Building advertising programmes: Determination of Target audience, Message decisions: Content, Structure, Source and Format

Types of target audience

There is a lot of attributes that can be used in finding the right audience. As we mention age, income, education, gender are just a few examples. On the basis of IAB taxonomy, we can sort all the attributes in three large categories, which are listed below:


Socio-economic data that describe a user. This group includes attributes, such as age, income, education, gender or geographic location. Using demographic data you can target your campaign for example at young people (eg. age 18-24), both female and male from towns with a population larger than 20,000.


This is data about users’ hobbies, passions, things that they are looking for and read about. It can be, e.g. books, movies, music, cars, marketing, parenting or dance. By knowing your customers’ passions you gain powerful knowledge because you know how to engage your clients, what product will be interesting for them. For example, you can offer a new book for book lovers or new album of their favorite music group.

Purchase intentions

Data that can be crucial especially for e-commerce. Audiences are divided into groups of users who recently looked for a specific product, e.g. laptop, refrigerator or car and did not look for it previously. It means that they want to buy a new thing, but first need to gain more knowledge about the demanded product. Examples of audience types in this groups are Women’s clothing, Skiing, Televisions, Tablets or Vehicles.

For targeting purposes, marketers can use just one type of audience attributes (e.g. demography) or mix all of them to create a detailed target group and reach out to them precisely. In other words, marketers can reach out to groups of users: age 35-42, interested in cars, who are going to buy a new vehicle.

Those three categories are just examples of types of audiences. By using technological platforms for managing users’ data, marketers can also create new types, built for a specific campaign or for an upcoming event. It gives the ability to create small, often niche groups and send them an accurate message they expect.

Determination of Target audience

  1. Review the products and services you have available. Consider the features and benefits to a consumer who uses your products so you are able to narrow down exactly who would benefit from them. For example, a residential cleaning service benefits customers by saving them time; thus the target audience may be busy professionals or moms who need more time to balance home and family responsibilities.
  2. Evaluate your own skills and areas of expertise to help choose a target audience. For example, a caterer with experience in large corporate events may choose to target that section of the market.
  3. Analyze your current customer files to determine who already utilizes your products or services. Look for similarities among your customers in terms of factors such as age, gender, income, education, job and ethnicity. Use this information to narrow down your target audience.
  4. Research to whom your competitors are marketing in their advertising. Look at the type of people who utilize those services and to which groups the marketing materials may appeal. Identify ways to look for slightly different target customers to attract a different segment of the market. For example, if another tutoring service markets toward families with young children who need help with math and reading, tailor your service to help high school students and those preparing to take standardized college entrance exams.
  5. Write a basic profile of the type of customers you want to target using your research. Determine the lifestyle, values, background, occupations, age and location of your ideal customers. If you offer different types of services or products, determine if a second or third target audience is a possibility for those specific items.
  6. Evaluate your target audience periodically to determine if your products or services are still best focused on that type of people. As you add new products or services, determine if you need to develop a new profile for that core audience.

Building advertising programmes

Step 1: To Set Advertising Objectives:

An advertising objective is a specific communication task to be achieved with a specific target audience during a specified period of time.

Advertising objectives can be divided into three main categories:

(a) To Inform:

Informative advertising aims to create awareness and knowledge of new products or new features of existing products, e.g. tell customers about a new product policies, promotional schemes, availability of products etc.

(b) To Persuade:

Persuasive advertising aims to create liking, preference, conviction, and purchase of a product or service. Some persuasive advertising uses comparative advertising, which makes a clear comparison of the attributes of two or more brands. E.g. encourage customers to switch to a different brand.

(c) To Remind:

Reminder advertising aims to stimulate repeat purchase of products and services.

Secondary Objectives of Advertising:

(i) Stimulate an increase in sales

(ii) Remind customers of the existence of a product

(iii) Inform customers

(iv) Build a brand image

(v) Build customer loyalty and relationship

(vi) Change customer attitudes

Step 2: Decision on the Advertising Budget:

It is the estimation of expenditure on various components of advertising. It should match with the objectives of a business firm. The amount spent on advertising should be relevant to the potential sales impact of the campaign. Advertising budgets is finalized by marketing manager and media agency.

Factors to be considered while setting the advertising budget:

(i) Stage in the Product Life Cycle:

New products typically receive large advertising budgets to build awareness and to gain consumer trial. Advertising budget for a new product may be different from a product in maturity stage, new products tend to need a larger advertising budget to help build awareness and to encourage consumers to trial the product. Established brands usually are supported with lower advertising budgets as a ratio to sales.

(ii) Market Share and Consumer Base:

High market share brands usually require less advertising expenditure as a percentage of sales to maintain share, it is due to popularity and awareness of customer about brand. It is less expensive to reach consumers of a widely used brand than to reach consumers of low-share brands. If a new company wants to increase its market share it will need high investments on advertising campaign.

(iii) Competition in Market:

Advertisement budget depends on level of competition in market competition can be seen more in the field of automobile, electronic appliances, telecommunication, banking etc. products which are having close substitutes in market needs more expenditure on advertising. In a market with a large number of competitors and high advertising spending, a brand must advertise more heavily to be heard.

(iv) Advertising Frequency:

The number of repetitions needed to put across the brand’s message to consumers has an important impact on the advertising budget. Higher the frequency higher would be budget.

(v) Product Substitutability:

Brands in a commodity class require heavy advertising to establish a differential image. Advertising is also important when a brand can offer unique physical benefits or features.

Stage 3: Determine the Key Advertising Messages and Deciding the Copy:

Research suggests that the clarity of the advertising message is often more important than the amount spent. The advertising message must be carefully targeted to impact the target customer audience.

A successful advertising message should have the following characteristics:

  1. Meaningful:

Customers should find the message relevant, easy to understand.

  1. Distinctive:

Capture the customer’s attention.

  1. Believable:

A difficult task, since research suggests most consumers doubt the truth of advertising in general.

Message evaluation and selection of a good advertisement normally focuses on one core selling proposition, messages should be rated on desirability, exclusiveness, and believability. Message execution can be decisive for highly similar products, such as detergents, cigarettes, coffee, and soft drinks. Advertising does not overstep social and legal norms.

Copy writing is the next step of advertisement programme it is a specialized form of communicating ideas that are meant to serve the requirements of modern marketing. It helps in establishing link between advertising and their prospects. It may also use to promote the acceptance of idea and utilized words to convey message having commercial information.

The term copy includes every single feature that appear in the body of advertisement, copy is an all-embracing term covering all that appears in an advertisement the written matter, pictures, labels and design. Developing copy is a creative process copy development is mostly done by professional advertising agencies.

Stage 4: Decide which Advertising Media to Use:

There are a variety of advertising media from which to choose. A campaign may use one or more of the media alternatives.

The key factors in choosing the right media include:

(a) Reach:

It is the number of different persons or households exposed to a particular media schedule at least once during a specified time period.

(b) Frequency:

Frequency is the number of times within the specified time period that an average person or household is exposed to the message.

(c) Media Impact:

Impact is the qualitative value of an exposure through a given medium where, if the target customer sees the message – will it have most impact? For example, does an advert promoting holidays for elderly people have more impact on Television if so, when and which channels or in a national newspaper or perhaps a-magazine focused on this segment of the population.

Another key decision in relation to advertising media relates to the timing of the campaign. Some products are particularly suited to seasonal campaigns on television like advertisements of durables on Diwali whereas for other products, a regular advertising campaign throughout the year in media such as newspapers and television.

Stage 5: Evaluation of the Advertising Campaign:

Success of advertising depends on planning and control of advertising campaign it should be evaluated by the advertisers. Most measurement of advertising effectiveness deals with specific advertisement and campaigns. A proposed campaign should be tested in one or a few cities first and its impact evaluated before rolling it out nationally.

Most advertisers try to measure the communication effect of an advertisement that is, its potential effect on awareness, knowledge, or preference. They would also like to measure the advertisement sales effect.

The evaluation of an advertising campaign should focus on two key areas:

  1. The Communication Effects is the intended message being communicated effectively and to the intended audience?
  2. The Sales Effects has the campaign generated the intended sales growth. This second area is much more difficult to measure.

Bases for the measurement of advertisement success:

(i) Number of enquiries from advertisement

(ii) Number of enquiries converted into sales

(iii) Test customer awareness both before and after the advertising campaign

(iv) Number of enquiries

(v) Test customer awareness

(vi) Number of requests for further information

(vii) Test customer awareness of brand recognition and perceived values

(viii) Levels of repeat purchase

(ix) Levels of customer retention

(x) Measure demographic profile of purchases

(xi) Measure type of goods ordered by new purchasers

(xii) Increase in sales by comparing with previous data.

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