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4 . Advertising Planning: Generative and Evaluative Approaches . Following the theory of core variables explained in Chapter 2 and the survey approaches presented in Chapter 3, this chapter reviews critical trends in behavioral beliefs and outcome evaluations that point to research strategies and methods to support planning and evaluation of advertising for military recruiting. As explained in Chapter 2, positive attitudes and intentions toward enlisting in the military are supported by perceptions that enlistment definitely leads to valued consequences or outcomes. Hence, it is useful to understand how the range of relevant outcomes and their associated behavioral beliefs relate to the decision to enlist in the military as a foundation for successful development and selection of advertising message strategies. A key fact for the planning of advertising in support of military recruiting is that "in the late l990s, the Services struggled to meet their recruiting goals and in some cases fell short" (National Research Council, 2003, p. 11. This period of difficulty in meeting recruiting Goals arose from ,, , . . . .. ~ ~ . ~ . .. . . . .. a combination of factors. A strong national economy during the lupus gave youth access to plentiful employment alternatives. At the same time, there was a dramatic increase in college enrollment and a continuing decline in youth interest in military service (National Research Council, 2003, p. 256 and 271~. However, in addition to the availability of civilian job opportunities and youth interests in higher education, the increasing difficulty in meeting recruiting goals in the late l990s can also be viewed in light of the direction of youth attitudes toward military service and corresponding trends in youth behavioral beliefs and outcome evaluations related to military service. 68

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ADVERTISING PLANNING YOUTH BELIEFS AS A BASE FOR ADVERTISING PLANNING 69 Overall youth attitudes toward enlistment have often been studied with structured survey questions designed to track year-to-year changes in the propensity to enlist. Figure 4-1 shows that propensity to enlist among high school males declined between the mid-1980s and 2001. The proportion saying "definitely will" enlist declined from 12 to 8 percent between 1980 and 2001. At the same time, the percent saying "probably will not" or "definitely will not" increased from about 40 to about 60 percent. Figure 4-2 shows a similar trend for women. The downward trend in the highest propensity group coupled with the accumulation of a very substantial segment in the most negative group (the group at the top of Figures 4-1 and 4-2) indicates the importance of discovering whether changes in youth perceptions of specific outcomes and belief expectancies 100- 90 - 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 - \ - _ O- 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 `~ `~ `~$~ Class Years | definitely will ---probably will probably won't | FIGURE 4-1 Trends in high school seniors' propensity to enter the military: males, 1976-2001. NOTE: The spaces between the lines show the percentages in each of the three propensity categories. SOURCE: Data from Monitoring the Future surveys.

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70 100 - 90 - 80 - 70 - <~5 60- c' 50- 40 - 30 - 20 - 10 - EVALUATING MILITARY ADVERTISING AND RECRUITING O- l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l LOOM Class Years definitely will ---probably will probably won't | FIGURE 4-2 Trends in high school seniors' propensity to enter the military: females, 1976-2001. NOTE: The spaces between the lines show the percentages in each of the three propensity categories. SOURCE: Data from Monitoring the Future surveys. offer potential explanations. Such findings could give rise to message strategies specifically addressed to the relevant outcomes and behavioral beliefs. The potential for specific youth outcome evaluations and behavioral beliefs to relate to the continuing decline in the propensity to enlist was shown in a Defense Manpower Data Center report contrasting year-to- year results from the Youth Attitude Tracking Studies (YATS) (Lehnus, Srokowski, and Daniels, 2000~. For example, between 1992 and 1999 the percentage of males ages 16 to 24 who evaluated the outcome of duty to country as "extremely important" or "very important" dropped from about 70 to about 57 percent (Lehnus et al., 2000, Figure 12A). During the same time period, the percentage of males ages 16 to 24 reporting the behavioral belief that duty to country could be more likely to be fulfilled

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ADVERTISING PLANNING 71 in the military also declined from about 43 to 28 percent, while the percent- age saying that this outcome could be better fulfilled in a civilian context increased from about 7 to 33 percent (Lehnus et al., 2000, Figure 12B). The 1992 to 1999 YATS surveys also showed a similar decline in the impor- tance of duty to country among women ages 16 to 24. Women were also more likely than men to associate the goal of duty to country with civilian rather than military work. The 1992 to 1999 time period was one of increasing economic prosper- ity, and corresponding changes in other behavioral beliefs concerning military versus civilian attribution are also informative. For example, for males the percentage saying that the outcome of working in teams is "extremely important" or "very important" increased consistently from about 71 to 77 percent. However, the behavioral belief that working in teams is an outcome to be realized in the military decreased from about 32 to 21 percent, while the civilian attribution increased from about 7 to 17 percent (Lehnus et al., 2000, Figures 10A and JOB). At the same time, military attribution of the outcome of preparation for a future career or job, a long-time positioning concept for military service, declined from about 20 to 13 percent for the military, while civilian attribution increased from about 17 to 28 percent (Lehnus et al., 2000, Figures 14A and 14B). Since 1999, youth interest in military service has taken shape in the context of major national and international events as well as a dramatic deterioration of economic conditions involving major business firms, entire industries, and the overall availability of employment opportunities in the economy. Possible effects of these changing circumstances can be examined by comparing the results from the 1999 YATS survey with the Department of Defense (DoD) Youth Polls conducted in 2001 and 2002.1 These are surveys of youth who have never served in the military and who were neither accepted for military service at the time of the survey interviews nor enrolled in postsecondary reserve officer's training corps programs. A comparison of the results for these surveys shows that the propen- sity to enlist increased immediately following the events of September 11, 2001, for youth ages 16 to 21. The DoD Youth Poll of October-November 1The sampling frame for the YATS annual surveys was youth in the 16 to 24 age range, while the more recent DoD Youth Polls for 2001 and 2002 have sampled youth in the 15 to 21 age group. In this chapter, to provide for comparability of the survey results, the reported comparisons of these three surveys are based on a reanalysis of the data for the three surveys using only those respondents in the 16 to 21 age range. A further consideration is that sampling strategy as well as the time the survey is administered may be a differentiat- ing factor. However, the consistency in response to the 24 attributes from one administra- tion to the next suggests that the sampling strategies are similar across the surveys.

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72 EVALUATING MILITARY ADVERTISING AND RECRUITING 2001 found 15.5 percent of youth ages 16 to 21 saying they would "defi- nitely" or "probably" be serving in the military in the next few years and 49.0 percent saying "definitely not." These results contrast with the 1999 YATS survey, which found 14.1 percent saying "definitely" or "probably" and 52.8 percent saying "definitely not." The 2001 DoD Youth Poll also included questions concerning a range of 24 job-attribute-related outcome expectancies linking service in the military (or in a civilian job) to these attributes. A similar grouping of questions had been included in the annual surveys of the former YATS research program. Only two of the beliefs about outcome evaluations examined in the 2001 DoD Youth Poll showed significant and indeed substantial changes for both men and women: "doing something for your country" and "working as part of a team." For men, the proportion saying that doing something for your country is "extremely important" or "very important" increased 10.7 percentage points, from 57.1 percent in the 1999 YATS survey to 67.8 percent in the 2001 DoD Youth Poll. For women, the same comparison increased 15.5 percentage points, from 53.6 to 69.1. At the same time, the proportion of men saying that working as part of a team is "extremely important" or "very important" dropped 15 percent- age points, from 75.6 percent in 1999 to 60.6 percent in 2001. For women, the same comparison dropped 16.4 percentage points, from 77.7 to 61.3 percent. Turning to behavioral beliefs about the extent to which the 24 out- comes are seen as associated primarily with work in the military, the 2001 Youth Poll revealed significant changes in youth perceptions since the 1999 YATS survey with respect only to beliefs about "doing something for your country." For men, the percentage saying that "doing something for your country" was more likely to be realized through military service (than civilian work) increased from 25.7 to 41 percent. For women, the same comparison increased from 19.4 to 39.7 percent. These dramatic changes with respect to reported youth beliefs con- cerning the importance of doing something for your country and working in teams reflect what youth ages 16 to 21 experienced and observed in the world around them during the years 2000 and 2001. What the future holds for these apparent changes in youth beliefs, and the possibility of changes with respect to other beliefs, will depend on the course of events. Clearly, the military action in Iraq during 2003 will be a significant factor in that regard. The most recent DoD Youth Poll (fielded in October- November 2002) found that responses to the standard question about the propensity to enlist had returned to the historical pattern established dur- ing the 1990s, with 14.6 percent of youth ages 16 to 21 saying they would "definitely" or "probably" be enlisting and 52.5 percent saying they will "definitely not" enlist (Sattar et al., 2002~. The 2002 DoD Youth Poll did

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ADVERTISING PLANNING 73 not also include questions concerning the 24 outcome evaluations and behavioral beliefs examined in 2001 and in the previous YATS surveys. The belief changes revealed by the 2001 DoD Youth Poll findings, coupled with continuing national and international events of great sig- nificance, point to the need for continuous monitoring of the propensity to enlist with survey questions that also examine a range of youth behav- ioral beliefs and outcome evaluations relating to the decision to enlist in the military. The two major changes with respect to the outcome evalua- tions (the increase in importance of doing things for the country and the decline in the importance of working in teams) suggest the need to spe- cifically examine the areas of duty to country and individualism as they relate to current youth interests. Indeed, as shown by the pre-l999 YATS surveys and the 2001 DoD Youth Poll, the direction of youth beliefs relat- ing to doing something for your country appears to be closely associated with the direction of the propensity to enlist. An understanding of the current status of such beliefs is essential to effective development and planning of advertising message strategies. The findings also indicate the need to examine such considerations as the overall level of advertising to support military recruiting, the additional audiences (such as youth influencers) for recruiting related advertising, and the range of message strategies employed in the advertising support for military recruiting. ADVERTISING PLANNING QUESTIONS The dollar value of overall military advertising expenditures and recruiting bonuses has increased at least threefold since 1990 (National Research Council, 2003, p. 221; Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense [Force Management Policy], 2000~. This recent and somewhat dramatic increase in military advertising expenditures was preceded by a period of substantial decline in the early 1990s, giving the recent increases the appearance of a recovery from an era of budget cutting. Figure 4-3 shows that advertising and recruiting bonuses declined by about 50 percent between 1990 and 1994.2 However, this apparent recovery in overall advertising support is compromised by a corresponding decline in the purchasing power of advertising media budgets. A recent report by the Rand Corporation has shown the purchasing power of the military advertising budget declined by about 60 percent between 1986 and 1997 (Dertouzos and Garber, 2003, 2This figure appears in the committee's Phase ~ report as Figure S-l, with the addition of the original line showing the total budget. Note that the line for Joint Services advertising shows a planned 2003 budget increase that was later cancelled.

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74 $1 80,000 - $1 60,000 - $1 40,000 - $1 20,000 - $100,000- in a $80,000- $60,000 - $40,000 - $20,000 - $o ,~9~ ,~9~ Alto ,~9Oo~ ,~9oO ,~9Oo~ ,.~9OOOo ,.~99~ ~99~ ~99~ ~99~ 99 EVALUATING MILITARY ADVERTISING AND RECRUITING / ,, / it// ~ / 1\ / I \\// r- .# I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I ' I I Fiscal Joint ~ Air Force Marine Corps | Navy ~ Army FIGURE 4-3 Enlisted advertising resources FY 1976-2003 in current dollars. SOURCE: U.S. Department of Defense, 2002. p. 7~. This finding suggests that budget increases since 1994 may have served only to compensate for the long-term decline in the purchasing power of the year-to-year budget for military advertising. Furthermore, it seems likely that the declining marketplace presence associated with the decline in purchasing power of the advertising budget would have been exacerbated by what was an almost 50 percent reduction in the overall advertising budget between 1990 and 1994.

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ADVERTISING PLANNING 75 Importantly, advertising budgets are only one aspect of the deploy- ment of advertising to support military recruiting. There are also critical decisions concerning the selection and definition of target audiences, the selection of the competitive frame (the choice context of competing options available to youth) underlying the advertising messages, and the specific strategic content of the advertising messages themselves. Indeed, in terms of sources of variance in advertising effectiveness in the marketplace, each of these considerations is just as important, and sometimes more important, than the amount allocated to purchase advertising space or time in the media. The remainder of this chapter follows the general sequence of activi- ties associated with the advertising planning process. The sequence begins with problem identification to support decisions concerning the competi- tive context, identification of the relevant audiences, development of a productive range of alternative message approaches from which to select the most promising approaches, and decisions concerning the amount of advertising. Accordingly, the remainder of this chapter is organized as follows: 1. The competitive frame and audiences for military advertising. 2. Examination of audience member beliefs and goals. 3. Development of message strategies for military recruitment. 4. Allocation of resources to advertising message strategies. 5. Conclusions. Youth Beliefs and Audience Definition The competitive frame for military advertising can be viewed on two levels. The first-level competitive frame involves youth in the comparison of three broad areas of choice following completion of high school: (1) to pursue higher education, (2) to seek civilian employment, or (3) to seek military employment. This information-gathering and choice process involves comparison of three substantially different directions, each of which may include a variety of possible options. The second-level com- petitive frame involves the selection of a specific Service, and it applies to youth whose behavioral beliefs and outcome evaluations support the pos- sibility of military service. This kind of more specific level of "brand choice" can involve already interested youth in the comparison or differ- entiation of the specific opportunities presented by essentially directly competing options from among the Services. Military advertising message strategies have generally focused on the second-level competitive frame (or brand choice) that assumes the exist- ence of some level of propensity to enlist. For example, the recent Army

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76 EVALUATING MILITARY ADVERTISING AND RECRUITING advertising claim that "there are 212 ways to be a soldier" differentiates the Army from the other Services in terms of the wide range of career or skill options available to youth, while the Marine Corps send their own differentiating attitudinal signal with their long-standing claim "The Few. The Proud. The Marines." However, the previously discussed trends shown by the YATS studies and the results of the recent DoD Youth Polls point to the value of focusing additional advertising message attention on the broad competitive frame in which youth view and contrast civilian employment, higher education, and military service. The fact that over half of the youth ages 16 to 21 say "definitely not" with respect to the possibility of military service, and that this percentage continues to grow, indicates the need to develop an appropriate informa- tion campaign for the purpose of market development as opposed to the brand selection approach typically employed in military advertising. That is, the continuing low levels of propensity and high levels of negative propensity indicate the importance of exploring the role for advertising message strategies focused on the broad competitive frame of how youth of enlistment age contrast the options of civilian employment, continuing higher education, and military service. Beliefs relating to "doing some- thing for your country" are particularly germane, and the recent increase in the outcome expectancy for this belief indicates that there is important potential for message strategies developed to specifically support youth beliefs in this area. In addition to the role of advertising directed to the youth population, it is also important to examine the role of interpersonal communication and the extent to which it supports youth interest in military service. The 2002 DoD Youth Poll found that 53 percent of youth ages 15 to 21 said that the majority of their impressions about the military were based on infor- mation from friends and acquaintances, and 33 percent reported that a family member was the source of the majority of such information. When asked about whether they were influenced by these sources, 37 percent of the youth said the source had a positive effect on their likelihood of join- ing the military, 53 reported no effect, and 9 percent said the effect was negative.3 These results help demonstrate the role played by interpersonal com- munication sources (such as family members, friends, teachers, and others) whereby youth receive information and social support. The sur- vey results suggest that the majority of these information sources are not 3Data analysis from October 2002, DoD Youth Polls of 2,000 youth ages 15 to 21 who have not enlisted and are not currently serving in the military tu.s. Department of Defense, 2002).

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ADVERTISING PLANNING 77 conveying a positive effect. This indicates there is a need to invest in information campaigns directed to audiences with whom youth commu- nicate and consult when considering military service. Although there has been some recent development and testing of such advertising, the long- term practice has been to concentrate on advertising by individual Services designed to influence youth selection of those branches. While this approach may continue to play a leading role in the budgeting of military advertising, significant supplemental and continuing resources may be required to influence other critical and influential audiences in order to successfully address the continuing decline in the propensity to enlist and related trends in related youth behavioral beliefs and outcome evaluations. The survey results from the former annual YATS surveys and the recent DoD Youth Polls have shown that significant recent events, such as on September 11, 2001, and recent war fighting actions can have impor- tant effects on youth beliefs and interest concerning service in the military. As previously discussed, youth interest in military service (as measured by the propensity to enlist) increased slightly and temporarily in 2001. A similar pattern in the propensity to enlist was observed during the time of the 1991 Persian Gulf war. Both the annual YATS survey program and the Monitoring the Future Survey showed the period of increased interest to be brief in the early l990s, followed by a return to the ongoing trend of declining interest. These observed long-term patterns in propensity, coupled with what appears to be the possibility of rapid changes in related underlying outcome evaluations and behavioral beliefs, point to the need for ongoing surveys in the fashion set forth in Chapter 3. These observa- tions also point to the possibility that these outcome evaluations are sub- ject to reinforcement by specifically developed message strategies that could be conveyed in advertising directed to the youth population. Behavioral Beliefs and Goals The previous section identified two possible problems in the environ- ment for military recruiting that might be successfully addressed by advertising. The first problem involves the downward trend in the pro- pensity to enlist observed prior to 2001 and the possibility that the trend is driven to a significant degree by changes in the importance to youth of certain goals or outcomes and the attribution of these beliefs to military service (behavioral beliefs). The second problem involves the need for more supportive interpersonal communication from such groups as peers, parents, and other parties. These groups communicate with potential applicants and have the capacity to influence youth decisions concerning the decision to enlist in the military.

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78 EVALUATING MILITARY ADVERTISING AND RECRUITING The range of behavioral outcomes examined in the former YATS sur- vey program and the more recent DoD 2001 Youth Poll is one that devel- oped in an ad hoc manner over a period of more than 20 years. There is a need for research to provide a more complete picture of the range of relevant beliefs held by the youth population. In particular, such research should include close examination of the entire range of beliefs relating to public service, duty to country, and the virtues associated with military service, such as personal sacrifice and concern for others. The perceived attractions of the possible outcomes or actions to be taken (such as enlist- ing in the military) are shaped by personal goals and value structures (Gutman, 1982~. It is therefore important to more completely understand the entire structure of youth beliefs associated with public service, duty to country, and other virtues associated with military service. It can also be helpful to study the current language or word choice used by youth as they think and speak about these issues. Incorporation of language used by the audience facilitates the productivity of both the research process and provides helpful information for effective design of messages directed the audience of interest (see McQuarrie and Mick, 1999~. The questionnaires used in the 1999 YATS survey program and the 2001 DoD Youth Poll provide useful starting points for further research concerning youth values and beliefs. In addition to the standard measures of propensity, the YATS survey included questions about the importance of 26 behavioral outcomes and their related behavioral beliefs concerning the likelihood of successful pursuit of the values in civilian or military contexts. The 2001 DoD Youth Poll included 24 items based on the YATS approach. Only one of the 26 items in the original YATS survey questionnaire examined the value of duty to country and the virtues associated with military service. Similarly, issues such as the importance of higher educa- tion and the importance of working in teams were examined by only one questionnaire item. For example, rather than pursuing the value of fur- ther education itself as a key outcome evaluation, the YATS questionnaire item focused only on the importance of obtaining money for education. Moreover, to manage the time burden of the surveys, the questionnaire items concerning outcome evaluations and their related behavioral beliefs were asked of randomly assigned subgroups of the total samples, thereby making it difficult to fully examine the relationships among the beliefs as well as their individual relationships with the measures of propensity to enlist. To better understand the potential directions for advertising strategy, it would be helpful to conduct studies that more completely examine the range of beliefs related to the decision to enlist, particularly those associ- ated with duty to country and youth interest in continuing with higher

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ADVERTISING PLANNING 79 education. This is particularly challenging in that both of these areas of cognitive structure (beliefs related to the decision to enlist) ultimately bear on the very different competing choices available to youth (civilian employment, continuing pursuit of higher education, or military service). Choice situations involving divergent alternatives or seemingly non- comparable alternatives (such as military service and higher education) can be better understood by developing a more complete picture of the conceptual structure (beliefs) applied by the audience (Iohnson, 1988~. The remainder of this section describes generative research approaches to reveal the belief concepts and language employed by youth and other research techniques that can be used to more completely describe and document conceptual structures for duty to country, interest in higher education, and related youth values relevant to the decision to enlist. One approach is to conduct in-depth interviews with a relatively small sample of participants from the target audience. Study participants can be asked to contrast choice alternatives in their own words and to explain their thinking with increasing levels of probing. For example, one such generative technique is to employ pairwise or triadic comparisons of alternatives asking individual study participants to describe their percep- tions of the similarities and differences of the alternatives presented to them. This approach is based on the repertory grid method, which orga- nizes the concepts and language used by study participants to describe similarities and differences among groupings of stimuli (Kelly, 1955~. The information provided by individual study participants can be contrasted and condensed as a way to identify the field of value or goal constructs used by study participants (Spiggle, 1994~. The values or goals may vary in specificity from higher levels (more abstract), such as personal comfort, adventure, and prestige to lower levels (more product or choice specific), such as opportunity to learn job skills, compensation potential, and per- ceived difficulty of tasks (Howard and Sheth, 1969~. In this case, the choices (or objects) for comparison involve civilian employment, higher education, and military service. Once identified in generative research, the concepts and language used by the study participants can be used to develop a questionnaire for use in a field study of a representative survey sample of audience mem- bers. Following the approach used in YATS and the 2001 DoD Youth Poll, ratings for importance (or outcome evaluations) and attribution (behav- ioral beliefs) could be obtained for the various values or outcomes. Beliefs could be measured concerning the likelihood of each value or outcome being delivered or provided by each of a selection of alternative choices, such as civilian employment, higher education, and military service. Con- ventional analytical techniques such as factor analysis could be used to examine relationships among the values or outcomes, thus depicting the

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80 EVALUATING MILITARY ADVERTISING AND RECRUITING belief structure of the youth audience as it relates to the choices. The extent to which the values relate singly and in combination to such vari- ables as propensity to enlist could also be examined. The results of studies of this kind, including the approaches detailed in Chapter 3, would provide a more comprehensive and reliable view of the belief context (both outcome evaluations and behavioral beliefs) for youth decision making about military enlistment and would provide a basis for the development of alternative message strategies to inform youth concerning the possibility of military service. The results of such studies could also be used in the development of a revitalized annual tracking survey of youth values and propensity in the fashion of the approaches described in Chapter 3. Message Strategies for Military Recruitment Message strategies comprise four elements that identify (1) the audi- ence of interest, (2) the desired response (such as switching one's brand choice or increasing the rate of use of a product category or specific brand), (3) the alternative actions or the competitive frame, and (4) the basic message argument (or promise) that may lead audience members to take the desired action (Overholser and Kline, 1975~. Message arguments are also referred to as concept statements or benefit statements. Such a statement is written as a condensation of the core benefit so that effective com- parisons can be made of the virtues of individual and specific alternative approaches to presenting and selling a product, service, idea, or orga- . . nlzahon. For example, the following message argument "The Army gives you more choices" is one that may lead potential applicants to view the Army in a more favorable light in contrast to civilian alternatives or the other Services. All four elements of a message strategy are implied in that example: (1) an audience of youth making career choices, (2) strengthening of interest in or preferences for the Army, (3) a broad comparison to civilian or military alternatives, and (4) the idea that the Army has a greater selection of jobs from which to choose. The plausibility of such a message argument might also be viewed from the perspective of the Army, an organization that has a wide range of job descriptions to fill. Another hypothetical message argument could be "The Army makes it easier to choose," which might speak to members of the youth audience with concerns about selection of a specific career direction. The role of such a statement is to provide a succinct promise that can guide the devel- opment of advertising messages. More effective advertising generally fol- lows from message arguments that set forth an identity between a product strength and specific audience member beliefs. Such message arguments

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ADVERTISING PLANNING 81 could apply to relevant youth outcome evaluations and behavioral beliefs and, at the same time, connect them directly to an appealing strength of military service. A variety of message arguments can be developed for any product, service, or organization. The most useful arguments are generally those that bear most directly on values or beliefs that are associated with audi- ence member decision making. Earlier in this chapter youth beliefs relat- ing to the importance of duty to country and the association of this belief with military service were shown to be related to the propensity to enlist. Beliefs about public service and duty to country could be connected to military service with a message argument to the effect that the military, or a specific Service, is comprised of people of widely different job interests who are learning and fulfilling a wide range of assignments. Simply stated, such a message argument would be that "Military service offers the widest range of ways to serve one's country," thereby directly con- necting a competitive advantage of the military (a wide range of work assignments providing opportunities for everyone) with a potentially important area of youth beliefs (duty to country). This is just one of many alternative message arguments that could connect the unique opportuni- ties of military service. Many alternative message strategies could be developed and evaluated for their potential to reinforce relevant youth beliefs in such areas as duty to country, public service, career preparation, pride and accomplishment, and self worth, among others. There are numerous approaches to testing the possible effectiveness of message strategies and message arguments. Moreover, it is important to adopt the policy of actively and continuously developing and evaluat- ing alternative approaches that directly challenge existing message strat- egies and message arguments. The development and testing of challenge strategies can be incorporated in the ongoing work of research suppliers and advertising agencies. Armed with this information, organizations are better prepared to update existing message strategies, to appropriately change message strategies to respond to the competitive context, or to utilize a productive combination of mutually supporting message strate- gies to better inform relevant audiences. To effectively select message strategies, communicators should develop a range of possible message strategies that are based on what is known about problems in the competitive context and an understanding of the relevant beliefs of the audience as they relate to youth choices in the competitive frame (or the available alternative actions, such as continuing in education, civilian employment, or military service). For military advertis- ing, the message strategies of greatest interest will be those bearing most directly on the propensity to enlist and supportiveness of the audiences of friends, family members, and other influential people.

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82 EVALUATING MILITARY ADVERTISING AND RECRUITING Message strategies for further consideration will be those that directly reflect what is known about the belief structure of the audience and the specific beliefs that are most relevant to propensity. The relationship between the belief structure and intentions to take the desired action (propensity to enlist in this case) provides important support for the selection of the message arguments with greatest potential. It is also helpful to adopt the policy or practice of regularly (or continu- ously) challenging the existing communication strategies by developing and testing viable alternative message strategies. The potential attractive- ness of alternative message arguments can be contrasted by presenting study participants (potential members of the intended audience) with simple written statements in what is called a "concept test" (Davis, 1997: Ch. 5~. Or prototype examples of advertising messages (known as "camps" of print advertising and "animatics" for television commercials) can be tested in laboratory settings or by means of test-marketing selected market areas or media. There are many approaches to testing prototype executions of pos- sible communication strategies (Davis, 1997: Ch. 22~. In-market tests can vary from small-scale use of print ads or television commercials to the use of selected market areas over extended periods to test message approaches and advertising budgeting levels. No single approach is ideal, and it is generally good practice to use multiple methods that effectively examine audience comprehension of the prototype advertising and the extent to which the advertising demonstrates the capacity to influence interest in military service. In an experimental design context, this kind of research approach performs the role of a treatment check. The results can demonstrate whether the message argument, in the form that it is produced and tested, has the capacity to deliver the desired message to the intended audience. In this connection, it would also be important to adopt a consistent mea- sure of propensity that reflects the approach most widely used in market surveys of propensity. Reliance on unstructured approaches based on group interviews with convenience samples (such as the commonly used focus group approach) is generally not an effective approach or method for purposes other than idea generation. Indeed, it is important that all research for advertising planning be placed in the context of a theory or model that focuses attention on the most relevant audience member beliefs in a valid and reliable manner. Such a theory was developed in Chapter 2 and is reflected in the analysis developed in this chapter.

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ADVERTISING PLANNING 83 Allocation of Resources to Advertising Message Strategies The allocation of resources to advertising, whether to an organiza- tion's overall advertising budget or to specific communication objectives, products, or brands, is among the most important and challenging realms of organizational decision making. Well-chosen communication strate- gies, when carried out with effective message execution and media selec- tion, can build information relationships with clients and organizational stakeholders that are necessary to year-to-year goal attainment. Although scientific methods are regularly applied in support of adver- tising decision making, the area nevertheless remains an inexact science (see Dertouzos and Garber, 2003, for a recent review relating to military advertising). Presumably, all communication managers would like to make optimal decisions about the allocation of resources to advertising; however, the complexity of variables involved leads to the selection of generally "better" decision alternatives rather than proven identification of the "best" alternatives.4 It is generally a year-to-year trial and adjust- ment process that includes a balancing of considerations of competitive communication activity, the direction of consumer interest, organization strategic objectives, and available resources. Historical perspectives on advertising spending, the availability of resources that might be allocated to advertising, and pragmatic judgment continue to play central roles in decision making about advertising budgets. In this connection, one widely regarded approach to improving adver- tising decision making is to promote specificity in stating goals for adver- tising. Specific goals can focus decision making about the deployment of advertising resources and lead to the design of evaluation approaches that are more likely to provide for the possibility of valid and reliable results. This approach has been codified in the classic and still widely employed approach known as the DAGMAR (defining advertising results for measured advertising results) model (Colley, 1961, 1963~. The premise of this model is that advertising is a communication process, and there- fore advertising should be assigned specifically stated communication goals and then evaluated according to measured attainment of those stated goals. With respect to the planning of military advertising, such goals can be stated in terms of desired effects on measurable variables, such as specifically targeted outcome evaluations and behavioral beliefs as well as the propensity to enlist. 4For reviews of the scientific status of advertising allocation decisions see Ramond t1974' and Mantrala <2002~.

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84 EVALUATING MILITARY ADVERTISING AND RECRUITING It follows from this approach that military advertising should be allo- cated on the basis of the year-to-year measured information needs of the youth population (and other relevant audiences) and that evaluation of advertising performance in terms of the extent to which these information needs were met, as demonstrated by significant changes in such factors as audience awareness, beliefs relating to the decision to enlist, and inten- tions such as the propensity to enlist. Reliance on traditional economic analysis, with recruiting contracts as the dependent variable, would not be seen as necessarily productive in this regard because the communica- tion effects of the advertising exposures would be embedded in a broad context subject to many other potential causes. In particular, the practice of keying the annual military advertising investment to year-to-year recruiting goal attainment, as measured by the number of enlistments, is to allow the process to be driven by such factors as the direction of the overall national economy, recruiter deployment decisions, and enlistment incentives and to ignore the ongoing information needs of youth as revealed by the continuous tracking of measures of youth beliefs relevant to the decision to enlist and measures of the propensity to enlist. The current status of survey measures of youth beliefs and the pro- pensity to enlist, discussed earlier in this chapter, provide an assessment of the orientation (or readiness) of the youth population to enlistment. As the events of the past 10 years have amply demonstrated, the Services can encounter difficulty meeting enlistment goals when key youth beliefs and the propensity to enlist decline to some recently observed levels. The reinforcement and maintenance of these beliefs and an agreed-on level of propensity should be central to advertising planning decisions, particu- larly decisions concerning the annual investment in advertising. Earlier we posed specific questions about youth beliefs related to the propensity to enlist that could lead to the development of possible adver- tising message strategies. Once developed and tested at the message argument level, such concepts could be further evaluated in laboratory and in-market situations. The assessment could focus on the specific attainment of desired changes in such measures as changes in awareness of the desired strategic message elements, the levels of specified beliefs, and the propensity to enlist. Three broad question areas can be summarized as follows: 1. Is there an erosion in youth beliefs or values that bear importantly on the propensity to enlist? If so, are there message strategies to effec- tively inform youth beliefs related to the propensity to enlist? 2. Is the overall budget level for military advertising sufficient, given the ongoing pattern of erosion in the propensity to enlist since 1980? The recent developments in the economy (declining civilian employment

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ADVERTISING PLANNING 85 opportunities) and in national and international events appear to result in temporary boosts to propensity. Although the favorability of the ongoing environment for military recruiting appears to be somewhat cyclical, the underlying downward trend in youth propensity to enlist will continue to periodically emerge as a barrier to reaching military enlistment goals. 3. Can messages strategies used for youth recruiting also sufficiently inform youth influencers, or are specialized message strategies needed to inform parents, teachers, counselors, community leaders, and other youth influencers? The possible in-market potential of alternative message strategies could be tested in a variety of ways. Indeed, given the research design and measurement challenges, triangulation of the results of several evalu- ation approaches would be a good practice. These approaches could include studies conducted in laboratory settings, smaller scale in-market applications, and multimarket area test marketing of possible advertising campaigns. It would also be useful to revisit selected aspects of the former YATS survey approach that would provide for tracking of awareness, beliefs, and propensity both to diagnose potential communication issues and to track year-to-year effects of communication programs designed to influence awareness, beliefs, and the propensity to enlist. Laboratory Testing Copy testing techniques, such as provided by commercially available services or specially designed studies, can be applied in experimental design settings to contrast the potential effectiveness of alternative mes- sage strategies. Some of these approaches involve theater-style testing of mock-up commercials, others involve specially designed tests of port- folios of prototype print ads, or tests could be based on exposure to alter- native strategic approaches produced on prototype web pages. In this approach, exposure to message strategies can be controlled and the capaci- ties of the strategic directions to inform and influence various audiences can be evaluated and contrasted. For example, a conventional "2 by 2" factorial design could be employed to contrast the potential effects of two different message strategies on a sample of research participants selected to represent two audience groups of interest (a positive propensity group and a negative propensity group). Clearly, more complex designs could be developed depending on the alternative message issues to be con- trasted and the types of audience groupings of interest. The value of employing an experimental design outlook is that such studies call for a research design to test specific alternatives, effective sampling techniques to represent desired audiences, and the use of valid and reliable measures

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86 EVALUATING MILITARY ADVERTISING AND RECRUITING of effects. Importantly, the exact features of the design should be based on a theory or model (such as the one developed in Chapter 2 and employed in this chapter) and be utilized to inform specific alternative choices relat- ing to the selection of message strategies or other advertising planning questions. This is a more attractive approach for planning advertising than the qualitative research studies that are sometimes employed for advertising message evaluation, especially the highly subjective approach of focus group interviews. Smaller Scale In-Market Experiments Another approach is presented by the possibility of utilizing web sites in tandem with the selective use of conventional advertising media, such as newspapers, magazines, and television. Web sites (or controlled partitions within web sites) could be used to represent differing message arguments. Alternative message approaches could be presented on a random basis to web site visitors, or selected media vehicles (individual ad placements in newspapers, magazines, or television commercial place- ments) could be used to test the capacities of alternative message approaches conventional to interest youth in visiting specific web site locations. The web site technology would enable specific tracking to measure whether "information relationships" can be developed with individual youth and whether these relationships lead to applicant status, completed contracts, and successful completion of basic training and the first term.5 In this approach, message arguments could be tested in terms of their capacities to attract interest and to guide audience members to further information available on web sites. The flexibility and specificity of media use in the approach would also allow for the testing of messages designed to reach specialized groups of youths or other audiences of interest. In this way, the message argument effects could be traced in terms of their capacities to influence individual youth to visit with military recruiters, to become successful applicants, and even to complete basic training. In-Market Testing In-market testing of alternative advertising messages, media selection plans, or budget levels is a challenging endeavor. There are difficulties in selecting (effectively matching) test market cities or regions, managing specific media vehicles to control spillover or contamination, controlling 5For a discussion of web sites and the concept of information as a relationship, see Eighmey 1997.

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ADVERTISING PLANNING 87 related factors such as recruiting efforts, and developing outcome mea- sures that apply specifically to the objectives of the market test (Bogart, 1986; Dertouzos, 1989~. Nevertheless, test market approaches could be particularly useful with respect to the issues such the direction of specified youth beliefs and the continuing decline in the propensity to enlist. One approach to this problem is to invest in new and additional specific advertising directed to the youth population and to youth influencers. New campaign message approaches and new product introductions present opportunities for more effective use of test markets (Bogart, 1986, p. 368~. Advertising to inform youth propensity and addressed to youth influencers would be new approaches in the marketplace and, in the fashion of a new product introduction, could present opportunities for test marketing and effective tracking of outcomes in test market areas. This approach would be useful for deciding whether there is under- spending on the overall level of the military advertising effort and whether specific campaigns directed to youth beliefs supporting propensity and to youth influencers could improve the productivity of the military recruit- ing process. Decision making with respect to these issues could be sup- ported by in-market experiments or market tests that are of sufficient duration and that employ noticeable levels of advertising in the selected test areas. Survey methods could be used to track and compare awareness of the test advertising, key beliefs, and the propensity to enlist. Annual Survey of Propensity and Related Youth Beliefs As demonstrated by the recent changes in youth beliefs and propen- sity, there is a need for an annual survey research to update the previous tracking of propensity to enlist and to measure the wider range of related youth beliefs or values related to propensity. With respect to erosion of certain youth beliefs related to the propensity to enlist, we have identified the need to explore the potential impact of new message strategies con- cerning topics such as duty to country and other youth beliefs. An annual survey of propensity and related youth beliefs would assist in decision making concerning the need for additional advertising efforts to inform youth and the success of any such informative advertising campaigns in influencing the overall level of propensity and youth beliefs that might be the subject of such advertising. CONCLUSIONS The decade of the 1990s was a period of increasing challenge for military recruiting. A strong economy presented increasing work oppor-

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88 EVALUATING MILITARY ADVERTISING AND RECRUITING "unities for civilian employment, youth interest in higher education increased, and certain youth beliefs became less associated with military service. These developments led to the point that annual recruiting goals were not met in 1999. Since that time, employment opportunities in the civilian workforce have become less plentiful, there have been highly visible events involving national security, and some new advertising approaches for military advertising have been introduced. However, recent surveys of youth interest in the military have indi- cated a short-term increased interest in military service followed by what appears to be a return to the levels observed prior to September 11, 2001. Such a direction would be consistent with the pattern in the propensity to enlist shown by the YATS survey data for the period before and after the 1991 Persian Gulf war. These developments indicate the need to base advertising planning on a model of youth beliefs relating to the propen- sity to enlist and for continuous and consistent monitoring of those beliefs and the propensity to enlist. Once the relevant youth beliefs (outcome evaluations and behavioral beliefs) are examined to an improved extent, it is recommended that alter- native advertising message strategies be developed and tested on a regu- lar basis to identify a range of possible message strategies beyond those that have been traditionally employed to support military recruiting. The possible effects of these message approaches should be tested using a theory-based approach and a variety of testing methods to assess the potential to use advertising to inform both the youth population and the audience of adult youth influencers. Some questions that might be addressed include: Will messages of duty, honor, and country result in a larger increase in propensity than other messages, such as those invoking per- sonal challenge, camaraderie, training, and adventure? Will propensity increase more substantially if messages are directed at influencers rather than at young men and women? Over what range of expenditures is advertising cost-effective? Finally, we recommend that military advertising be allocated and assessed on the basis of the year-to-year measured information needs of the youth population (and other relevant audiences) and that evaluation of advertising performance focus on the extent to which these informa- tion needs were met, as demonstrated by significant changes in such factors as audience awareness, beliefs relating to the decision to enlist, and intentions such as the propensity to enlist. This approach focuses on marketplace factors that can be directly influenced by advertising. The practice of keying the annual military advertising investment to year-to-

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ADVERTISING PLANNING 89 year recruiting goal attainment, as measured by the number of enlist- ments, inherently focuses on such factors as the direction of the overall national economy, recruiter deployment decisions, and enlistment incen- tives and ignores the ongoing information needs of youth as revealed by the continuous tracking of measures of youth beliefs relevant to the deci- sion to enlist and measures of the propensity to enlist. The variable nature (up and down year-to-year) of advertising budgeting encouraged by focus- ing primarily on enlistment goals seriously undercuts the capacity of military recruitment advertising to help maintain the year-to-year readi- ness of the youth population with respect to the possibility of military service.