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    ASSESSING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF MARKETING PROGRAMS (sample prepared by capstone writers)


    Marketing management is an important and integral part of the managerial process, which involves not only short-term and long-term decision making under uncertainty and imperfect information, but also the control and monitoring of managerial plans and processed. Marketing research is employed whenever there is a need to assess a set of crucial market parameters, such as consumer preferences (as well as shifts in the consumption patterns over time), optimal marketing strategies as applied to the locus chosen, and the need for value differentiation and augmentation to name but a few. However, it is routine to think of marketing research as applying to new projects or at any rate as aimed at eking out the crucial pieces of information to be incorporated in the marketing decision making concerning the existing products. However, in our case the analysis will be ex post, in that we will attempt to assess the effectiveness of the existing marketing programs, given the level of information we have rather than seeking to obtain more information. This objective is rather specific, provided that it is possible to clearly define the performance benchmarks ex ante, and it most closely approaches the monitoring function of the managerial process.

    Background & Methodology.

    We will now focus on a specific dimension or marketing program our organization has implemented. Suppose we market a product exhibiting a smooth pattern of demand, not subject to any major cyclicality or seasonality. One reason we adopt this assumption is to simplify our analysis in terms of the scarcity of data: we are interested in being able to measure the effect of our programs throughout the year, without any lags and possibly mixed effects. Of course, we could in principle control for any such seasonalities and component effects; however, the unnecessary complexity would alter the nature of the challenge we face, by shifting our focus away from effectiveness per se and into its observability.

    Suppose, therefore, we have been marketing a brand of cereals, and we ran an advertising campaign recently aimed at re-establishing a well-defined image of our product with which the target audiences would identify. To reiterate, the campaign has been run for a while now, and we are not planning on obtaining any new information not immediately relevant to assessing the effectiveness of this specific campaign.

    We need to dwell somewhat on the distinct features of ad campaigns as opposed to individual advertisements. An ad campaign can be viewed as a series of advertisements that are aimed at conveying a very clear, effective, and favorable message to the targeted audiences so as to shape a positive perception of the product (Kotler 1999: 322). Advertising on general is intended to build a long-term effect, thus contributing to the product's reputation and the company's 'goodwill.' Unlike the inherently short-run promotional tools, such as price discounts, sales and giveaways, advertising may have little to do with very quick response and immediate effect on revenues, liquidity, and interim profits. Therefore, these cannot ex ante enter the set of performance benchmarks against which to judge the effectiveness of our campaign in the short run (say, over a period of several weeks or even months). However, advertising really is aimed at shaping the demand elasticity, market power, and thus the longer-term (sustainable) profitability. Consequently, we would have to make sure we would be able to generate adequate, multiperiod data samples for longitudinal studies, before attempting research seeking to capture these effects (Breen 1998: 78-86).

    However, advertising campaigns are supposed to be an even more powerful reputation and profitability building tool than any single ad could possibly be, of course if properly done. How properly ours has been run will be investigated. Ad campaigns can convey a clearer and more persuasive message, because several messages supposedly interact synergistically so as to communicate a complete big picture. These messages may or may not be standalone pieces of information, yet it is unlikely that a budget-constrained marketing department will miss an opportunity to secure the most complementarity by making these individual messages partial facets of the same object. An individual advertisement, in contrast, would inevitably be over-saturated in terms of information content, in that it must capture every crucial or for that matter relevant point ...



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