Marketing Communication Channels: Strategies and Examples

Marketing channels are how businesses reach customers. There are three types of marketing channels: communication, distribution and service channels. Communication channels deliver marketing messages to potential customers. Distribution channels are the delivery method for products. Service channels aid companies in carrying out business transactions. The term supply chain is used to describe the long channel stretching from acquiring raw materials to delivering finished products to customers. The supply chain channel includes elements of other marketing channels.

Communication Channels

Why are marketing communication channels important?

Marketing communication channels are important because they serve as the foundation for all marketing activities. They allow businesses to target different audiences with tailored strategies that maximize their return on investment. Advertising networks also rely on the concept of distinct marketing communication channels. They treat each channel as a separate product, worth a different price. An advertising network, for example, may charge more for billboard advertising than street-level signage if billboards are more effective and in greater demand.

What is a marketing communication channel?

A marketing communication channel, also known as a media channel, is a medium a business uses to communicate a promotional message. Separate from the content of your message, it only describes how you connect audiences to your brand. Marketers may refer to marketing communication channels that predate the internet as “traditional” and those that rely on it as “digital.”

Types of marketing communication channels

Here are the two categories of marketing communication channels, with lists of specific examples:

Traditional marketing communication channels

Traditional marketing channels dont rely on the internet, but they remain a vital tool for many enterprises. Some businesses primarily rely on traditional marketing channels because of their target demographic or because of their business model. Roadside restaurants, for instance, mostly rely on simple signage to attract diners. Since digital advertising increasingly reflects what users already know about and like, some companies may use traditional marketing communication channels to introduce products to consumers unfamiliar with their brand. Examples of traditional marketing communication channels include:

Digital marketing communication channels

Digital marketing communication channels have empowered companies to reach much wider audiences, often for very reasonable costs. One of their transformative effects has been enabling marketers to receive immediate feedback about the performance of an ad. Companies learn almost instantly which ads earn engagement and convert sales and can quickly apply insights to ongoing or future marketing efforts. Examples of digital marketing communication channels include:

How to choose the right marketing communication channel for your business

Here are steps to follow when choosing a marketing communication channel on your organizations behalf:

1. Determine your marketing budget

Determine how large your budget is before developing any firm ideas about your marketing approach. Depending on its size, you may have to omit certain communication channels, or you might confirm your ability to choose whichever you like. If you choose to invest in a variety of communication channels, you benefit from knowing how much of your budget you can allocate to each one.

2. Assess marketing resources and assets

Aside from funding, your marketing campaign relies on other critical resources, such as your marketing team and the products or services you can apply to your campaign. Depending on your marketers strengths, certain communication channels may be more sensible than others. For instance, if your marketers excel at writing engaging content, you may favor creating a blog. If you know a commercial production company that does great work at a reasonable price, you may favor television ads instead.

3. Identify your likely candidates

Often, certain communication channels are obvious candidates while others are clearly not going to work. Simplify your upcoming research process by eliminating any that dont fit your brand and highlighting those that seem promising. At this stage, you can also categorize communication channels so that you can ensure you use one from each category you feel is critical. For example, among the traditional options, you might want one type of signage, one broadcast media ad and one print ad.

4. Research your options

Research enables you to confirm or revise your beliefs about the communication channels best for your business. It also provides you with crucial information about costs that directly affect if and to what extent you invest in each communication channel. Here are several key considerations to research:

5. Rank each communication channel

Once youve learned about each communication channel, assign it a rank based on how well it meets a certain goal, such as geographic relevance or brand match. Once youve assigned a rank for each criteria, decide which you want to weigh most. You might decide monetary cost and time required are your primary concerns, for instance. Compare your budget with what different mixes of communication channels would cost and determine the combination that reaches the most people and offers the best return on investment.

6. Monitor results

Once your campaign goes live, closely monitor how each communication channel performs. You might look at concrete metrics, such as clicks, or you might ask your customers how they learned about your business and see which communication channel they mention most often. As you collect feedback, look for the improvements you can make when launching your next marketing campaign.

Examples of successful marketing communication channel selection

Here are several examples of companies using marketing communication channels that align with their business models and their audiences needs:

Music store example

Heres an example of a music store identifying the best way to expand its online business with the right marketing communication channel:

For fun, a music store posts a review of a new guitar on its social media page. The video earns unusually high engagement, and the store receives requests for similar content. The store owner realizes they can create a video channel that highlights their talented and well-informed employees. Within a few weeks, the channel contains several videos with equipment reviews and guitar playing tips, each earning thousands of views. This low-cost effort results in unprecedented online sales as users from distant locations decide to support the small business, appreciative of its great content.

Fan merchandise store example

Heres how a fan merchandise store owner might use research to select an optimal marketing communication channel:

Someone opens an online store selling T-shirts that reference popular television shows from the past. The store owner researches these shows cast members and learns several of them host podcasts. Online fan forums seem excited about the podcasts, too, convincing the store owner to purchase ads on several of them. When introducing the product, the podcast hosts and former television stars share their genuine enthusiasm for the T-shirts, whereas they typically just read the copy advertisers provide them. Fans listening on computers or mobile devices can immediately look up the store, and sales increase dramatically.

Sandwich franchise example

This example illustrates how the right marketing communication channel can change with time:

After years of expansion, a sandwich franchise earns universal brand recognition. Less concerned with raising brand awareness, the company decides to use the traditional marketing communication channel of physical mail to send coupons. Consumers, who already buy the companys sandwiches occasionally, now have a clear, easy-to-use incentive to visit franchise locations. The company notices a significant increase in sales a few weeks after mailing the first coupons.

FAQ

What is the communication channel in marketing?

A marketing communication channel, also known as a media channel, is a medium a business uses to communicate a promotional message. Separate from the content of your message, it only describes how you connect audiences to your brand.

What are the 5 communication channels?

With the sophistication of common verbal language, the communication focus has shifted to primarily gathering information from a single channel – words, whereas a message in its fullest form is often generated from up to 5 channels; face, body, voice, verbal content and verbal style.

What are the four types of communication channels?

4 Types of communication
  • Non-verbal communication. It is interesting to note that non-verbal communication is used both intentionally and unintentionally. …
  • Verbal communication. When we speak, we are communicating much more than just the content of our words. …
  • Written communication. …
  • Visual communication.

What are the 8 communication channels?

The 8 Most Important Channels for Employee Communication
  1. Employee App. A mobile employee app is a powerful tool. …
  2. Staff Meetings. …
  3. Email. …
  4. Employee Magazine.

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