What is 'DAGMAR'

Created in 1961 by Russell Colley, Defining Advertising Goals for Measured Advertising Results (DAGMAR), is a marketing tool for measuring the results of an advertising campaign. DAGMAR seeks to guide consumers through four phases, also known as the ACCA advertising formula. ACCA is an acronym for awareness, comprehension, conviction, and action. It also sets specific and measurable objectives to determine the overall success of the campaign.


The DAGMAR method stood on two core principles. The first is to develop a communication task to accomplish goals. The second is to establish objectives with measurable results for the communication task.  The goals of communication tasks are to generate awareness of the brand, increase consumer comprehension about the product and its benefits, convince consumers that the product offering is of use to them, and finally to persuade the customer to take action and purchase the product.  Following the communication task is the job of defining measurable objectives.

History of DAGMAR

Russell Colley first proposed the DAGMAR model in a 1961 report to the Association of National Advertisers. Colley proposed that effective advertising seeks to communicate rather than sell. Advertisers determine whether their communications influence a consumer's decision-making process by determining whether the consumer had enough knowledge and understanding of a product and its benefits from clear and specific objectives.  According to Colley, there are four requirements of reliable objectives. 

  • Be concrete and measurable.
  • Have a well-defined target audience or market.
  • Identify the benchmark and the degree of change from this starting point.
  • Specify a period during which to accomplish the objective.

The Target Market 

The group of potential customers or clients is the target market. These customers have the highest likelihood of purchasing the product. The identification process includes demographic, geographic, and psychographic segmentation. The targeted market may be narrow or broad depending on marketing initiatives and sales goals. Target markets can be separated into primary and secondary groups.  Primary markets are members of the target audience, to which marketing efforts are primarily focused. Secondary markets are the target audience members that marketing efforts will address after the primary market is reached.

After identifying the target market, the company establishes objectives for advertising, and then the objectives for communications. Identification comes from answering questions about why you are communicating and how you are communicating. Once the objectives are known, advertisers measure the effectiveness of the advertising or promotional campaign.

DAGMAR Benchmark and Time Frame

Understanding the current position or benchmark enables advertisers to establish goals and select campaigns that will yield the best results.  The objectives should state how much change is desirable. Creating a benchmark is essential in adequately measuring advertising's effectiveness.  Measurement against the benchmark will show the progress at any point in the campaign. 

Setting a time frame ensures accurate evaluation of results.  The time frame should be reasonable, such as six months or one year, to prevent skewed results from static marketing.  The time frame identifies whether the campaign objective is accomplished and becomes the point of comparison to the benchmark.

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