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Seafood Choices: Balancing Benefits and Risks
too much that communications tailored for specific audiences are likely to be more effective and thus are an important element in communications programs. This is especially important for benefit-risk choices where target population groups differ in their risk susceptibility, and in the degree to which they are likely to benefit. For both education and marketing, understanding the audience and targeting it appropriately are critical.
A successful communications program starts with clear objectives and measurable goals, and includes the steps outlined in the two preceding chapters followed by implementation and evaluation, as discussed below. The development strategy should be iterative, such that program evaluation is built into the program from the outset and used to refine it over time. One widely used health communications program planning document, the National Institutes of Health “Pink Book” (SOURCE: http://www.cancer.gov/pinkbook), suggests these components for a health communications program plan: a general description of the program, including intended audiences, goals, and objectives; a market research plan (i.e., for researching the consumer context and choice process); message and materials development and pretesting plans; materials production, distribution, and promotion plans; partnership plans; a process evaluation plan; an outcome evaluation plan; a task and timetable; and a budget.
For demonstration purposes, the committee takes as a working objective the facilitation of consumer use of information for decision making and balancing choices, for a wide variety of consumers. Corresponding measurable end points would be increased awareness of both benefits and risks of seafood consumption, and increased ease of access and usability of seafood benefit-risk information.
Table 6-2 in Chapter 6 provides a summary of the current seafood consumption information environment. Opportunities for improving the current information environment include: (1) providing more comprehensive and systematic evaluation of current consumer seafood information and information environments for target populations (“marketing research”); (2) increasing the emphasis on benefits of seafood consumption; (3) assessing the overall role of state advisories in consumer seafood consumption decisions, taking into account their limited reach; (4) increasing the availability of quantitative benefit and risk data for seafood consumption, and addressing any errors in how quantitative benefit and risk information is used in interactive online consumer guidance; (5) increasing the use and usefulness of point-of-purchase displays; and (6) developing partnership programs.