Message Testing

The reading this week discussed message testing in order to determine effectiveness. The first reading looked at the impact of advertising on sugar sweetened beverage consumption in the city of Philadelphia. This campaign used what I traditionally held as my view of message testing, using consumer input to craft ads for television, radio etc. 

The second reading, observed consumer behavior on ecommerce sites in Canada and China. The study measured the impact of emotions on the perception of site atmospherics. According to the research, web designers “should use different techniques to increase visitors’ feelings of pleasure and likeability of the website for Canadian and feeling of control over the website for Chinese customers.”

I found this study particularly interesting because it seems to be more up to date with the needs of the ever changing media. Many websites need to be able to reach broad, sometimes international audiences, with different cultural influences. One website cannot serve the needs of everyone, even if they are in the same country. It is imperative to focus on your target audience, including their cultural influences.

Given the expense of message testing, would you consider using it for an international company?

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6 Responses to Message Testing

  1. alanyskpl says:

    I think it depends on how much excess expenses a company has. I think if there is enough spare money lying around, this type of testing can definitely benefit an international company. Each culture has their accepting factors and unaccepting factors and it could make or break a company if they use a slogan or ad that steps on cultural boundaries.

  2. naseemspeaks says:

    I think it’s crucial to test a message out. It’s a hefty investment that is worth it in my eyes. I think without it marketing organizations may not fully know whether their message is being received as they intend it. Of course, small companies may not have the budget but for big companies it should be a no brainer…however, I wonder what percentage of multinationals conduct message testing on their websites or media campaigns.

  3. I think an international company would be smart to, if not message test, hire a country’s ad firm to promote locally.

  4. I’m going to jump on the bandwagon here. If you are creating an international message, no matter how familiar you think you are with the market, message testing is vital. I would even go so far as to build that into an international marketing budget. I mean, Mexico is one of our closest neighbors and the Nova issue still happened.

  5. Amanda says:

    I would think message testing is necessary for international companies precisely because differences in language and culture make it too easy to be misunderstood or, worse, to offend. The second study beautifully illustrates that it’s more than an issue of language: different cultures value different things. They approach life in different ways. Just as companies in America need to meet their users where they are–if a company’s users are on Instagram, that company also needs to be on Instagram–international companies also need to meet their customers where they are. If their customers are in India, then the company needs to tailor their messages for Indian values and attitudes in order to be effective. They can’t just reuse the American advertising and messages and expect the same results.

  6. I think if you were going to spend money for message testing anywhere it would be internationally. As Americans we can figure it out with low costs but externally it’s a different story in that they’re usually a lot of differences in feelings of colors/words/images among different cultures.

    Once you start marketing over the boarder you’re marketing to a completely new audience and language. There’s a lot to learn.

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