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Use this framework to maximise the return on promotions

Russell Colley is an American advertising man. His book, Defining Advertising Goals For Measured Advertising Results (published in 1961), resulted in the acronym DAGMAR.

DAGMAR is a framework to help advertisers set and measure advertising objectives and goals. The framework was introduced in the 1960s and has been used as a guide for advertising planning and evaluation.

Colley suggested there are four important goals of advertising:


  • Awareness – if your customers are not aware of your product they can't be nudged forward to buy it.

  • Comprehension – customers need to understand what your product does and whether or not it can meet their needs.

  • Conviction – customers need to believe that your product is the best solution to meet their needs

  • Action – finally, customers need to put their hands in their pockets and buy your product.


These four goals of advertising (referred to as ACCA) are hierarchical as in the AIDA model (awareness, interest, desire, action).

The usefulness of the DAGMAR framework depends on various factors:

Goal setting must be clear: DAGMAR emphasizes the importance of setting clear and measurable advertising objectives. If advertisers follow this principle, it can be beneficial in ensuring that their goals are specific, realistic, and achievable.

Results must be measurable: One of the strengths of DAGMAR is its emphasis on measuring advertising results. By defining specific metrics and benchmarks, advertisers can assess the effectiveness of their campaigns and make data-driven decisions.

Communication must be planned: DAGMAR encourages a systematic approach to communication planning, including attention to the hierarchy of effects model (awareness, comprehension, conviction, action). This can be helpful in designing campaigns that guide consumers through the various stages of the decision-making process.

The DAGMAR model is not just about setting measurable goals for awareness, comprehension, conviction and action, it is also about defining the purpose of the advertising. For example, the advertising could be aimed at building a new brand, freshening an existing brand, generating sales, or building a particular image for a product.


In setting these objectives, it will be necessary to define the target audience and consider whether there are any segments that are of critical importance in the promotional plan. As with all objectives, there should also be a time period over which the measures can be assessed. In summary there are four basic requirements for the advertising campaign:


  1. Set concrete and measurable targets

  2. Define the target audience and their needs

  3. Determine the changes in behaviour and attitudes that the advertising should achieve

  4. Set a time period in which the objectives will be accomplished

The framework is primarily focused on the communication aspect of advertising and may not consider other factors that can influence consumer behavior, such as product quality, pricing, or distribution.

It also assumes a linear process and that there will be an orderly progression through the stages. However, consumer decision-making is often more complex and non-linear.

It should also be borne in mind that DAGMAR may not account for external factors such as economic conditions, competition, or changes in consumer preferences.

The advertising landscape has evolved significantly since the introduction of DAGMAR. There are new media platforms, digital marketing, and social media have transformed how advertisers reach their audience. Advertisers may need to adapt the framework to incorporate these changes.

The DAGMAR framework can be a useful tool for advertisers, especially when it comes to setting clear objectives and measuring results. However, it should be used in conjunction with a broader understanding of marketing dynamics and adapted to the current advertising landscape for optimal effectiveness. Take a look at the "hooking customers" framework -

And, to complete the circle also see the AIDA model -

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