Media or Non Media: Your A-Z Guide to Communication Channels
Last update: 8 February 2023 at 10:52 am
You’ve got to communicate for a company that wishes to launch a new product or for a new company seeking notoriety. To use the jargon, your options for getting your message out there are media and nontraditional (non media) channels.
However, communication is a whole art, a whole universe. Given what is at stake, it is essential to know how to convey your messages to the right people through the proper means: the famous communication channels. But what is the difference? Which is the most effective? For beginners, it can be straightforward to feel lost. So read on.
Determine Your Communication Channel
Definition of a Communication Channel
In marketing, a communication channel is an approach used by a company to disseminate or exchange information. In other words, it is the system through which the message was sent to reach its target.
Identifying the Target Audience
Before even thinking about a communication channel, a company must first determine its target audience. Are they young people, active women, or seniors… once you have that clear, you can choose a channel along with its related action plans.
One thing that is crystal clear is that the same strategy does not work for every target group. To facilitate this, it is recommended to create a communication map, i.e., a description of the target audiences with a list of the communication channels likely to interest them, to determine the best medium.
Establishing a crossover table between the target audience and each communication channel is also possible and can be a handy tool.
Determining Where to Communicate
Depending on the target audience, the place of communication differs.
Schools and universities are undoubtedly the perfect places to raise student awareness. To capture working people, businesses, restaurants, and public transportation are amongst the best places to find this niche of people. Or a less formal approach can also be used through social networks, shopping malls, etc.
The nature of the message or campaign must be taken into account.
In brief, identifying the real or virtual location and the precise moment when you are most likely to meet as many of your target audience as possible is crucial to your media strategy.
Budgeting Your Communication
Communication, whether through media or non media channels, always involves budgetary constraints.
So before embarking on a campaign, it’s essential to ask yourself:
“Do I have the financial means to support this campaign via the selected communication channels?”
If the answer is no, then cheaper communication channels should be sought. Seeking outside support is another avenue to explore.
What Is Communication via Media Channels?
Before the democratization of the Internet (i.e., the ’90s), communication via the media was aimed globally at a group of people sharing the same interests. The most common means were the press, billboards, cinema, television, and radio.
These were and are still referred to today as nontraditional advertising mediums.
Nowadays, the web offers the possibility to personalize communication in media: sending personal notes directly in email boxes via email marketing, on social networks… The success is such that it has become the sixth advertising medium and by far the most effective.
Traditional Media Channels
Although increasingly abandoned in favor of digital media, many companies still use the written press for their advertising campaigns alongside current news.
Convenience and accessibility are the main reasons, especially for older generations who have little or no understanding of how the Internet works or do not have access to the web. By targeting a specific audience, newspapers, magazines, and journals remain very effective.
It is the best way to support a B2B communication, product launch, or an event closely affecting a company.
With audio content booming, being heard on the radio is valuable no matter the channel. Just like with any means, knowing how far you want your message to be heard is essential.
Companies can use both national and regional radio to achieve their objectives. This a great example of geographic targeting in communication – where different content or ads are offered to consumers based on their location. It’s a concept familiar to the age of being ‘online,’ but one that’s been around for decades in more traditional media.
Event announcements, product launches… in short, all local actions can be conveyed via radio. Its local flavor can significantly impact ROI when used in conjunction with the right product.
Unfortunately, the negative point remains the absence of images, which means that the public may quickly forget what they have heard if the word is not particularly striking. That’s why they make those jingles that stick in your head!
TV programs and pages play a significant role in the advertising landscape: able to be both general. As a mass medium, it targets national and international markets through cable channels and satellites.
It can also address a specific target on thematic channels. It is a support of choice in the presentation of a new product: mode of use… The major disadvantage of television is its high cost, making it difficultly accessible to all companies.
To target the 15-50 age group, cinema is a promising channel. Advertising spaces in the cinema are generally efficient, mainly because the viewer has no choice: no remote control to change channels, no mouse to click away, and a three hundred and sixty degrees booming sound system where you can convey your message.
With the size of the projection screen, the comfortable seats, and the inactivity… it’s the perfect recipe for a receptive audience. However, its high cost and the heterogeneous nature of the public count against it.
In the city, billboards are a part of the landscape.
They offer multiple choices for businesses. Between the giant posters, the luminous panels, and the markings on the ground… the possibilities are endless, even for placement: highways, bus shelters, buildings… However, its cost, and limited field of action are its main handicaps. Indeed, they are only accessible to large companies. However, it remains a mass advertisement that reaches a broad audience.
Internet Web Media
In the digital age, the Internet is unquestionably the communication channel of excellence. Indeed, given the ever-increasing number of online press and advertising community platforms (blogs, social networks, forums…), the phenomenon is undeniable.
Any newspaper that hopes to have a large audience or a brand that wants to make a name for itself, or keep its notoriety, must be present online. The strong point of the Internet is the saving of time.
In a few minutes, a brand can create a Google AdWords advertising campaign and a page on good old social networks (Facebook, Twitter…) to promote its products and communicate with its customers… generally, the space is affordable. But the Internet is not infallible.
Its use requires the greatest vigilance because, with the slightest deviation (false advertising, promise not kept, etc.), the company’s reputation is at risk of being tainted.
Non Media (Nontraditional Media) Communication
What Is Communication via Non media Channels?
In 2013, nearly 2/3 of French companies used nontraditional media communication for their campaigns. This figure shows how important the direct approach is to optimize its advertising
messages since, by definition, nontraditional media communication is:
direct marketing, where the company reaches its target audiences.
‘Traditional’ Non media Channels
It is the cheapest communication channel, so SMBs and VSEs often use it. Traditional nontraditional media includes:
- Direct marketing: The mail-order catalog, Postal mail (by target or mass), etc.
- Alternative advertising communications:
- Traditional events – conferences, exhibitions, fairs…
- Alternative events – street marketing, training, POS
- Public relations – negotiations, press releases, conferences…
- Direct contact – phone calls, SMS, meeting, promotion…
A critical aspect of building a good relationship with your customers is efficient customer service.
A company can’t have good communication without having recourse to the web. Communication channels outside web media include:
- Mobile applications
- Personal platforms – intranet, internet site
- Communication in parallel – newsletter, mailing, forum…
- Analog communication – videoconferencing, chatting…
Push & Pull Strategies
In a push or push marketing strategy (yes, you read that right), as its name suggests, one seeks to push a product toward the consumer. There is a kind of pressure on the customer here. Either it is direct, or it goes through distribution channels.
The company must deploy a whole arsenal to distinguish itself. Push marketing actions to include the distribution of free samples, the sales force, events in shopping centers, on the street, emailing, etc.
With a pull or pull marketing strategy, the consumer is attracted to the product. It’s a long-term job.
If successful, the target will search for the brand and purchase independently. The methods commonly used are brand communication campaigns, advice blogs, efficient customer service implementation, etc.
It is recommended to combine push and pull marketing efforts to get positive results quickly.
Multichannel, Cross-Channel, and Omnichannel Communication
Often confused, multichannel, cross-channel, and omnichannel qualifiers designate the most consistent way for a company to reach its target via different communication channels.
The multichannel term appears with the digital channels. Setting up logical multichannel communication is difficult since processing several channels and tools is necessary. The main difficulty lies in centralizing each customer’s data using simultaneously or, in turn, several channels.
To overcome this problem, the notion of cross-channel was born. It makes it possible to combine the company’s various communication channels by ensuring they are complementary. Thus, by knowing precisely what a customer is doing, they can interact effectively with the customer.
The term omnichannel refers to a customer’s omnipresence on several online and offline channels. Therefore, it is necessary to know how to manage several channels, taking into account several terminals and operating the various consumer actions in real time.
To have a unique profile of the same consumer who can be present on different channels, the main challenge consists of setting up basic actions that perfectly interconnect with broadcasting techniques. The marketing datamart, personalization, and recommendation engines are almost impossible to circumvent.
Integrated Marketing Communication
Integrated marketing communication, or IMC, is a new marketing approach aiming to incorporate all of a company’s communication channels logically and rationally. Thus, each channel works with the others to generate better results faster. Combining rapid return on investment with a lasting reputation is the fundamental objective.
To be effective, the IJC must be based on four important fundamentals:
- First, a focus on customer knowledge: customer behavior is valuable information
- Secondly, a brand platform: one look, one voice, the company needs to define its DNA, be faithful to it and convey it everywhere.
- Third, measurement tools with relevant performance indicators
- Fourth, an innovative and synergistic organization where messages can coordinate around a single project.
Hopefully, by now, you can identify the differences between media and non media channels of communication. Additionally, we hope you can analyze which strategies work best for your business! If you need additional help in picking the right communication channel, take a look at our media planning agencies in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and France.