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DAGMAR and other Models

The DAGMAR approach of advertising was devised by Mr Russell Colley who was much appreciated for his work, as till date, DAGMAR is a concept used in advertising to set advertising objectives and goals. DAGMAR is an abbreviation for “Defining advertising goals to measure advertising results”.

Instead of giving a complicated explanation, I will give a simple one. Russell colley observed that although people were investing in advertising, they had to invest a lot of time in other marketing activities to get the ROI of advertising. This is because the ROI from advertising was unknown.

Hence, Russell suggested 2 main ways that maximum ROI could be achieved with the usage of Advertising alone. Hence, a company which was thinking of 10 different ways to market its products, could check the ROI from advertising, when it wanted to study how effective it’s advertising was.

The 2 core things on which the DAGMAR Model stood were

  1. Creation of a communication task to achieve goals
  2. Defining the objective of the communication tasks in a manner that the results can be measured.

(A) The communication tasks involved in the DAGMAR approach

A marketing task is a combination of an advertising activity, a branding activity and possibly a customer service activity. The work of marketing is holistic and hence it has to look at the whole organization. The work of Advertising is more individualistic and hence the organization is not considered.

To measure that a task assigned to advertising, is later on measured only in advertising terms, Russell colley designed the communication tasks. Creating a communication task, which involves communications between the company and the consumer, was solely the responsibility of the Advertising department.

The goal of the communication tasks in DAGMAR was as follows

  1. Awareness –Communication tasks involved making the consumer aware of the brand or the product.
  2. Comprehension –These tasks also helped the consumer in understanding the attributes and the features of the product and what the product will do for the consumer.
  3. Conviction –The communication task convinced the customer that this product was meant for them
  4. Action –Ultimately, after conviction, the customer was to be enticed to take action.

You will notice how the above ACCA model is similar to the AIDAS model of sales. This is because AIDAS is used to measure the effectiveness of sales technique. Similarly the ACCA model is used to understand the effectiveness of advertising and the communication task that advertising carried out.

However, in the DAGMAR model, the issue does not end at just creating the communication task. Because creating this task is very difficult if the objectives of advertising are not known. If you don’t know WHY you are communicating to the customer, then how will you communicate? Thus, DAGMAR then also involved defining the Objectives for communications.

(B) Defining objectives in the DAGMAR approach

The second most important task of DAGMAR was defining the objectives of advertising or of the communication tasks which were to be created. Once you defined the objectives, then the measuring of advertising results was comparatively easier.

With this move, Russell colley also gave more responsibilities to the advertising department. Not only were they responsible for the ads made, they were also responsible for how well they understood the objective of advertising, and how they incorporated these objectives in their communication tasks.

In this modern age, we know that advertising is used for introducing a product, building brand eqtuiy, for sales promotions or for plain old brand recall. However, all these are the objectives of advertising and form the 2nd part of DAGMAR.

The objectives of advertising in DAGMAR (which are used to create communication tasks) are as follows

  1. Concrete and measurable tasks –The tasks need to be a precise statement of what the advertiser wants to achieve through the communication. Does he want to strengthen the brand image, maximise the brand presence, penetrate new markets or increase overall sales?
  2. Define the target audience – Before the communication task commences, the target audience needs to be defined as precisely as possible. Are you targeting youngsters, adults, elderly? Any of the various forms of segmentation can be used to define the target audience.
  3. Degree of change sought –What level of perception, attitude or awareness of the customer do you want to change? If a customer is aware of the product, do you want his negative attitude to change to positive? Or if the market is completely unaware, do you want the whole market to be aware or only partially the target group itself? These degrees of change which are going to be the objective of the communication task need to be defined in advance.
  4. Time period –To achieve the objectives of the communication tasks, how much time are you ready to allot. If you think that in a month, the product can create awareness in the complete market, then you are very wrong. That’s why major advertisers try to introduce the product for 3 months, and then communicate the features and benefits in the next 3 months so that the brand recall is high and the brand acceptance is high as well. A defined time period gives better measurability.

So as you could see from above, the DAGMAR approach involved defining the objective of a communication task, and then creating communication tasks which were themselves measurable.

The DAGMAR approach is used by many promotional planners to set plans of advertising and marketing. This approach is also used to set advertising objectives and to measured the results against the plan. Russell coley’s work has led to the improvement of the advertising world, because these communication tasks were not only sales driven, they achieved various goals of the organization only through Advertising.

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