Strategy in Advertising: Matching Media and Messages to Markets and Motivations (NTC Business Books)

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Results may differ depending on whether the information is gathered by a consumer, researcher, agency employee, or company. What would the results look like and how would they be evaluated? The results may also differ depending on whether brand contacts are collected on videotape, audiotape, pencil and paper, or through the combined use of these tools. There are additional challenges. For example, would this process involve the collection of information of one particular brand, several brands of a product category, or every brand contact of target consumers?

Also, it could be difficult to isolate individual brand contacts to measure the impact of a single brand contact without considering its synergistic effect with other factors Schultz, The time frames for selecting brand contacts should also be determined. It has been stated that marketers should continually collect and evaluate which contact points are the most manageable and valuable Ebling et al.

How frequent is continually? Is this a linear process of recording all brand contacts or is it iterative in nature? When is the best time to start and end brand contact selection? And, at what point is it no longer worth the incremental time and expense of gathering more information? Further, the literature does not specify how many or what types of consumers should be studied nor address the issue of consumer tolerance and cooperation with being thoroughly and longitudinally researched.

Can consumers, during their hectic everyday lives, be responsible for accurately remembering, efficiently recording, and appropriately evaluating all of their brand contacts if they are so asked? Also, how would consumers be able to recall and assess those brand contacts that involve instantaneous exposure below the level of perception? There has been little, if any, discussion yet regarding the validity of this data, how to motivate consumers to cooperate, and the potential ethical concerns regarding the privacy of consumers.

That is, applying the knowledge from the previous steps by controlling the contacts that can be controlled, influencing the contacts that cannot be controlled, allocating the budget to the most important brand contacts to the target consumers whether they can be controlled or not and integrating those brand contacts in order to have a more synergistic effect and a stronger, consistent impression in consumers' minds regarding the brand Fortini-Campbell ; Schultz et al.

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The idea is that integrating brand contacts can build a strong coherent meaning and a foundation for a long term consumer-brand relationship Fortini-Campbell Otherwise, target consumers may become confused and distrustful regarding the brand thus dissolving brand equity and relationship-building opportunities Fortini-Campbell For example, a marketer's traditional advertising could essentially go to waste if other points of brand contact are contradicting it Fortini-Campbell Schultz , p.

They're the only people and the only place where all of the advertisers' activities come together at one point and at one time. Should all brand contacts be "weighted equally" unless otherwise indicated by consumers or should the feedback of marketers be included to determine the range of importance for brand contacts of varying characteristics? Further, what criteria should marketers use to assess the "value" or "merits" of different brand contacts? Should traditional criteria i. Katz and Lendrevie , p.

Do brand contacts involving the visualization of the logo or package have as much "value" as non-visual brand contact experiences?


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Also, do instantaneous brand contacts have as much "value" as prolonged brand experiences? Although consumers may be unable to recall and state the importance of instantaneous brand contacts, these contacts may be as or more influential than those that are easily remembered Janiszewski a, b. Further, some brand contacts can range from extremely positive to extremely negative in terms of the consumer's experiences. Should this variation be incorporated in the evaluation of brand contacts and if so, how?

Finally, who should evaluate the effectiveness of the message delivery plan -- marketers, researchers, consumers themselves, or a combination?

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These opportunities can be classified into four areas: 1 the development of a brand contact typology; 2 the expansion of media planning research tools to include qualitative research; 3 the generation of new media research questions; and 4 the emergence of important future research avenues.

Two existing classification schemes in this area have been identified.

One typology is Duncan's message-based classification previously discussed in this paper. Another segmentation scheme is that presented by Katz and Lendrevie Their categories consists of: media exposures [i. An additional typology is proposed here.


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This typology could be based on specific, comprehensive, and longitudinal brand contact information from consumers' perspectives and insights gathered through qualitative research methods. The constructed typology should then provide a useful framework to assist researchers and practitioners in defining and consistently identifying brand contacts. Emerging uniquely from consumers' viewpoints and experiences, this brand contact typology should also have value for the evaluation of brand contacts and thus enable more effective message delivery strategies.

While traditional media planning has depended almost exclusively on syndicated research to identify appropriate message delivery options, the new brand contact concept demands intensive primary research. Databases and surveys can be quite useful for collecting aggregate information regarding isolated brand contact instances.

However, there are three important reasons researchers should not depend solely on a database.

First, the information gathered tends to be superficial. Second, there will be a point at which it will not be economically efficient to gather additional consumer brand contact data. Third, consumers may not have the ability, time, or motivation to provide detailed, in-depth information by telephone or mail. Further, while future research should attempt to quantify in some way all brand contacts, this could be a difficult, if not impossible, task Katz and Lendrevie Thus, it may be fruitful to investigate brand contacts in an interactive, holistic manner and in naturalistic settings through qualitative research.

Lutz , p acknowledges that "it may well be that unorthodox conceptual and methodological approaches hold the key to understanding the effects of much IMC activity". Qualitative research techniques have much to offer the brand contact concept, particularly for the development of a typology proposed here. In-person qualitative research may be extremely worthwhile in terms of its potential contribution to the selection and assessment of brand contacts and in turn the development of strong brand equity.

A variety of in-person qualitative research techniques could be used for brand contact research. Focus groups and in-depth interviews incorporating direct, open-ended questioning by a skilled moderator would be helpful. Further, some projective techniques e.

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Participant observation and ethnography could also add essential insights into the cultural, social, environmental, and temporal contextual factors surrounding brand contacts Lutz IMC demands movement into the field" Lutz , p. For example, observing consumers during the purchase situation could provide valuable insights Lutz Also, as brand contact experiences begin at an early age Crown et al. Thus, providing rich, detailed, and dynamic descriptions of brand contacts over time. Because in-person qualitative research can be expensive and time consuming, it could be supplemented by electronic qualitative research for gathering important information regarding consumer brand contacts.

Some researchers are now conducting qualitative research over the internet including on-line focus groups called on-line chats and ethnographic studies of electronic communities Clapper and Massey ; Crowley ; McMellon This new computer technology i. While a degree of the richness i. Under the brand contact concept, media researchers must ask new questions and additional questions in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of most, if not all, of the timing, placement, and situational characteristics surrounding non-advertising instances of brand information that influence consumers' knowledge, beliefs, intentions, and behaviors.

Three applications of the brand contact concept have been identified in the literature: the brand contact inventory, the brand contact path, and brand contact tracking. These can also be conceptualized as three different research "stages" which range in time frame, situational context, and depth of knowledge regarding consumer brand contacts.

The first application of the brand contact concept is the brand contact inventory. This procedure focuses on identifying those brand contacts that are relevant to the particular target market and relating consumers' lifestyles to media. Fortini-Campbell ; has developed a "brand contact summary" worksheet. A variation of this technique is being applied by Leo Burnett Co. Following the brand contact inventory, the researcher attempts to collect information such as: where the brand is contacted; the consumer's expectation and experience at the point of contact; the brand message received; the overall positive or negative feelings; the importance of the contact to brand judgment; and the target for reinforcement or improvement Fortini-Campbell, This data can be obtained from a variety of sources including surveys, experiments, and advertising response devices and then compiled into a database to provide information on consumer brand contacts Ebling et al.

Once all brand contacts have been identified in the inventory, the next step is evaluating each contact point to select those most important to the target consumers in terms of contributing to their judgment of the brand and potential to influence their behavior Ebling et al. The outcome of the evaluation should be a list of the most important and persuasive circumstances of contact points in which to most effectively communicate with target consumers Fortini-Campbell ; Kaatz Because the focus and dollars spent should be on the most important contacts to the consumer, the findings may require reallocation of budgets away from traditional marketing communications and toward atypical communication areas Fortini-Campbell Important media research questions arise here in terms of how to determine not only which brand contact points influence consumers' purchase behavior but also the degree to which each point influences them.

A second application is conducting brand contact paths. This requires closely examining the entire consumer purchase process. That is, tracing the flow of all of a consumer's steps, contacts, and sources along the way of making a single purchase decision of a particular brand Schultz et al. The brand contact paths technique is thought to provide a more in-depth understanding of consumers' behaviors as well as a broader aggregate picture.

Schultz et al. A third application involves the brand contact tracking data collection process. This procedure is more longitudinal, detailed, and contextual than either the brand contact inventory or brand contact path. Brand contact tracking is critical for the development and maintenance of brand equity over time Schultz et al.

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Let's run this campaign. Let's implement this program. Let's run this thing. I better start paying attention. But there is a long history Some advertising professionals who have acknowledged the importance of brand contact tracking are developing their own variations.