A survey of the effectiveness of the extension consumer marketing information program when transmitted through mass media



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The Extension Consumer Marketing Information Program for the Metropolitan Houston area is a relatively new educational venture, with its inception in November, 1956. Through this program, information is disseminated to help consumers get greatest satisfaction from their food dollars through making wise choices in selecting and using food products. Successful achievement of this program has depended upon the reaching of large numbers of consumers with food marketing information. Mass media used regularly includes newspapers, radio and television. The purpose of this study was to investigate: the extent to which consumers recognize the Extension Consumer Marketing Information Program as a source of food shopping information; and the type of food shopping information consumers desire; as estimated through a questionnaire study. Such information was needed for future planning of the established program and to provide guideposts for the initiation of similar programs in other parts of the State. This study indicated that about a fifth of the homemakers of the Houston Metropolitan area recognized the Extension Consumer Marketing Information Program as a source of food shopping information. An estimated 265,132 homemakers indicated a desire for information which would help them to spend their food dollars more wisely. Since there are several different publics or interest groups to serve, programs emphasizing different types of marketing information and transmitted by several different media are necessary to meet the needs of the people of Metropolitan Houston. Survey results provided substantial evidence that newspapers were the preferred media for marketing information, even when radio and television were available as alternatives. As to the types of food shopping information desired by homemakers, emphasis centered around economy of the family food supply. Too, more than fifty per cent of the homemakers indicated interest in food preparation. "How the food marketing system works" ranked lowest on the preference list of types of information desired. Family characteristics have a direct bearing on consumer behavior. More than fifty per cent of the homemakers in the sample were under forty years of age and had one or more years of high school training. More than sixty-five per cent of the families reported incomes of less than $7,500. A little more than one fourth of the homemakers worked away from home, and three fourths of them had been Houston residents for more than eleven years.