What are Communication Channels and How Do You Use Them in Business?
Last update: 9 February 2023 at 09:42 am
Communication channels are essential for any business. If you’re preparing to release your new product or want to develop your brand, communication channels are vital to your campaign’s success.
The first challenge you will face when reaching your business goals is effectively conveying your company’s message to your target audience. Remember that it is not merely about advertising your brand. It is about using the proper channels and getting them out at the correct 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 and 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 better understand the options you have and how you will choose which ones to use.
What are Communication Channels?
When we talk about communication channels in marketing, it is a method that companies use to exchange and disseminate information. 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. For example, if you release an ad, you only need to show it to some people. Instead, focus on the people who will most likely be your customers.
Before using project communication channels for your campaign, you must know your target audiences. 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 first to identify the people who will react positively to your brand’s message.
Define whom you want to target, and then know the channels where you want to share the information to attract potential customers. You want the maximum impact for your campaign, so knowing where and how to disseminate your company’s campaign is crucial. It 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 several 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 fulfill.
When these two variables are combined, you can better determine the target audiences that you want to reach. You will also know the channels you will use for your campaign. And when you define the goal 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, you first have to know your target. 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 whom 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 should tap your employees so that they will be aware of the latest developments. 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 your objective for your campaign and the list of stakeholders, you will know who your target audiences are. This task will be much easier for you to do.
Once you already have the information you need and 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
This section will cover the different types of communication channels, including traditional and digital. You may use a combination of these types. However, it would be best if you remembered that you also need to determine your budget so that you won’t overshoot your spending on your campaigns.
When you’re in the process of considering a particular communication channel, do ask yourself if you have the resources that you need to make it happen. Knowing your budget and how much you can devote to the campaign is essential.
Media Communication: Traditional Communication Channels
Before the Internet boom in the 2000s, media communication was aimed at mass audiences. It 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 today because we can 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 vital 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 specific 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 likely be a link that points back to your website. Google likes this, so you will have a better chance 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 aligns with the target audience you want to reach, then choosing the press will be an excellent choice.
The radio is 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 can also 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 needs images. That’s why your message should be captivating and memorable enough to be effective even without images like in other communication channels.
Nevertheless, even with this 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 over the radio, you can use that content to strengthen your company image further.
TV is one of the most popular ways of advertising products. Through television, you can target the national audience and the international markets. It is possible because of satellites and cable channels.
One drawback of television as a communication channel is the high price of getting your ads on TV. You can also enjoy all the advantages that TV can give through online advertising. 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. It can be through a report or an interview devoted to your product or brand.
To achieve this, it’s first necessary to understand how television chooses the subjects it will deal with based on its potential audience. So, if a television station had to choose one of two subjects, it would lean more toward selecting the one with the most significant number of people interested in it.
The operating model for television is based on the sense that it makes money by selling ad space. So, the more the advertising space is exposed to more people, the more expensive it will be.
Knowing this, you should aim 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 many 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, it can be an excellent communication channel 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.
However, note that broadcasting your ads through movie theatres can be expensive. And since the cinema-goers are diverse, 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
You will need many skills when you decide to use these traditional communication channels. That’s why it would benefit you if you tap experts 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 traditional communication channels 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 changes in communication. The exciting part is that there’s a parallel between web media and traditional media. The Internet has transformed conventional media by changing two variables: now, more sources are available, and communication targeting has become more precise.
When more sources became available, the cost of content production was reduced. That’s why distributing content to various platforms is much easier and cheaper. Twenty years ago, it was costly to produce content and promote it. Today, anyone can shoot videos with their smartphone and share them on YouTube for free.
It’s also the same for the radio. A few decades ago, only a tiny 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 quickly. Creating and sharing your content today is much easier and cost-effective.
The precision of communication targeting
With so many sources available to us, a related phenomenon also strengthened: 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 specific content. It includes YouTube channels, podcasts, blogs, and social networks.
What does all this mean for companies and businesses, then? Promoting your content more effectively is now possible because you can target specific audiences genuinely interested in your product or services.
It was not the case in traditional channels 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 you can use for your business.
Blogs are one of the channels you can use to spread your company’s message. It’s different from print media because blogs are much more easily accessible. You can reach more of your targeted audiences and monitor your campaign’s effectiveness.
You may also launch a blog specific to your industry and area of expertise. WordPress and other platforms like Medium are some of what you can use to 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 will want to patronize your business.
Audio content is becoming increasingly 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. They can help businesses and individuals build an online community and use it for PR purposes. 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 relevant to your industry, then the chances are that you will reach people who will be interested in what your company has to offer.
You may even start your podcast so you will have an avenue to discuss many topics related to your industry. Much like 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 an opportunity that you can take advantage of.
Nowadays, it’s more beneficial for businesses to invest in online videos than television because of the reduced costs and better targeting. Advertising on television is costly, and you will have little precision when reaching many 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. You can select social media platforms, including Instagram Business, Facebook Business Manager, and Snapchat Ads for Business.
These platforms can give you advertising spaces where you can share your company’s message in the same way you would offline. But the best part of online advertising is that you can target whom you will show your ads to and also measure the campaign results.
Now that you have all these options for your communication channels that you can use, how will you decide which ones to utilize? A particular discipline focuses on this question and how to create a cross-channel synergy, Integrated Marketing Communication.
This discipline has four main points that it focuses on:
- Customer knowledge – knowing your customer will allow you 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 to 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 most relevant to your needs.