Medium or Message?
The Medium or the Message? Which is more important and where should we focus our efforts?
There has been much discussion, and confusion surrounding this subject. The answer is simpler than you think: Both!
In today’s world of multiple communication platforms and mediums, we tend to get swayed or confused on where we need to place our efforts. Which medium? How do we format our content to fit each medium? Must we communicate all messaging across all mediums? What demographic content is right for which medium? With so many questions, where do yous tart?
There has been no other time in history where we have had such a barrage of communication methods available to us. It seems that we just get used to one method, learn how to use it effectively, when something new pops up and the discovery starts again. WhatsApp, Snap Chat, Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, iMessage, to name just a few. And let’s not forget the existing older methods of communication: Email, fax, paper mail, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio and the phone. Are these still even viable or accepted methods to communicate and do they provide a given return on the investment of time, effort and money?
Let's look at this from a different perspective. The following 5 questions are the first step in our quest to determine which method and medium is the right one to use:
- What do we want to accomplish?
- What is our desired end goal?
- Where are we now?
- What’s available to us currently?
- What else is out there that we know or don’t know?
These questions lead us to the next step. Here are 6 reasons why we communicate.
- Generate awareness of who you are (Enables you to be found, person or company)
- Get your message to resonate (Create a connection)
- Generate a sense of trust (Create a conversation)
- Create a relationship (Validate your brand)
- Sell something (End goal)
- Sell something again (Start another process which includes some of these steps above)
Now we have a starting point. Now don’t get me wrong, this is by no means easy, however getting these questions answered is vital and results in the creation of our roadmap.
Let’s take these 6 reasons and look at what we should know or do before we begin the task of creating a communications plan. Believe it or not, the information you have just derived from this process will begin your strategy.
Step 3: The T5 of your communication plan.
- Theme- What is the overall look and feel? What is the demographic? Who is the ideal target? What is the ancillary audience? What is measured, providing what information and for what purpose? What is the knowledge derived and what power can you gain?
- Tactics- How are you going to bring action to your plan, and what are the milestones? What technology will be used? When and how will they be utilized?
- Technology/Tools- What technologies do you have at your disposal and what can be used to provide some automation, repeatability, and scalability? Which messaging or communication platforms will be used in this plan?
- Term- What is the period or length of this communication project? There must be a defined end.
- Talent- What do you have available and what do you need to source? Think about marketing execution, content creation, and process development.
So, what do we know? We know where we are, we know where we want to be, what we want to do and we know what we have available to us (technology/tools/talent). Also be aware that at this stage, we don’t know some things. These will only be revealed as we progress in our plan. This must be allotted for and allowed to occur, as nothing ever follows precisely as planned.
So, what does all this have to do with the medium or the message? Everything!
It tells us that we need to think about how our world is communicating today, and what is the best medium for direct communication. It also tells us that once we figure out the medium, we need to understand how that medium works and what is accepted and what is not! It tells us that we must be clear about our message and the content of that message. Does the message provoke a positive response? Does it provoke an action?
A stone tablet and a chisel, or carrier pigeons were once the prime way to communicate, however we don’t see them in use today.
SMS-Voice-Email, and others; all mediums serve a purpose or we would not still be using them. When we find a better way to communicate, we adopt it and dispose of lesser none useful ones. In summary, when you build out your communications strategy, keep in mind these steps to create success:
⇒ Understand, plan and create a strategy on how you want to use technology
⇒ Technology is great, but it’s just a tool. It is highly sophisticated, but a tool none the less
⇒ Use a medium that fits your message, and then create a message that fits your medium
⇒ Think about how and when you would use specific mediums