Volume 11 No. 1 SPRING 2010

Going by the Numbers

The 2010 Census is underway, and getting the most accurate count possible is a real challenge. One of the Census Bureau’s goals is to increase the response among under-counted groups, and the Bureau is undertaking a massive advertising campaign to reach out to those groups.

To ensure that its plans were adequately researched and effectively targeted, the Bureau asked a panel of academics to review it. Wendy Moe, associate professor of marketing, was asked to contribute her expertise in the area of internet marketing and interactive campaigns. The panel also included faculty experts from the University of Texas-Austin, the University of Michigan, Florida State University, and the University of California-Riverside. The group reviewed the advertising campaign, from the background research to strategy and tactics, and made recommendations to improve its effectiveness

Academic advisors can provide federal agencies with expert opinions that are free of bias, says Moe, which is particularly important for a project with wide political implications such as the census. “The count will determine state and federal funding for all kinds of support services, and it will determine the number of Congressional representatives each state is allotted,” says Moe. “The Census can be politicized by other stakeholders, but academics only have an interest in seeing that the campaign is done right. We’re unbiased and we know what the state-of-the-art is, and that is the value we bring.”

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