How to Determine your Marketing Communications Objectives

marketing communication mix model 1016x1024 How to Determine your Marketing Communications Objectives


Before you choose how you’re going to talk to your market and after you position your product and company, take a step back and determine your objectives for developing it in the first place:

Convey information?

Sell a product or service?

Share ideas?

Educate others?

Announce news?

Every marketing communication strategy, be it, traditional mass –one to many, e-mail based- one to one, or internet web based-many to many; no matter which method you use, its main objectives are, to Inform, Persuade and Remind.

Communications objectives can be set at any level of the hierarchy-of-effects model. Rossiter and Percy (1985) identify four possible objectives, as follows:

1. Category NeedEstablishing a product or service category as necessary to remove or satisfy a perceived discrepancy between a current motivational state and a desired emotional state. A new-to-the-world product such as electric cars would always begin with a communications objective of establishing category need.

2. Brand Awareness -Ability to identify (recognize or recall) the brand within the category, in sufficient detail to make a purchase. Recognition is easier to achieve than recall— consumers are more likely to recognize Stouffer’s distinctive orange packages than recall the brand if asked to think of a brand of frozen entrees. Brand recall is important outside the store; brand recognition is important inside the store. Brand awareness provides a foundation for brand equity.

3. Brand AttitudeEvaluation of the brand with respect to its perceived ability to meet a currently relevant need. Relevant brand needs may be negatively oriented (problem removal, problem avoidance, incomplete satisfaction, normal depletion) or positively oriented (sensory gratification, intellectual stimulation, or social approval). Household cleaning products often use problem-solution; food products, on the other hand, often use sensory-oriented ads emphasizing appetite appeal.

4. Brand Purchase Intention - Self-instructions to purchase the brand or to take purchase-related action. Promotional offers in the form of coupons or two-for-one deals encourage consumers to make a mental commitment to buy a product. But many consumers do not have an expressed category need and may not be in the market when exposed to an ad, making intentions less likely to be formed. For example, in any given week, only about 20 percent of adults may be planning to buy detergent; only 2 percent may be planning to buy a carpet cleaner; and only 0.25 percent may be planning to buy a car.

The most effective communications often can achieve multiple objectives. For example, Geico advertises that a 15-minute phone call can result in a 15 percent reduction on auto insurance, combining both brand attitude and a call to action to build brand purchase intentions.

Remember — don’t just issue a communications piece just for the sake of doing it. Otherwise, you’ll generate no interest!



Rossiter, J.R.; Percy, L. (1987).  Advertising and promotion management. McGraw-Hill, New York, N.Y.

Rossiter, J.R.; Percy, L. (1997).  Advertising, communications and promotion management. McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, N.Y.

Rossiter, J.R.; Bellman, S. (2005).  Marketing communications: theory and applications. Pearson Education, Frenchs Forest, Australia.

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