run, but rather may be stretched over a long time period (carryover effect). Therefore, the desired sales increase may not happen immediately in some situations, but this does not necessarily mean that the advertising failed.
Sales-oriented advertising objectives are frequently used by retailers. In this Macy's example below, the objective of the advertising is to increase sales for a specified time period and encourages customers to purchase by offering a discount for a limited time.
Philip Kotler argues that the objective of advertising is “to inform, persuade, reinforce a purchase decision."
In this view, the major objective of advertising is to change a customer’s attitude by creating awareness, knowledge, liking, and preference. It is argued that advertising should be seen as a force...