This week’s focus is on testing and targeting the right message for the right audience.
The first of our readings featured a research study conducted for the city of Philadelphia for Developing Media Interventions to Reduce Household Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption. The city’s health department wanted to run an ad campaign to reduce consumption of sugary beverages by children in order to fight obesity. In order to make the campaign as effective as possible, the city wanted to know who specifically to target and how to do it. They began with a 30-minute telephone survey in the summer of 2010 of residents who were primary caregivers of children 3-16. The survey covered demographics, family eating patterns, availability of these beverages, and several other topics. With the information gathered, the city created a campaign that featured a single African-American mother and her son in television and transit ads, with the addition of a radio spot. (The transit ads featured questions that could be answered through text messaging.)
Overall, I was impressed with the time and effort applied to this campaign, although the long-term effects of it are lacking at this point. That a municipality – albeit a large one – would devote such resources to make their ads more effective is admirable.
The second article, Online Consumer Behavior: Comparing Canadian and Chinese Website Visitors, compared the online store user behavior between two very diverse cultures with the general premise that “customers surf a site if they perceive it as informative, useful, and entertaining.” And therein lies the challenge. First, you must create a site that is informative and still entertaining, but you must define each of those for each culture. The findings suggest “that website designers should use different techniques to increase visitors’ feelings of pleasure and likability of the website for Canadian and feeling of control over the website for Chinese customers”, and “Increasing customers’ attitudes toward the website can be considered as a competitive advantage” for services providers who target the control-oriented Chinese.
So, again, we see that investments in time and resources in targeting online marketing pay off. Is it more effective/realistic to build a message after studying a targeted demographic, or develop the message first and tailor it to a targeted demographic?