Monitoring and evaluating marketing communications is a difficult process with imprecise outcomes. Critically review this statement for both on-line and off-line campaigns, making reference to appropriate theory, the organisation and tools previously selected. Innocent: Campaign regarding “Veg Pots” Monitoring and evaluating are different but complementary functions, which mutually reinforce one another. Monitoring is an enduring function that uses the systematic collection of data on specified indicators to provide management and the main stakeholders of an on-going development intervention.
Evaluation is the systematic and objective assessment of a continuing or completed project, programme or policy, (Third International Roundtable, 2007). Monitoring and evaluating marketing communications can be a difficult process as there are no real metrics for measuring advertisements within a campaign, advertising is not seen as a scientific or mathematical process and therefore evaluating the effectiveness of the campaign holistically can be made challenging.
A wide range of criteria could be used by Innocent to monitor effectiveness of the Veg Pot campaign, ranging from awareness or advertising through absorption of product message and other intermediate factors to sales, the closer the sales figures are the better. Innocent Veg Pots offline/online campaign is filled with mixed-media tools, the differences in the way different mediums work can mean that they complement one another, in a mixed-media campaign each enriches what the other conveys.
Magazine ads can communicate additional ideas, and also make the television advertising work harder; billboards can result in awareness and responses’ resulting on online hits, what this shows is that monitoring but also evaluating can be done not statistically but making consumers aware of the full product campaign through all mediums. Pelsmacker et al (2004) demonstrates with the use of figure 1. 1 different tests and research how monitoring and evaluating advertising campaigns can work. Figure 1. below illustrates the advertising planning process by stages, different advertising research methods can be adopted at certain points in the planning process. Innocent’s Veg Pot campaign can work in accordance with this model, at the different planning processes Innocent can carry out the research/tests as appropriate in order to efficiently improve decision making in each process and successfully move on to the next stage knowing that previous stages are fully completed and justifiable reasoning can be made as to why the next stage was then carried forward in the planning process.
The pre- test is an evaluation method but can be seen as a monitoring method in assessing whether the campaign at that time matches to the expectations of the set objectives for the campaign, objectives should be measurable in order to quantify the effectiveness of the marketing communications (Ouwersloot and Duncan, 2007), the post-test could then help evaluate how well the advertising has been, through typical methods as recall or recognition analysis as suggested by Pickton and Broderick (2005) but have been criticised for association with several methodological problems by Singh et al,(1988 pp72-80).
Figure 1. 1: Stages in the development of an advertising campaign and the role of advertising and advertising research Figure 1. 2 below shows the objectives of a pre-test, they could help to monitor if the set objectives are going to be met but also the pre-tests could be carried out to see whether the created adverts for the campaign are effective from the consumers perspective this may then allow Innocent to be efficient with time and money as they have already spent a lot previously promoting the Veg Pots which have been around since 2008, (Leahul, 2008).
Figure 1. 2: Objectives of a Pre-Test Monitoring website behaviour has been made easier through advances in technology over the years, web servers automatically collect data of visitors of whom visit websites Nielsen data are one firm who analyse these views with the help of cookies it allows experts to see consumers who revisit the website or where they go after leaving the advert they had just been exposed to on a certain website which helps evaluation of effectiveness of online adverts.
Viewing of television commercials tends to be relatively passive, whereas exposure to magazines is more active. The process of scanning the pages means constantly taking decisions, with relatively high attention, and this active selection is maintained throughout the reading of the issue. Typically, all or almost all of the pages of a magazine are opened, (Consterdine, 2000).
Reading a magazine requires more mental engagement than viewing television, magazines are purchased voluntarily and purchased based on interest so it is likely that the consumer is to actively seek out information from that magazine, television which is another of Innocents chosen mediums can however engage with more of the senses than magazines, visual stories can be formed and viewed, jingles and catchy music can be a form of retrieval cues whilst the consumer is shopping.
Monitoring television can be done by investigating how many people were watching during that advert break, monitoring magazines could be done by issues sold; evaluating the effectiveness of the ad can be seen through sales after exposure, however it cannot be stated that the increase in sales is because of the adverts it could be through desirability of product and the attractiveness of the offer it has along with it.
Monitoring campaigns as Innocent’s mixed media one has proven to have its difficulties but shown to be reduced by Pelsmacker et al (2004) work of test marketing, evaluating the campaign is not any easier as there are many challenges in the way. Post-testing is one possible solution to evaluating the campaign communication effectiveness.
Post-testing is carried out after an advert has been exposed to the target market the post-test hopes to find if the advert exposed has generated demand and increase sales figures. Post-test areas include media evaluation, sales affect, message content & design of the marketing communication and lastly the effect of that marketing communication on awareness, attitude, purchase intention, claimed purchase behaviour and the like, (Pickton and Broderick, 2005 and Pavlou and Stewart, 2000).
Pelsmacker et al (2004) found that recognition tests which consist of ‘evaluation of message content on the basis of an awareness of the marketing communication, (Pickton and Broderick, 2005) are better than recall tests which are an ‘evaluation of message content on the basis of aided or unaided recollection of the stimulus material’ (Pickton and Broderick, 2005), in measuring ad effectiveness if this is the case then Innocent could use recognition tests to evaluate the campaign of the Veg Pots however Singh et al (1988) suggested that recall and recognition tests have methodological problems in both broadcast media and print media Pelsmacker et al (2004) did also find that in recognition tests consumers can lie or guess creating erroneous results, single ads would be more difficult for a consumer to recognise or recall but similar ads that are part of a campaign will be more likely to recognised and recalled. Innocent is creating several different adverts all in line with each other to help consumers have the thought of Veg Pots in the top of their mind whilst they are shopping or just hungry. When monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of mixed-media campaigns special care is necessary if attempting to isolate the contributions of each medium. Isolating the effect of an advertising campaign is not always obvious’ according to Pelsmacker et al (2004), if Innocent are to fulfil their objective of increasing family consumers and advertise that free Veg Pots are available to limited consumers, that may increase the demand of the Veg Pots but the question is, is the increase in demand attributable to the advertising efforts or the attractiveness of the offer, (Pelsmacker et al, 2004), because of this it makes it difficult to assess the effectiveness of the individual tools used within the campaign to see what contributions each tool has brought. In order to assess this issue Pickton and Broderick’s (2005) concept of assessing the whole campaign through integrated marketing seems a much more appropriate method to use than struggling to assess individual tools effectiveness used within a campaign. Campaign evaluation research focusses on the effectiveness of the whole campaign rather than just one ad in which a post-test does. Integrated marketing suggests it is irrelevant to assess the effects of a single ad the effects of the whole campaign should be carried out, (Pickton and Broderick, 2005) which is agreed upon by the workings of Pavlou and Stewart (2000). Almost half of all personal computers are in the same room as the television set, and simultaneous viewing of television and access to the Internet are common,’ (Cox 1998) what this means for Innocent is that their mixed-media tools for the Veg Pot campaign work in accordance with each other suggesting that one medium helps the other in generating more and more awareness, in a campaign like Innocents it is impossible to state that effectiveness of one medium is more useful or successful than the other as it may possibly be that one medium helps the other gain its credibility for example the television advert may direct the consumer to the website for more information which then offers information regarding vouchers in certain magazines therefore creating a triangular formation of connection between the campaign tools. Figure 1. 3: Continuum of integration . Figure 1. above illustrates that increasing levels of integration results in marketing communications benefiting from synergy creating positive effects, this ties in with the work of Yeshin ( 2005) and Pelsmacker et al (2004) who stated integrated marketing is better than assessing the effects of one single medium which is irrelevant therefore the whole communications mix should be assessed, however Pickton and Broderick (2005) also state in their three levels of integration model (figure 1. 4) that not huge integration is needed like a military station just some integration is needed to keep a connection flowing through the hierarchy to avoid any communication failures. Figure 1. 4: Innocents new commercials that have been proposed to be created for the Veg Pot range is sure to not interest the entire audience the commercial is exposed to, Heath (2005, in Pickton and Boderick) said If the advert generates an interest for the person watching, that individual has more attention on the advert as it appeals to them compared to an individual watching the advert who does not have an interest in the product being advertised.
The AIDA model could be an evaluation method that demonstrates how the appeal of the advert leads to purchasing of the Veg Pot as the awareness creates the interest then leading to desire ending in purchase, however the AIDA model has been discredited by Consterdine (2000) as to why consumers switch brands or select the brand because of an advert. There is now wide agreement that advertising works in different ways for different products in different situations, which doesn’t have to comply with the findings of the simplistic AIDA model. Unlike the findings of Pelsmacker et al (2004) and Pickton and Broderick (2005) who talk about evaluation of effectiveness being through tests, Ouwerloot and Duncan (2007) suggest that evaluation can be done through feedback in forms of interviews, meetings and general discussion not only internally but externally out of a company too, this then creates qualitative information for a company such as Innocent to use constructively.
Speed, scope and scale of interactivity are what the mediums Innocent had for the Veg Pot campaign allowed. The degree of the success of the campaign can to an extent be evaluated through the mediums used. The internet can be used to fill out a questionnaire relating to the Veg Pots finding out whether consumers would purchase again, where and if they saw any of the campaign relating to the Veg Pots, television commercials can direct consumers to other more informative mediums, magazines can offer coupons when they are redeemed, billboards offer awareness, all these mediums combined can be evaluated not singularly though as found by Pelsmacker (2004), Pickton and Broderick, (2005) and Pavlou and Stewart (2000). Monitoring and evaluating marketing communications is a difficult process with imprecise outcomes’ this statements to an extent has been found to be true to an extent as many challenges are faced when monitoring and evaluating as there are no real metrics to underpin the exact effectiveness of campaign communications it is hugely based upon perceived judgement and estimated predictions it is helped however through pre and post-tests yet through those tests it is still unclear the exact amount of people the campaign proved to be a success towards. Monitoring and evaluating marketing communications of Innocent can be difficult but hardship can be reduced through different methods, by examining the objectives of the campaign of the Veg Pots and seeing whether or not they had been reached can possibly answer the question ‘has the campaign been a success,’ but the actual monitoring of a campaign can be easier than evaluating a campaign, adverts that are singularly produced and not part of a campaign can be better evaluated and monitored as there will be no other influences or support with that particular advert.
Saying that monitoring and evaluating can have imprecise outcomes is not generally true as strategies and tactics are put in place throughout campaigns an outcome is always known as measureable objectives are put in place at the beginning therefore knowing in the mind where or what the end result should be. References Consterdine, G. (2000) ‘Magazine advertising effectiveness’. [Online] http://www. consterdine. com/report. asp? articleid=50 Cox, Beth (1998), “Report: TV, PC Get Equal Time,” Advertising Report Archives, InternetNews. com (November 17). De Pelsmacker, P. and Geuens, M. and Van den Bergh, J. (2004), Marketing Communications, Prentice Hall, Harlow Leahul, D. (2008) Innocent Tackles food with Veg Pot. Brand Republic [Online] [Accessed on 2nd April 2012] http://www. brandrepublic. com/news/844321/innocent-tackles-food-veg-pots/ Ouwersloot, H. nd Duncan, T. (2007) Integrated Marketing Communications, Mc-Graw Hill Pavlou, P. A. and Stewart, D. W. (2000) ‘Measuring the Effects and Effectiveness of Interactive Advertising. ’ Journal of interactive advertising, 1(1) Pickton, D. and Broderick, A. (2005) Integrated Marketing Communications, Prentice Hall Singh, S. N et al (1988) ‘Recognition versus Recall as Measures of Television Commercial Third International Roundtable. (2007) Monitoring and Evaluation: Enhancing Development Results. Vietnam. [Online] [Accessed on 2nd April 2012] http://www. mfdr. org/rt3/Glance/Documents/E&M_final. pdf Yeshin, T. (2004) Advertising. Thompson London
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