Marketing communication is essentially anything that sends a message to consumers. Marketing professionals typically use many types of marketing, including both free and paid options when it comes to communicating with customers. Marketers have a tough job, as they need to be able to keep up with the ever-changing communication and technology landscape.
What Is Marketing Media?
Marketing has always been a fast-paced industry. Even in the golden age of advertising, times were changing quickly and if a marketer didn’t keep up, they lost their edge and likely their jobs. Today, marketers live by knowing how, where and when to reach out to a customer base — keeping up means that all marketers should know about digital media marketing.
Consider the way that companies reach out to you. Are you on a mailing list or a “super fan” on Facebook? From Snapchat to email, marketers need to be able to reach their consumers through a method that customers prefer. That’s what marketing media is.
If so much can be done for cheap or free, why is it that agencies still rely on some of these older methods of advertising? The short answer to this question is because they work. The point of advertising communications is to get your message to consumers. TV ads work well for a specific demographic of people, just as Instagram and influencers work well for another.
The other reason is control. When you pay an influencer to send out your message, you get to tailor that message to suit your purposes. You can also dictate what sort of ad the influencer does, the tags and the SEO keywords they include in their posts.
Likewise, when you pay for a spot on a podcast, you get to control that message. If your company is exceptionally brand-focused, they may want to do more paid ads than unpaid due this factor of message/brand control.
Traditional Types of Marketing Media
There are a number of types of marketing media available to today's marketers. For instance, traditional broadcasting methods have proven very effective over time. Television and radio reach large numbers of audience members, though the cost of each is a bit higher than certain other types of marketing media. Radio regularly touts itself as being one of the best ways to reach a captive audience, and it definitely is an excellent choice for markets that might spend significant time in their vehicles.
Other more traditional methods of marketing media include news outlets, such as ads in magazines and newspapers. You can also send a press release to a number of publications, whether print or electronic, in an effort to gain traction. Print ads may also take the form of direct mail or on billboards, either of which may prove very effective, depending on your product or service.
In-person marketing is a traditional but effective way to let people know that your brand exists. Going door-to-door, sending a representative to a store, mall or relevant event, or sponsoring an event can be very effective in raising brand awareness. Being involved in the community or a charity may also let potential customers know about your brand while also providing a great reason to buy from you.
Networking is also an essential aspect of any company's marketing strategy. Join local business professional associations, attend conferences and seminars and send representatives to trade shows. By having your brand name in front of other companies as well as potential customers, your company can greatly increase its brand awareness and word-of-mouth praise. Keep in mind that people do business with people they know and like, so gaining the respect of other business owners is key.
Modern Types of Marketing Media
Social media and other online platforms, including work with influencers, is a very cost-effective method of marketing. While it is possible to pay for highly effective and targeted ad campaigns on networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, it's also possible to generate a great deal of brand awareness via online word of mouth. Inviting users to like your page and tag a friend in order to enter a contest, for instance, is a popular way to generate interest. Influencers very popular with your target market are a great tool in online contests and general online marketing.
Online marketing can also take the form of paid search ads to get your brand name at the top of search results in your category. If you don't wish to spend the kind of money often necessary for an effective pay-per-click campaign, it's possible to grow your brand awareness by way of SEO or content marketing efforts. By providing relevant and original content that search engines believe will be useful to consumers, you can rank higher in search and gain organic marketing benefits.
It is also possible to conduct marketing on social media without directly paying for advertisements or sponsored posts. Content marketing is a fabulous way to gain attention from your target audience, and by offering unique, valuable or entertaining posts, you can showcase your brand. Many social media success stories actually involve brands that use very few ads at all and instead include posts showcasing their products being used.
Example of Marketing Decision Making
With all of these choices available, how can a marketer determine what is the right choice for their company? By careful research of your target market, including via examining the strategies of competitors and conducting surveys and other market research, you can begin to assemble a strategy that will work for your brand.
Before settling on a marketing strategy, it is a good idea to conduct some basic consumer research to be sure your target market is likely to respond to the marketing methods you are considering. Some of the most popular methods of research are interviews, surveys, user tests and focus groups.
Four Types of Marketing Strategies
Without question, is a lot of thought that must go into an advertising campaign. To be successful, you need to know your client and that client’s customer base.
While your client has done their research, you may need to do your own. Then you need to get the campaign together to grab the consumer’s attention. There are four types of marketing strategies.
Strategy No. 1: Research
Before anything related to the ad campaign is done, you should do research on your target market. When you are researching the client’s target market, you are looking for three primary components of that demographic: needs, interests and motivations.
- Needs: What the customer buys because they have to, and what is important enough to the consumer that they consider it a necessity as opposed to a luxury.
- Interests: The consumer isn’t going to be interested in very much as a matter of course, but you can find out what they are interested in with the right method of research.
- Motivations: Motivations are also relevant to customer data. Generally speaking, every demographic can be summarized by a common ideology. Operating at odds with that ideology will likely not endear you to your consumer.
In all methods of research, confirmation bias is to be avoided at all costs. To ensure that you have useful data for your ads, you must have impartial data. Without unbiased data, you run the risk of losing out on a demographic altogether.
Strategy No. 2: Online Media
In modern times, most companies use online communication and digital marketing mediums as their primary marketing device. There is an excellent reason to do so: A whopping 79% of smartphone users purchased items primarily off of their phones in 2018. Without reaching people where they already are, you won’t get the customers you otherwise could.
Ad space can be purchased online for varying price points. Depending on the budget you are given, this may be a great option. However, if your core demographic doesn’t respond to website ads, you may find very little success. One example of a paid ad that may be effective is the sponsored result on a Google search.
Other forms of online marketing include the social media outreach that Alexei was doing in the above example. He knew where his customers spent time online and utilized the resources that he had. The methods that Alexei chose were free, which is an important aspect of online marketing.
Strategy No. 3: Promotions
Promotions work to reach people who are outside of a regular customer base by advertising products and raising brand awareness. It also serves to paint a company in a positive light.
One of the most popular forms of promotion is a discount. There are entire groups and websites online dedicated to finding sale promotions. By putting your sales ad where those customers will find it and share it, you may get some new customers. Many customers will make spontaneous purchases if they think that they are getting a good deal.
Strategy No. 4: Advertising
While there are expenses incurred for the types of marketing listed above, paid advertising is a bit different. As part of a paid marketing strategy, the bulk of the budget can typically be found with physical advertising.
In-store promotions and other traditional promotional methods are still in use today. Colorful balloons around a “SALE” sign outside a business or a large billboard are still ways to get consumer attention. Depending on your target demographic for a specific campaign, you may even want to use a physical mailer or newspaper ad.
Typically, a thorough marketing strategy that lays out exactly how advertising will occur is prepared. Paid broadcasts, podcasts, print, TV, radio and even aerial messages are all strategies that may be used.
Publicity Concerns in Marketing
Public relations are significant to a brand’s image. Domestic and international companies alike can get into trouble in the press if one of their CEOs is caught engaging in bad behavior. Word of mouth is still the most successful form of promotion, for better or for worse.
No matter how hard you try, an agency cannot completely control publicity. This can be positive, such as if your brand is publicly praised by a celebrity. On the flip side, if a local news station picks up a story on a problem a consumer has with your brand, you may be unable to stop the spread of the story.
- Criminally Prolific: Marketing Communications Strategy
- MaRS: What is Marketing Communication?
- Marketing91: Importance of Marketing Communication
- Management Study Guide: Marketing Communications
- Medium: Everything You Wanted to Know about Marketing Communications
- Feedster: The Importance of Communication in Marketing
Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She has been writing on business-related topics for nearly 10 years. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (www.wordsmythcontent.com) and she works with a number of small businesses to develop B2B content for their websites, social media accounts, and marketing materials. In addition to this content, she has written business-related articles for sites like Sweet Frivolity, Alliance Worldwide Investigative Group, Bloom Co and Spent.