Advertising and Public Relations

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Advertising and Public Relations

Advertising and Public Relations Effectiveness Measurement

 Advertising and Public Relations Effectiveness measures the actual effects of the message in the “real world”. Having developed the message and media strategy out of our Marketing Opportunity Analysis®, it’s important to ensure that the dollars invested in media are generating a high level of Marketing Return on Investment (MROI). The Marketing Opportunity Analysis® should be used as a benchmark against which the effectiveness of the campaign is measured. Our Advertising Effectiveness Measurement approach is also used to measure the effectiveness of public relations. Below is a list of the key information generated in this type of research.

Unique Features of Our Advertising and Public Relations Effectiveness Measurement

For more than 30 years, Steven C. Ethridge has been one of the most experienced advertising and public relations effectiveness researchers in the business. We have seen many clients start  a new campaign and then conduct a survey  that concludes measured effects of the campaign are positive. The problem with this approach is revealed in the question, “compared to what?’” What if the previous campaign was more effective? Or what if a competitor’s campaign is more effective than your new one? To overcome these problems and measure the true effectiveness of advertising or public relations requires an experimental design. Three types of experimental designs are used to measure  the effectiveness of advertising or public relations. These are listed and defined below.

  • Pre-Post Design — First is a design that compares a pre-campaign benchmark to a post-campaign measure.
  • Control-Test Design — The second design  compares a control-group benchmark (in markets where the message did not run) to a test group measurement (in markets where the message did run).
  • Continuous Tracking Design — The third type is continuous tracking design in which a pre-campaign benchmark is taken and then the performance of the campaign is monitored through daily or weekly interviewing and reporting done daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually.

Of the three types of designs, continuous tracking is the most valuable type for two reasons. First,  the other two designs are like viewing a “snap shot” of a particular point in time, whereas continuous tracking is like viewing a “movie”    happening throughout time. Second, because continuous tracking provides frequent reporting, any problems with the campaign process can be discovered and corrected.

Recently Ethridge was asked, “How do online advertising and the new social media change the way we measure advertising effectiveness?” The answer is, it doesn’t!

  • While, with the new media, we do need to monitor online measures like the number of impressions, number of website hits, click rates, open-rates and so on, ultimately what matters is how well the message is sinking into minds, hearts — and yes, the wallets — of the market.
  • Even online conversion rates are inadequate measures. The reason is that someone may buy in a store as a result of an online ad or website. For this and other reasons, an approach that relies on web analytics alone will severely understate the effectiveness of a campaign.
  • Thus, measures of how well the message is sinking into the minds, hearts, and wallets of the market, can only be accurately measured using survey research.

Whether or not we decide to use a websurvey to measure the effects of even traditional advertising, the types of effectiveness measures that need to be generated will always be the same (the ones listed in the next section below). Telephone surveys are still very effective for such measurement. Often we use hybrid approaches that involve both web surveys and telephone surveys.

Key Benefit Deliverables from Our Advertising or Public Relations Effectiveness Measurement

Regardless of the media in which the advertising or public relations message appears, we have found  that the most meaningful measures of advertising and public relations effectiveness are as follows.

  • Conscious Effects of the campaign, measured in terms of the following diagnostics:
    • Total Ad/PR Recall — the percentage of the market who recalled the message
    • Proven Recall — the percentage who could play back some specific copy point or visual element that was an intended and important part of the message
    • General Recall — the percentage who could only play back some generic element of the message but not an important, intended part of the message
    • Claimed Recall — the percentage who claimed to have seen, read or hear the message but could not recall anything specific about it
    • Misidentification — the percentage who ascribed some competing brand’s message to the client
    • Likability of the Message — how many people like vs. dislike the ad (which has been generally shown to correlate with the persuasiveness of the ad)
  • Media Effectiveness — which media generated the advertising or public relations recall
  • Subconscious Effects of the campaign – measured in terms of significant increases vs. the benchmark on the Key Marketing Effectiveness Measures of . . .
    • Top-of Mind Awareness
    • Favorable Predisposition
    • Market Share (of visits and of spending)
    • Brand Image/Position/Reputation
  • Direct Economic Effects of the campaign, measured by significant increases in . . .
    • Trial of the brand
    • Frequency/volume of purchases/usage of the brand in units
    • Amounts spent on the brand
    • Share of dollars (share of wallet) spent on the brand
    • Acquisition cost of acquiring new purchases
    • Inquiry Conversion Rates (especially common in tourism marketing research)
    • Marketing Return on Investment (MROI)

Types of Clients That Use Our Advertising or Public Relations Effectiveness Measurement

Any type of organization that uses advertising or public relations to build or maintain their brand image and  influence public behavior (e.g., purchases, donations, votes) can benefit from our Advertising or Public Relations Effectiveness Measurement. We have conducted advertising or public relations effectiveness studies for a wide variety of different brands, including hotels, entertainment companies, financial institutions (banks, credit unions, investment banking firms, insurance companies), restaurant chains (full-service and fast food), grocery stores, electronics manufacturers, non-profit foundations and political campaigns.

Our Advertising or Public Relations Effectiveness Measurement At Work

As with our other services, we could choose from dozens of case studies. Yet, two common themes have run through our case experience in this area.

  • First, every single client that has based their new campaign development on the recommendations resulting from our Marketing Opportunity Analysis and then kept us involved to ensure  those recommendations were followed, has found in their follow-up Advertising Effectiveness or Public Relations Effectiveness Measurement (whether we do it or another firm does) that the campaign achieved an unprecedented MROI.
  • Second, clients that have developed a campaign without following recommendations from our Marketing Opportunity Analysis, have found that there was significant room for improvement in the campaign message or media mix.

While most of our case studies in this area are confidential due to the competitive and strategic nature of these types of campaigns, we  have a few we can share by name.  These studies were done for government or quasi-government agencies and therefore, are public record.  Some clients have also given us permission to share.

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