Do You Really Know How to Communicate? [Chart Included]

Does Your Medium Match Your Marketing Message?

Communications is a critical component of marketing. Crafting the ideal message that engages your target audience and persuades them to purchase your product or service is at the core of marketing. Traditionally, marketers used creative advertising campaigns and paid for media to deliver their message to mass audiences.

In today’s cluttered media environment, having the optimal message is insufficient to break through if you don’t understand the media and context in which it’s received. Social media has changed the way we communicate and the direction in which messages are exchanged. Many marketers overlook how social media is altering the multi-directional aspect of communications.

An important key to effectively communicate with your target audience is to understand the direction in which messages are exchanged. Here are the three basic marketing communications (aka: marcom) directions:

  • One-to-Many: This is the traditional advertising model where marketers blast out a promotional message. The message goes in one direction. In most cases, it’s difficult to determine whether the audience actually receives the message. Further, many consumers don’t trust this type of messaging.
  • One-to-One: This form of communications is more targeted and can even be customer initiated. As a result, it’s more relevant to the customer and has more likelihood of being read and acted upon by the recipient.
  • Many-to-Many: This is a new form of communication that’s evolved recently with the increased use of social media networks that enable users to have conversations with large audiences, some of whom may only listen (often referred to as lurkers) and some of whom may react. This form of communications can be difficult for marketers since participants expect that everyone has the right to communicate and that no one should dominate the conversation. Further, it’s poor form to use this vehicle to just feed your promotional message. By participating, marketers can effectively engage with customers and build their brand while gathering input about their product offering.

To help you understand how to use these different forms of communications in the context of your marketing plan, here’s a chart:

As communications continue to evolve, it’s important to adapt your marketing messaging to ensure that it remains contextually relevant for your audience.

What do you think of multi-directional marketing communications? How do you approach this challenge?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Photo credit: colindunn via Flickr

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  • Joel Kuczmarski

    Your table is brilliant, it lays out the differences at a glance.