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The Impact of Target-Group-Specific Metaphorical Headlines on a Direct Mail’s Advertising Effect: An Exploratory Mixed Methods Approach.

Gortz, D. (2011) The Impact of Target-Group-Specific Metaphorical Headlines on a Direct Mail’s Advertising Effect: An Exploratory Mixed Methods Approach. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

Purpose of the Study This study’s purpose is to analyse the influence of a metaphor’s persuasive effects on a direct mail’s advertising effect - and by doing to so close a research gap, as until now research concerning the effects of metaphors used in promotional communication has been restricted to print advertising. State of Knowledge Even though theory suggests manifold effects of metaphors on recipients, the research conducted so far in this field of interest shows inconsistent results: although metaphors seem to be able to affect e. g. a recipient’s attention, attitude or behavioural intentions, the use of metaphors is by no means a warrantor for persuasive effects. The Approach of Tarqet-qroup-specificity On closer examination of the subject’s extant knowledge, the underlying research identified certain moderating variables that can be suggested to influence a metaphor’s effects on recipients. As most of the moderators can be assumed to be dependent on the underlying target group, the approach of target-group-specificity has come into existence - suggesting, that the findings’ inconsistencies result from the tested metaphors’ different levels of target-group-specificity. Furthermore, the approach of target-group-specificity has been expanded from the issue of metaphor to the test scenario as a whole: to test the advertising effect of a metaphor does not only imply to account for a metaphor’s moderators to become more relevant for the target group but also to embed this target-group-specific metaphor in a target-group-specific promotional communication, which is then evaluated by the underlying target group. Course of Action and Findings 1st stage: Qualitative Development of the target-group-specific Elements Firstly, the needed information to develop the target-group-specific metaphor, the product as well the mailing has been worked out within a qualitative focus group consisting of target group members. Furthermore, a qualitative approach was designed to develop metaphors with different levels of target-group-specificity. Here, a non-, a less- and a target-group-specific metaphor as well as a target-group-specific literal equivalent were defined. 2nd stage: Quantitative Testing of the variably specific Metaphors Secondly, three headlines consisting of the three qualitatively developed metaphors were quantitatively evaluated by the target group. The recipients rated the different headlines’ aptness to promote the product developed within the focus group and decided in favour of the target-group-specific metaphorical headline - with the less-and non-significant versions taking the second and third place. 3rd stage: Quantitative Testing of Mailings containing different Metaphors Thirdly, the three tested headlines as well as a fourth target-group-specific literal headline were included into a target-group-specific mailing. The target group evaluated the four different mailings concerning their advertising effect. Given this, the mailing containing the target-group-specific metaphorical headline took the leading position. However, the comparison of the other three mailings did not indicate any significant differences. Implications Hence, the research question can be answered in the affirmative: there is a difference between direct mails that use target-group-specific metaphorical headlines and those that use none concerning their advertising effect - as target-group-specific metaphorical headlines seem to increase a direct mail’s advertising effect compared to less specific metaphorical as well as target-group-specific literal headlines. However, next to the fact that this thesis closed a research gap by expanding metaphor research to the field of direct marketing, it becomes apparent that it also opens up a new research field by inventing the thesis’ fundamental basis: the approach of target-group-specificity. It is this approach, i. e. , the need for target-group-specific metaphors applied to target-group-specific products within media designed in a target-group-specific way and tested by the target group, that might act as a starting point to analyse the previous findings’ inconsistencies. However, it is also this approach that questions most of the research’s findings so far - as e. g. the lack of background information to evaluate certain findings makes it mandatory to handle such research with care. So this thesis should be seen as an initial point - coupled with the call for a consideration of target-group-specificity within future research projects.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Gortz, D.
Date : 2011
Additional Information : Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 2011.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 24 Apr 2020 15:26
Last Modified : 24 Apr 2020 15:27
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/855375

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