Communication is at the heart of any built business strategy. Prospecting, sales strategy, loyalty and improvement of the commercial relationship: each step corresponds to the choice of one or more communication media. To reconcile communication and commercial strategy, the communication media used should be adapted to each target and each issue.
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This article gives a detailed definition of a communication medium and delivers all the criteria to take into account to choose these media.
What is a communication medium?
A communication medium is the means by which communication between a sender, on the one hand, and a target, on the other hand, occurs. Support and communication channel are closely linked. While the channel refers to the path through which the message travels, the medium has more to do with the format of the delivered message.
3 examples of communication media
With the explosion of digital in recent years, communication media have developed. Businesses today are spoiled for choice when it comes to the channels through which to convey their marketing message to their targets. Communication media and channels can be classified into different categories. This makes it possible to differentiate not only distinct communication formats, but also various strategic objectives.
Online and offline communication media
Digital communication media are increasingly present in the communication strategies of brands and companies. From free content to improve the natural referencing (SEO) of a website to online advertisements, via emailing campaigns, digital communication makes possible refined targeting in order to build an audience in accordance with the values of the company that communicates on the Internet.
Generally, the online and offline communication media cooperate in a single communication strategy in order to support all of the issuer’s objectives. Event communication, for example, can be associated with digital in the context of a trade show around which a mobile application has been created to help visitors find their way around.
Offline communication media can also be:
- Printed materials such as flyers, leaflets.
- Posters, signage.
- Advertising media placed at the point of sale.
Media and non-media communication supports
The media/non-media distinction separates two types of communication media according to the objective of the medium in question. This opposition was common before the arrival of digital. Today it is more subtle due to the many existing communication channels, but it remains useful for understanding the sender’s intention behind the choice of a communication medium.
Media communication, on the one hand, is based on a communication medium independent of the company or brand that sends the message:
- A press newspaper.
- A radio show.
- A page on a social network, etc.
Non-media communication, on the other hand, refers to the communication supports created by the company itself to address its customers, such as:
- Advertising prints.
- In-store advertising posters.
- Street marketing operations, etc.
Internal and external communication media
The differentiation between internal and external communication media can be confused with that between media and non-media media. Today, the terms internal and external are rather used to designate the purpose of a communication on a medium, whatever it is. In this sense, external communication corresponds to all messages addressed to the audience in the broad sense.
Internal communication, on the other hand, describes the way in which the company communicates with its employees. As a result, an internal communication medium can be classified in the media category as well as in the non-media category. For example, a large company with an intranet network can regularly publish content addressed to all of its employees in a way that is just as strategic as if it were communicating with its customers.
How to choose your communication media?
To choose the right communication media, defining marketing objectives is an essential step. It intervenes upstream of the creation of the communication medium or the formatting of the message to be transmitted. Its goal is to offer a powerful communication medium to the right target in order to maximize the reach of the message.
Once the objectives have been defined, and after a possible segmentation of the target audience, the structuring of a complete marketing strategy makes it possible to select the most relevant communication media at different stages of the brand’s relationship with its targets.
What are the factors to consider?
A few questions are useful to guide the choice of one communication medium over another:
- Are the customers local?
- Is it national?
- What are their drinking habits?
- How often ?
A panel of specific questions is the key to building the typical profile of the ideal customer and thus determining the most relevant communication medium.
Example: local business
When an entrepreneur wishes to open a local business, he must develop an effective communication strategy to ensure its development. He will then deploy many communication media to become visible and increase his notoriety.
Take the example of opening a hair salon. The manager will have to use tools allowing him to reach prospects in his catchment area. It will therefore, for the most part, be media and local communication channels. It will first assert its personality through its sign and the decoration of its shop window. To personalize these two communication tools as much as possible, he will have to define his graphic charter which will then be available on all his media and will become a benchmark for his customers. Today, many possibilities are available to entrepreneurs to express their originality and specificities, such as window displays or embossed signs.
Once it has made itself visible, it must make itself known. The flyers deposited in the surrounding businesses or in mailboxes and street marketing will allow him to reach prospects near his living room. Once the customer has entered, the manager can leave him media that will leave a trace of his visit: business card and loyalty card for example. An effective method is to give him two, one to keep and the other to give to someone, as a form of sponsorship. Similarly, posters can be used in the living room to promote specific products, even emblematic of the store.
Digital communication media (online) are not left out even for a local entrepreneur with a physical point of sale. For example, he can use SMS to attract customers, but he will have to combine them with the geolocation option to only reach prospects close to his living room. In the same way, he will be able to use social networks to keep his customers informed of news, promotions and new offers available. The hairdressing salon will also be able to benefit from its own website, on which the manager can write articles on fashion trends or share his beauty and hair maintenance advice. These articles can in turn feed social networks.
Example: online business
A web marketing agency is mainly visible online. Admittedly, it should not neglect the elements of its physical communication, such as its graphic charter, or advertisements in the media, but it must above all show its expertise and its mastery of digital communication media.
The visual identity will convey the values of the company and will become the basis, the DNA of all its communication, a true rallying sign for its customers and prospects.
To do this, knowing a web agency must above all invest in a design and efficient website. This site represents the showcase of the company, it must therefore be at the cutting edge of technology (ergonomics, responsive design, functionalities). The creation of varied and relevant content, useful to customers and prospects must inspire trust and present a strong added value. The agency must also be present on social networks, a communication tool that is essential today to create and follow its community. Naturally, it must take care of its natural referencing by the quality and diversification of its content, but it can also rely on paid advertising and sponsored links to gain visibility on the web. It will thus be able to increase its audience and reach a greater number of prospects.
Even if the webmarketing agency must display its professionalism, it does not have to limit itself to digital communication media. It can also use more traditional and offline media. Advertising in specialized newspapers and participation in trade fairs can also be effective and relevant for making yourself known.
To go further, download this free guide with its model and instructions.Learn how to establish an effective communication plan.