To What Extent Are Websites Used to Segment Target Users: A Website Effectiveness Study

Mudge, Timothy Robert (2007) To What Extent Are Websites Used to Segment Target Users: A Website Effectiveness Study. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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With the advent of computer and the Internet, came a new media to be exploited my marketing and advertising executives all over the globe. In its early years, Web sites were primitive and not used as a tool for branding. However, branding is everything and everywhere. The cars we drive, the food we eat, even our most mundane purchases like soap and toilet paper are clearly branded. But what comes to mind when we think of the elements of branding? Most immediately, we might think of packaging labels, bags, boxes, and the logos printed, stamped, or otherwise emblazoned upon them (Andres, 2002). However, these elements do no define a brand in today's ever-changing world.

The Internet is one of the primary channel for marketing communication, so one must imagine packaging a Web site for presentation as a brand commodity. A Web site can be considered packaging as essential its content represents the product, and the package becomes synonymous with the brand. There are several aspects of a brand that must be considered when establishing a site.

Using semiotic as a base for analysis, it was discovered that Web sites do indeed segment target users, and this is mostly done through crude gender based orientation. The key signifiers of colour, typography and content are the main signifiers in the syntagm of the Web site in creating emotional responses in the target user. This discovery has been backed up through the use of a Commutation Test, in which a website was taken a re-positioned to a different target user by altering the signifiers in the syntagm, effectively changing the message of the Web site. The findings of this study will be interesting to those wishing to construct a Web site that is positioned to a specific market segment, and those wishing to explore the boundaries of Semiotics.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Keywords: Semiotics, Internet Semiotics, Semiotics of Web design, Branding, Web user segmentation, Internet Marketing, Internet Branding
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2008
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 20:14

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