Measuring Advertising Effectiveness

By William D. Wells | Go to book overview

2
Research and the Meaning of Advertising Effectiveness: Mutual Misunderstandings

William A. Cook Advertising Research Foundation

Arthur J. Kover Fordham University

Any discussion of advertising research and measurement of advertising effectiveness needs to consider advertising research as a marketing problem. If marketing is defined as the art of meeting consumers' needs, advertising effectiveness must be defined in relation to the needs of advertisers. We contend that these needs are quite diverse; we believe that these differing needs reflect important differences in definition among academic and practitioner researchers.

Such a relativistic approach may worry some readers. They may say, "What about scientific objectivity?" We say that we are examining a language phenomenon. Scientific objectivity is but an example of one language and does not represent the single standard of excellence. From our relativistic position, we attempt to articulate how this state of confusion about advertising effectiveness has evolved. We also propose some means to move beyond the present deadlock in which we talk amongst ourselves but the words have different meanings.

Four groups of people have different needs for something called advertising effectiveness: (a) advertising agency researchers, (b) syndicated advertising research services, (c) marketing managers (who nominally use the research), and (d) academicians.

Each has different sets of needs and activities, different reward systems, and different definitions of advertising effectiveness and the means to measure effectiveness. These differences do not grow smaller; they are enduring and even growing.

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