Building a better starter kit of planning knowledge from campaign effectiveness research

In the last few years much more information on the sales effectiveness of print advertising has been published than has previously been available. This has been partly due to the initiatives of publishers in setting up case histories, and partly to the development of new research tools using scanners on bar codes and the explosion in the availability of low cost computer power.

These developments have been good for publishers, because the single most important conclusion to be drawn from all the new information is that generally speaking the print medium is undervalued and underused, to a significant extent.

Though this is most satisfactory, the paper will argue that even so, the current wave of research has two major weaknesses. In the first place, the multibrand studies which constitute a most important part of the work, systematically undervalue the full potential of print. Secondly, none of the studies make much of a contribution to the task of building a better starter kit of knowledge to help improve campaign planning decisions. Examples of planning unknowns are given, and an outline research project which would make it possible to achieve progress, on an international front, is presented.

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