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8.4: Define Where You Want to Go - Set Objectives

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    • Anonymous
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    Learning Objectives

    After studying this section, students should be able to do the following:

    1. Distinguish between marketing objectives and advertising objectives in a strategy.
    2. Explain the DAGMAR model for setting objectives.

    Marketing Objectives

    Objectives state what outcomes will be achieved, while strategy defines how each objective will be achieved. Once you understand the marketing environment, the next step is to develop specific marketing objectives. Marketing objectives state what the marketing function must do so that the company can achieve its overall business objectives (such as growth, expanding its market share, or increasing profits). Marketing-related objectives are specific to the firm’s brands, customer segments, and product features. These might include “Grow sales of product X by 30 percent over the next twelve months” or “Increase market share among affluent consumers aged forty-five to sixty-five.” Samsung, for example, sells fourteen product categories in more than two hundred countries, which yields 476 category-country combinations. Samsung collects data systematically on each combination and uses that brand data to set better marketing objectives by country and product.Thomas Davenport and Jeanne Harris, “Competing with Multichannel Marketing Analytics,” Advertising Age, April 2, 2007, 16.

    Advertising Objectives

    Advertising objectives are the specific communication tasks that an advertisement seeks to achieve. These tasks include trial (informing the consumer about a product), continuity (reminding the consumer of the product), and brand switching (persuading the customer to change from one brand to another). Often, the advertising objectives are tied to the product’s life cycle. For example, trial is usually employed at the start of a product’s life cycle to encourage customers to try the product. A firm pursues continuity objectives when a product is mature in order to remind current customers to continue buying the product. Brand switching, or switchback, occurs at later stages of the life cycle—particularly the rejuvenation phase, when the company highlights new product features or lowers the price of the product.

    DAGMAR Objectives

    The DAGMAR model (Defining Advertising Goals for Measured Advertising Results), developed by Russell Colley, is a way to set objectives and measure the results of advertising. Colley stated that the process of achieving an advertising objective can be broken down into four phases:

    • Awareness. Consumers must first be made aware that a particular brand or offering exists (“I’ve heard of it”).
    • Comprehension. Consumers must understand what the offering is and how it will benefit them (“I know what it is”).
    • Conviction. Consumers must decide to want to buy the product (“I want it”).
    • Action. Consumers must actually buy the product (“I’ve bought it”).

    Communications Objectives

    The DAGMAR model states that advertising objectives must be concrete and measurable. That is, you want to have a precise statement of the message to communicate to the target audience and have a way to measure whether the intended message has been communicated properly. The measurement can be straightforward. For example, if your objective is that people perceive your product as the healthy alternative, you can measure the objective by asking shoppers whether they think your product is healthier than the competition.

    Creative Objectives

    The creative objectives deal with the form and content of the advertising. They define key elements of the message (what you want to say), emotional tone (how you say it), and production objectives (what the ad looks like). For example, the creative objective might specify that the advertising will reinforce existing aspects of the brand personality, modify old perceptions of the brand, or instill new brand characteristics.

    Media Objectives

    Media objectives define the who, where, and when of the target audience in the context of an overall marketing plan and budget. Note that media objectives don’t state which media will be used, because how you reach the audience is part of setting a media strategy. Elements of media objectives can include:

    • Who: target audience objectives
    • Where: geographic objectives
    • When: timing, scheduling, reach, and frequency objectives
    • Marketing coordination: sales promotion objectives
    • Money: media budget objectives

    You’ll learn more about how these objectives are put into motion in Chapter 9 "Choose Your Communication Weapons: SS+K Decides Upon a Creative Strategy and Media Tactics" and Chapter 10 "Plan and Buy Media: SS+K Chooses the Right Media for the Client’s New Branding Message".

    Dig Deeper

    Identify a TV commercial you’ve seen in the last month. Conduct an unofficial DAGMAR analysis for it: to what extent does it meet the criteria of creating awareness, comprehension, conviction, or action?

    Key TakawayS

    Now that you have read this section, you should be able to understand the power of branding and how to construct a strategic framework for solving problems:

    • You have reviewed the power of branding and its relationship to brand differentiation, accountability, consistency, and personality.
    • You can explain the concept of brand equity.
    • You can recognize the benefits of branding for advertisers and buyers.
    • You can describe the strategic framework for solving problems.
    • You can explain the function of a brand audit.
    • You can apply SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis to a marketing situation.
    • You can construct advertising and marketing objectives that can be applied to your plans and strategies.
    • You can create advertising and marketing strategies that provide direction to creative teams.
    • You can create a creative brief that describes the intricacies of the proposed advertising strategies and how those strategies can be implemented by the creative team.


    1. Describe the differences between marketing objectives and advertising objectives in formulating a marketing and promotion plan.
    2. List and discuss the four phases of the DAGMAR model.
    3. Compare and contrast creative objectives and media objectives.

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