Off the beaten track

Date of publication: June 15, 1982


This paper deals with new methods of determining target groups in media research. Over the past three decades, media research has essentially developed in response to the advertising industry's interest in information about how large segments of certain target groups could be approached under optimal economic conditions. The definition of target groups, however, has remained at a fairly low level. Many media researchers and users of media analyses assert that further refinement of the demographic definitions—by region, community size, sex, age, social class, and certain occupational groups and of data on buying, consumption and ownership would not really result in an improvement of a media plan's effectiveness. Psychological criteria are seldom applied; imaginative typologies are left to the image advertising activities of the publishing companies themselves. This paper will show that considerable progress in defining target groups is possible, and it will do so using as examples studies conducted by the Allensbach Institute in 1979/81.

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