Unpopular Opinion: There is no communications channel that “doesn’t work”
Every so often, this topic rears its ugly head. I see it all over social media. I hear it at conferences. I hear again it in webinars.
There is no communications channel that flat out “doesn’t work” — one might not work for your organization, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for another. Making blanket statements to this effect can be misleading and even dangerous.
The keys to a successful communications campaign are to:
- Identify who you are trying to reach.
- Figuring out the messaging that is compelling and relevant to those groups.
- Identifying what channels are the most effective in reaching them.
All the while keeping in mind that the aforementioned effective channels can be ones you are currently or are not currently using. It can also be a variation on this — you’re using a particular channel but tailoring the content to a group that isn’t likely to use that channel. This just means shifting the target and messaging, not abandoning the channel.
The channels I hear this the most about are the “traditional” ones: print ads, direct mail, radio, and television.
You can’t make the blanket statement that “print doesn’t work” without looking at the target groups and the market in which they reside. In some markets, print ads in a particular publication are very effective and in others they are not.
The same can be said for digital channels. For example, if you are trying to reach teenagers on Facebook, you’re probably not seeing results (because that is generally not their platform of choice) but that doesn’t mean that Facebook doesn’t work. You just need to change your approach and use Facebook to speak to a different group that uses it actively.
Determining your mix of channels requires doing a little research and data analysis to land on what works best for you.