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Reaching Your Audience:
Matching Media Channels to Target Audience

Projected Results

       The research team anticipates that the market segmentation typology developed in phase one will produce more effective communication from public affairs practitioners and reduce the time and effort they must devote to analyzing their audiences. The segmentation typology and media channel selection tools based on Mortonís (1998a, 1998b) market segmentation process will enable public affairs officers to help their commanders better understand the differing needs of their various audiences.
       The literature review supports the assertion that segmentation is a powerful means of reaching specific audiences with specific products or messages about those products (Richardson, 1969; Maloney, 1969). It follows that market segmentation theory could be a powerful tool in the hands of an able public affairs practitioner. Unfortunately, the average public affairs practitioner lacks the time, means and authority to conduct the type of market research necessary to fully analyze a commandís publics.
       Based on literature and experience, it is reasonable that public affairs practitioners could use an existing, generalizable audience typology to match channels to the various audiences they serve. It is also reasonable that they would benefit by knowing where to obtain additional information about local publics.
       In a world of limited resources, the application of market segmentation theory to the communications process makes sense. A matrix formulated by Morton (1998b) provides the framework for developing the audience-media channel typology. The application of communication theory and media use research to add a column on media channels preferred by defined segments follows naturally. Including Scott and OíHairís (1989) model, which portrays the interplay of demographics, psychographics and emotions in audience receptivity and behavior as a point of departure, provides additional understanding about the relationship between these elements in studying publics. The researchers provide additional matrices to assist public affairs practitioners in locating more information about their audiences and help them develop their own assumptions about the publics they are targeting.
       Phase two of the research effort will demonstrate the effectiveness of the material developed during phase one. The research team anticipates finding a significant difference between pretest and post-test data which will demonstrate that the segmentation typology and additional tools developed provide substantial assistance to public affairs practitioners and enable them to become more proficient in communicating with their publics by consistently selecting the most appropriate media channels to reach them.