A firm grasp of varying communication methodologies and the mediums within which they are transmitted may offer appreciably considerable advantages toward the enhancement of efficiency and success of the IMC mix. The shift in the communications paradigm brought about by the modernized online business standard has enabled these advantages via increased acceptance and widespread use of various Web 2.0 technologies, e.g. social media, blogs, webinars, etc. Central to each of these is the interactive component, which is to say the ability for two-way conversation to take place, a template which allows for the transformation of buyers into brand and/or product advocates (Smith & Zook, 2011). Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that optimized choice of communication types and mediums can be strategically significant to the impact such selections offer a business. This paper will attempt to evaluate and measure diverging kinds of communication and mediums employed in the delivery of such in an effort to simplify targeted audience engagement.
There are three formats of information distribution readily identified in communication types and mediums; mass media, the World Wide Web, and personal contact. Each of these offers changeable complexity levels, wherein mass media is a one-to-many reach, personal contact a one-to-one reach, and the Web a many-to-many reach (Schneider, 2011). In the one-to-many exemplar, the conversation is limited to a one-way approach, and no opportunity is allowed for interactivity, whereas the one-to-one (personal contact) and many-to-many (Web) approaches facilitate interactive conversation. While personal contact is the obvious augmented choice, it is not feasible across the span of the available marketplace populace, making the Web the most appropriate venue available for the dissemination of information in different communication types and mediums (Moutinho & Chen, 2008).
With these factors in mind, an examination of dissimilar communication types and mediums will follow.
Different Communication Types
Different communication types include, among many others, advertising, branding, direct marketing, packaging, and promotion. These are distinguished in the succeeding manner:
- Advertising – The word is taken from the Latin, ad vertere, which loosely translates as, “to turn toward.” Advertising attempts to encourage and convince the targeted audience to carry out a motivated action, and turn toward the advertised brand and/or product in a favorable manner, presumably with the end-result being a purchase.
- Branding – The term “brand” is a noun, and refers to those uniquely individual characteristics such as the name, term, design, etc. The term “branding” is a verb, and describes those activities, e.g. product benefits, customer service, value proposition, and other effects which serve to create a positive impression of the brand within the mind of the consumer.
- Direct marketing – Direct marketing disregards specific channels and instead attempts to communicate with the customer in an unequivocal and absolute manner. This is achieved through:
- Text messaging
- Online display ads
- Outdoor advertising
- Print advertising
- Database marketing
- Packaging – Graphic design is used as a marketing communications technique in packaging, employing colors, textual and pictorial information, as well as the brand to serve as inducements for the customer to purchase the product. Packaging represents the final link in the marketing communications chain.
- Promotion – Along with price, product, and place, promotion is one of the classic four P’s of marketing, and signifies efforts to increase the knowledge and understanding of the product or brand within the consciousness of the consumer. Additionally, it is among those items within the promotional mix, which also include personal selling, advertising, sales promotion, direct marketing and publicity. The intentions of promotion include:
- Information exposition to the marketplace
- Amplification in product demand
- Product delineation
Different Communications Mediums
Different communication mediums include those channels and methodologies used to distribute and propagate the marketing message, including face-to-face communication, two-way remote communication, written communication, one-way audio and video communication, and social media communication. These are described thusly:
- Face-to-face communication – Face-to-face communication involves that category of personal communication which takes place amongst parties in the same geo-physical location, and includes all forms of verbal and non-verbal information dissemination. It is highly effective secondary to its immediacy in both transmission and feedback, allowing for instantaneous adjustment in messaging as necessary. Examples include meetings and live presentations.
- Two-way remote communication – Two way remote communications occurs when both sender and recipient occupy different locations, but are able to correspond in real-time. Although effective, it is limited due to restriction of non-verbal cues. Examples include phone calls, text messages, and teleconferences.
- Written communication – Written communication takes place whenever the delivered data is inscribed or printed, whether proper or casual. The distinction lies within the lack of immediacy, thus delaying feedback. As well, written information may not completely convey the message as thoroughly as those methods which employ a verbal component. Examples include letters, reports, eMail, blogs and tweets.
- One-way audio and video communication – One-way audio and video communication, typically referred to as broadcast, is data which has been pre-recorded and accessed by the receiver in a time-shifted fashion, i.e. during a period of their choosing. The overriding issue for concern encountered is that feedback is often limited to posted comments or returned calls. Examples include voicemail, podcasts and audio/video presentations (both online and generated over television and radio).
- Social media communication – Social media communication has become almost ubiquitous in its use within online business. Blending the features of virtually all other aforementioned communication mediums, social media is influentially commanding and authoritative, allowing audio/video presentations, immediate feedback, and a written record of the proceedings. Management of the venue allows for team collaboration of postings and responses. Drawbacks may be encountered if appropriate reply is delayed or non-existent, and considerable budgeted resource should be committed to ensure optimized service levels and best practices. Examples include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and SlideShare.
(Project Management Skills, 2015)
It is important to remember that the communication type and medium selected are just as important as the integrated marketing message being transmitted. Attention must always be given to the rationale and function of the communication, the intended audience of the message, and the nature of the data being transmitted. Thoughtful consideration of these factors go far toward the insurance of a successful choice of communication types and mediums.
Moutinho, L., & Chen, C. S. (2008). Problems in Marketing: Applying Key Concepts and Techniques. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Project Management Skills. (2015). Types of Communication Medium for Project Managers. Retrieved March 14, 2015, from Project Management Skills: http://www.project-management-skills.com/types-of-communication-medium.html
Schneider, G. P. (2011). Electronic Commerce. Boston: Cengage Learning.
Smith, P. R., & Zook, Z. (2011). Marketing Communications : Integrating Offline and Online with Social Media. London: Kogan Page.
Wikipedia. (2015). Marketing communications. Retrieved March 14, 2015, from Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing_communications
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