Media Channels to Target Audience
purpose of phase one was to develop materials for public affairs practitioners
to use in effectively defining audiences and selecting appropriate media
channels to reach those audience segments. To address RQ1 a matrix was
developed utilizing the typology of Morton (1998a, 1998b).
this phase researchers developed an audience segment typology utilizing
Morton’s (1998a, 1998b) market segmentation research (see Appendix B, Figures
1 and 2). A column was added to reflect the media consumption habits of
those various audience segments. The acceptance of market segmentation
among marketing and advertising professionals is well documented and its
utility is well supported by research; thus there was no need to develop
a unique typology for the public affairs practitioners’ tools (Boote, 1981).
Several existing resources offer statistical snapshots of who reads, listens
to, or views what media. Constantly evolving media markets require use
of the latest available data to develop audience profiles.
many sources of demographic information are readily available, generalizations
about market segments based upon national survey data may not reflect anomalous
characteristics of local populations. Thus, additional matrices were developed
to aid public affairs practitioners in obtaining information about local
publics (Appendix B, Figure 3). Local law enforcement agencies, emergency
preparedness organizations, and government agencies may have very precise
demographic information for their areas of responsibility.
psychographic information requires more research than demographic information,
there are several resources that may give public affairs practitioners
an idea of the mindset of their prospective audience members. A matrix
was developed for this purpose (Appendix B, Figure 4). Research in the
field of persuasion demonstrates that audience emotion can also be very
important. Information from various sources is compiled for the public
affairs practitioner in tabular form to aid in identifying some of the
emotions Scott and O’Hair (1989) have identified as affecting audiences
(Appendix B, Figure 5).
purpose of phase two was to address RQ2 by developing an evaluation of
the effectiveness of the matrices developed during phase one. The researchers
propose use of a pretest-post-test design to assess the usefulness of the
segmentation typology proposed in phase one. Voluntary participation will
be sought from the entire field of Department of Defense public affairs
directors, deputies and chiefs from all services through an electronic
survey posted to Department of Defense and service public affairs community
websites. Most military public affairs officers have regular access to
the internet and the convenience of electronic administration increases
the probability of participation. Assistance from the directors of public
affairs for the services will be sought to encourage participation among
their respective services.
independent variable in this effort is the use or degree of use of the
matrices by public affairs practitioners in targeting specific audiences.
The dependent variable is the degree to which participating public affairs
practitioners believe that the typology assisted them in communicating
with their publics. Self-reported levels of satisfaction are operationalized
using Likert scales and variate analysis to ascertain if there was any
increased satisfaction, and if so to what extent.
instrument will assess respondents’ use of market segmentation and media
selection techniques prior to use of the tools developed during phase one.
As respondents return this instrument to the research team via electronic
mail, the research team will forward the matrices developed during phase
one for their use and evaluation. Respondents’ e-mail addresses will be
noted in order to send them a follow-up survey 90 days after receiving
the market segmentation information. Instruments to conduct the pretest
and post-test are at Appendix C.
Limitations and recommendations.
response from the entire universe of Department of Defense public affairs
practitioners is unlikely. In the interest of parsimonious design and limitations
of time and resources, the research team does not include a control group
in this study. If the survey generates a high enough number of returns,
the researchers can randomly reduce the number of surveys to be analyzed
and make the returns proportionate to the number of public affairs professionals
in each of the services. For example, the Army has more public affairs
personnel than the Marine Corps. If the number of Marine Corps respondents
is disproportionately high, the number can be randomly reduced to reflect
actual proportions of practicing Corps public affairs officers as compared
to the Army.
analysis of the data will indicate any change from the mean that results
from the use of the proposed typology. The research team will conduct statistical
analyses including a t test comparing data from administration of pretest
and post-test instruments. In addition to being analyzed in its totality,
data can be broken down by services. An inter-service disparity might indicate
a difference in public affairs methodology between the various branches.
If samples are numerically sufficient, they may be divided in other ways,
such as by geographic region or urban and rural locations.