Traditional vs. New Media Channels

Is One More Successful than the Other?

I consistently get asked by small business owners if they should be doing social media marketing to help them grow their business. Before I answer their question, I usually ask them if they understand who their ideal client is and where they hang out. Of course I get that “doe in the headlights” look followed by “no but I should be doing social media marketing”.

If you assume you need a Facebook Business Page because you’ve “heard” that you should have one to market your business, you need to step back and understand some marketing fundamentals so that you make the right choices for your business.

For a business to develop a quality marketing communications plan, you need to understand:

  • The goal of your campaign (i.e. brand awareness, leads, sales);
  • Your target market;
  • The message you want to send them;
  • The communication channel (the media) that makes the most sense for your particular target audience.

Successful marketing happens when you achieve your goal by sending the right message and reaching the right market using the their communication channel (medium) of choice. Picking the right communication channel for your message will contribute significantly to the success of your message reaching your market and therefore, it is important to understand the various communication channels available.

What is a channel?

The following diagram from Dream Systems Media Blog provides a visual look at the history of marketing communications channels.

A Look at the History of Marketing Channels
A Look at the History of Marketing Channels

Marketing channels, also known as media, are the delivery vehicle for your message. These traditionally have included:

  • Publications – newspapers, magazines, journals
  • Radio and television
  • Billboards
  • Telephones
  • US Postal Service
  • Face to face

New media channels are Internet communication vehicles including:

What are your marketing strategies?

Marketing strategies are the types of communication you do to get your message in front of your target market using the most appropriate channel. These include:

  • Advertising
  • Direct marketing
  • Word of mouth
  • Events
  • Public relations

Each of these strategies can use either the traditional or new media and the choice you make is based on which would better reach your market.

  • Advertising in newspapers still works well for some industries and others, not so much. Advertising using pay-per-click in the search engines works extremely well for others. Banner advertising on Websites depends on the message, the website and the audience it reaches.
  • A quality public relations person can get you coverage across both traditional and new media channels.
  • Events can be held in person, via a teleconference or the Internet using conferencing software, depending on the needs of your market.
  • Most businesses benefit from a word of mouth strategy, using in-person networking events and social media.
  • The success of direct marketing using postcards, letters, telephone or email will vary from business to business, but controlled postcards and letter campaigns do work for many of my clients to reach homeowners for services that the may forget they need. Email campaigns definitely work for those businesses who take time to build their in-house lists.

Keep in mind that successful marketing campaigns will usually employ multiple strategies across multiple channels to ensure the message reaches your ideal client.

Why is this important to understand?

Knowing where your target market “hangs out” is important to ensuring your message is delivered to them using the appropriate marketing strategies and their preferred communications vehicle. If your target market isn’t on Facebook, then how will a Facebook Business Page help your marketing effort?

Which communication vehicles do you use to successfully to reach your ideal client?

8 thoughts on “Traditional vs. New Media Channels

  1. I always believed that before doing anything we should think first. This is very important in marketing because using a marketing strategy that is popular without knowing if it will reach your market will surely end up it in loss instead of a gain for the business. Careful planning and evaluation is also important in choosing the right marketing strategy for the business. Thanks Debra.

  2. The foundation of a great marketing campaign is market research. One company I would recommend is NBRI. However, there are others that are good as well. If you want to have a quality campaign, there should be a mix of new and traditional channels to reach your target audience.

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