What are Communication Channels and How Do You Use Them in Business?
Communication channels are essential for any business. If you’re preparing to release your new product or you want to develop your brand, the channels of communication are a vital component of your campaign’s success.
The number one challenge you will most likely face when it comes to reaching your business goals is how to effectively get your company’s message across to your target audience. Remember that it is not merely about advertising your brand. It is about using the right channels and getting it out there at the right times.
In using marketing communication channels, know that there are so many. You can quickly get confused and lose your way around. That’s why it’s essential to know the types of communication channels as well as which ones will be most effective for your business.
In this article, the goal is to give you an overview of communication channels in the business. This way, you will have a better understanding of the options you have and how you will choose which ones to use.
Table of contents
- What are Communication Channels?
- How to Know Who Your Target Audiences Are?
- Choosing the Best Communication Channels
- Media Communication: Traditional Communication Channels
- Takeaway on Traditional Communication Channels
- The Emergence of Web Media
- Final Thoughts
What are Communication Channels?
When we talk about communication channels in marketing, it is a method that companies use to exchange as well as disseminate information. Basically, it is a system where the company’s message is sent to its target audience.
Note that the term “target audience” needs to be emphasized. For a campaign to be successful, it has to be targeted. If you release an ad, for example, you do not need to show it to everyone everywhere. Instead, focus on the people who will most likely be your customers.
Before thinking about using project communication channels for your campaign, you first have to know who your target audiences are. Different people are going to react in various ways to your marketing campaign. Some will not even pay attention to them. So, it is necessary to first identify the people who will react positively to your brand’s message.
Define who you want to target, and then know the channels where you want to share the information to attract potential customers. You want to have the maximum impact for your campaign, so knowing where and how to disseminate your company’s campaign is crucial. This is the goal of having your marketing campaign in the first place.
How to Know Who Your Target Audiences Are?
You’re going to need a number of criteria to determine your target audience. However, this can be done by combining two specific variables: your stakeholders and the objective that you want to fulfil.
When these two variables are combined, you can better determine the target audiences that you want to reach. You will also know the channels that you will be using for your campaign. And when you define the goal that you want to achieve, you have to ask yourself a few questions. Here are the questions. Do you want to:
- Generate revenue?
- Promote your brand and products?
- Spread the word about your company?
If you answered yes to all these questions, then you first have to know what your target is. You have to be aware of who your stakeholders are as well, so do make a list. Afterward, you can then select the ones that are most relevant to the objective that you have.
You may draw inspiration from this list:
- And financial analysts
- And detractors
Human Resource Targets:
- Trade unions
- And the talents that you want to hire
- Public authorities
- Influencers and personalities
- Pressure groups such as NGOs
- Influencers and bloggers
- Residents in your vicinity
- And businesses near you
Now, knowing who you want to target will be a much easier task. You can also use the following guide questions so you can be more specific on your goals and how you will be able to achieve them. Check out the following:
- Do you want to grow your company’s sales? If so, then you should choose your customers from the list above.
- Do you want to announce new products? Then you ought to tap your employees so that they will be aware of the latest products. Also, journalists and customers may also be selected for this goal.
- Do you want to improve the brand image of your business? For this goal, you will need to target the influencers.
When you combine the objective that you have for your campaign along with the list of stakeholders, then you will be able to know who your target audiences are. This task will be much easier for you to do.
Once you already have the information that you need, and you now know the people you need to target, the next step is to determine the best communication channel. That’s what we’ll discuss in the next section.
Choosing the Best Communication Channels
For this section, we’ll cover the different types of communication channels which include traditional as well as digital communication channels. You may use a combination of these types. However, what you have to remember is that you also need to determine your budget so that you won’t overshoot your spendings on your campaigns.
When you’re in the process of considering a certain communication channel, do ask yourself if you have the resources that you need to make it happen. It’s important to know your budget and how much of it you can devote to the campaign.
Media Communication: Traditional Communication Channels
Before the boom of the Internet in the 2000s, media communication was aimed towards the mass audiences. This was done through the press, radio, television, display, and cinema. After two decades, media communication has evolved a great deal.
On the Internet, web communication allows businesses to send personalized messages. Not only that but companies can now also monitor the results of their campaigns more precisely. It’s one of the best benefits we have today because we have the opportunity to understand our weak points, allowing us to improve and create more effective campaigns.
The written press has been in decline because more and more people prefer to use digital media. However, print media is still important to many businesses. There are many advantages to using the press. Here are some of them:
- It is convenient and accessible for older generations who are not very familiar with digital media.
- The brand’s image and credibility can be strengthened when it appears in the press. If the press writes a positive review or article about a certain company, it reinforces the business’ authority and credibility.
- The website of the company can be better optimized. Papers today have digital formats where articles are reproduced. So, if there’s an article about your business, it will also be seen online. There will most likely be a link that points back to your website as well. Google likes this, so you will have better chances of appearing in the search results.
That’s why even if the press seems to be in decline, it’s still one of the effective channels of communication for customers to know more about your brand. If your goal is in line with the target audience that you want to reach, then choosing the press will be an excellent choice.
The radio is also another great way for your company to market your products. When it comes to radio as your communication channel, you would have to determine the geographic location where the broadcast of your campaign will take place.
You may choose to use national or regional radio for this. You may also opt for both so you can cover more areas and achieve your business goals. Doing this is what’s called geographic targeting.
Through the radio, you can make announcements about your events or when you’re going to launch new products. A downside of the radio as a communication channel is that it lacks images. That’s why your message should be captivating and memorable enough so that it will be effective even without images like in other communication channels.
Nevertheless, even with this one disadvantage, the radio can also provide what print media can give your brand, which is credibility. When you get the chance to have your brand as the subject of an interview done over the radio, then you can use that content to further strengthen your company image.
TV is one of the most popular ways of advertising products. Through television, you can target not just the national audience but also the international markets as well. This is possible because of satellites and cable channels.
One drawback of television as a communication channel is the high price to get your ads on TV. You can enjoy all the advantages that TV can give through online advertising as well. And with online ads, you can have a cheaper, more accurate, and more profitable marketing campaign.
That’s why the only scenario where the TV can be a good option for you to spread your message is when it appears on a program. This can be through a report or an interview that is solely devoted to your product or brand.
For you to achieve this, it’s first necessary to have an understanding of how television chooses the subjects that it will be dealing with based on its potential audience. So, if a television station would have to choose one of two subjects, it will lean more on choosing the one that will have the greatest number of people who will be interested in it.
The operating model for television is based on the sense that it makes money by selling ad space. So, the more that the advertising space is exposed to more people, then the more that it will be expensive.
Knowing this, what you should aim for would be for the television station to be interested in your brand so that you can broadcast your campaign there. It’s also important to already have a big number of people who are already interested in what you have to offer to begin with.
In urban areas, billboards are already a part of the cityscape. Billboards can give your brand various choices, such as giant posters, bus stops, buildings, floor markings, and many others. However, a disadvantage of this is the cost. Also, the scope is relatively limited compared to other communication channels.
But if you use display appropriately and effectively, then it can be an excellent communication channel for you to market your products or services.
Movie theatres can also be used for your marketing campaign. The audience will have no choice but to sit through your ad. And with the size of the screen, the sound’s high quality, and your audience just in their seats, they will be more receptive to your message.
Take note though that broadcasting your ads through movie theatres can be expensive. And since the cinema-goers are diverse, then you won’t have a targeted audience to show your ads. These two are the main weak points of using movie theatres as your communication channel.
Takeaway on Traditional Communication Channels
When you decide to use these traditional communication channels, you’re going to need a good amount of skills. That’s why it would benefit you if you tap experts so you will be able to reach your business goals faster.
Let us know what your project is so that we can connect you with the best Public Relations agencies that can help and support your marketing plans.
The Emergence of Web Media
Web media is the younger sibling of media communication. It’s because most of the traditional channels of communication are also found online but in a different format. There are two reasons why communication channels evolved this way.
Undoubtedly, the rise of the Internet paved the way for the changes in communication. The interesting part is that there’s a parallel between web media and traditional media. The Internet has transformed traditional media by changing two variables: there are now more sources available, and communication targeting has become more precise.
When more sources became available, the cost of content production was reduced. That’s why it’s much easier and cheaper to distribute content to various platforms. Twenty years ago, it was very expensive to produce content and promote it. Today, anyone can shoot videos with their smartphones and share them on YouTube for free.
It’s also the same for the radio. A few decades ago, only a small part of the population could access it. But nowadays, you can record a podcast using your smartphone and then share it on platforms like Soundcloud.
When it comes to the written content, it’s also similar. You have WordPress blogs and Medium where you can share valuable information easily. Creating and sharing your content today is much easier and cost-effective.
With so many sources available to us, a related phenomenon also strengthened, which is the precision of communication targeting. For example, when you’re on YouTube, you can search for topics that you’ll find interesting. The same goes for blogs.
The Internet has transformed mass audiences, who used to have only the press, radio, and television as their source of information, into many niche audiences. These niche audiences now consume incredibly specific content. It includes YouTube channels, podcasts, blogs, social networks, and others.
What does all this mean for companies and businesses then? To start, it’s now possible to promote your content more effectively because you can target specific audiences who will be truly interested in your product or services.
In traditional channels, this was not the case because they only offer mass targeting. There are also few opportunities to monitor the obtained results. With these two changes in the communication channels, let’s begin to delve deeper into the web media channels that you can use for your business.
Blogs are one of the channels that you can use so you can spread the message of your company. It’s different from print media in a way because blogs are much easily accessible. You can reach more of your targeted audiences as well as monitor how effective your campaign is.
You may also launch your own blog that’s specific to your industry and area of expertise. WordPress and other platforms like Medium are some of what you can use so you can disseminate information about your company.
Maintaining a blog will allow you to share your knowledge with your audience. This way, you can position your company as an expert in your field. Doing so will strengthen the image of your brand. More people will trust your company and would want to patronize your business.
Audio content is becoming more and more popular as a way to access information. Your company can take full advantage of this to develop brand awareness. Podcasts are similar to blogs because the themes are clearly defined. You will have a specific group of people who would be genuinely interested in listening to the program.
If you can find a way for your company to be in a podcast that’s relevant to your industry, then the chances are that you will reach people who will be curious and interested in what your company has to offer.
You may even start your own podcast so you will have an avenue to discuss many topics related to your industry. Much like with blogs, this will further strengthen your brand image.
If you do a quick research online on the statistics of communication channels, you’ll find that video is a strong contender. Whether you create informational or promotional videos so you can highlight your brand, there is definitely an opportunity that you can take advantage of.
Nowadays, it’s more beneficial for businesses to invest in online videos than on television because of the reduced costs and also better targeting. Advertising on television is very expensive, and you won’t have much precision when reaching a huge number of people.
When you compare that to online videos, you can place ads on various qualified YouTube channels at a fraction of the price you have to pay for television ads.
Display as a communication channel is also available online. You can use Google Adwords so that your brand appears on the search engine results pages. Another is Google’s Display Network for Banner Advertising on Websites.
You may also choose to have your ads appear on YouTube videos through YouTube Advertising. In social media platforms, there are several that you can choose from, including Instagram Business, Facebook Business Manager, and Snapchat Ads for Business.
All of these platforms can give you advertising spaces where you can share your company’s message in the same way that you would offline. But the best part of online advertising is that you can target who you will show your ads to, and also measure the results of the campaign.
Now that you have all these options for your communication channels that you can use, how will you decide which ones to utilize? There’s a particular discipline that focuses on this question and how to create a cross-channel synergy, Integrated Marketing Communication.
This discipline has four main points that if focuses on:
- Customer knowledge – knowing your customer will allow you to be able to speak to them on various channels.
- Brand platform – your brand’s voice and style must be defined clearly. Your company should have a specific character, and you and your brand ambassadors should be able to carry it everywhere.
- Indicators and measurement tools – You’re going to need these to measure how successful your campaigns are for every channel that you’re going to use.
- A flawless organization communication channel – Here, messages will be coordinated so that they remain consistent throughout the relay of messages and other communications.
Hopefully, this article has given you value when it comes to channels of communication in business organizations. If you want to start your campaign and use these channels, feel free to talk to us about your project. We’ll connect you with the best agencies that are most relevant to your needs.