A 30-second commercial on network television, or a 60-minute infomercial? A sponsored post on Facebook, or a sponsored spot on Hulu? Pop-up ad on Google, or email blast? Magazine spread, promotional card in a physician’s office, or direct mail flier? These options represent only a small handful of the range of media that are available to today’s marketers. Depending upon the product or service, the client’s budget, and the target audience, the laundry list of potential advertising media may be quite a long one! Preeminent twentieth century media theorist Marshall McLuhan famously opined that “the medium is the message”. Stated plainly: The specific medium itself – the means through which a message is conveyed – plays a key role in shaping the way we think. McLuhan’s work, a fixture in 1960s media discourse, has resurfaced with the expansion of the Internet Age and the proliferation of new messaging media.
Before the specific marketing message is determined, it’s necessary for the client to first decide what the theme of the marketing effort will be. For example, the messaging theme of a marketing campaign for a non-prescription cough medicine might be that the drug is extremely effective at suppressing coughs, or it might be the fact that one dose lasts for 12 hours, with no sedation; the theme of a marketing campaign for a luxury car might be its well-appointed interior, its surprisingly-high mileage, or the fact that it offers a smooth, quiet ride.
Each potential messaging theme being considered by the client should be tested amongst members of the client’s target audience by the market research team; a theme that the client believes will be a surefire “win” within its target audience is often not the theme that winds up being the one that is most strongly preferred by the target audience, most memorable, or most effective.Ideally, proposed content of a marketing campaign should not be evaluated by the target audience until after the client has evaluated several potential themes through a market research effort and selected the theme of the marketing initiative based on the research results. However, in reality clients often definitively know from the “get-go” that they wish to focus on a particular theme in their marketing efforts. While confirmatory research pertaining to the selected theme may be conducted in this instance, it’s likely that the target audience will be asked to evaluate only the theme that the client has already selected, rather than being asked to review several different themes.
The two remaining components of promotional messaging – message content and target audience - is discussed in our next blog post.
Read more about how Nebu can assist in managing email content in our white paper.