How To Choose The Right Medium For Your Message

Apr 20 2014, 10:55am CDT | by

From music streaming services to magazine mobile apps, the last few years have brought us an array of options when it comes to choosing a message’s medium. New platforms, like Vine, have even reinvented publishing categories — which, in theory, sounds great.

However, with more options comes more responsibility for brands. Marketers can no longer expect a clever radio tagline to reach the highly coveted Millennial — Millennials have moved on from traditional radio. Essentially, this change has not only encouraged brands to reevaluate their medium of choice, but it has created an industry-wide discussion on the importance of tailoring each message to each medium.

The Importance of the Medium

A journalism professor once told me, “The medium makes the message.” Although he was clearly referring to traditional news or editorials, the idea rings overwhelmingly true when creating and placing a brand’s message. Some advertising agencies know this and dedicate entire departments to choosing the right medium because they realize that null

The secret to measuring social media ROI could be explained in an in-depth, engaging article, but if the article misses its golden audience of marketers and tech leaders, consider that groundbreaking information lost at the bottom of a search results page.

Choosing the Right Medium

Choosing the right medium usually boils down to these three factors, all of which should ultimately determine the best medium for a brand’s message:


Who are you trying to reach? This should be the most crucial factor when choosing a medium, and therefore should also be the most heavily researched. Customer personas for your target audience should be created and analyzed, meaning your team knows everything from the first social site your audience visits to the hashtags they use. For example, if your target is comprised of tech-savvy early adopters working two jobs while in college, the traditional print medium may never reach their eyes.


This is obvious, but it’s definitely worth thinking about. Realize that just because your marketing budget is small, your placements don’t have to be. Instead of blowing your budget on a single TV spot, aim for continuous placements in the niche publications your audience visits. Doing this will do wonders for your long-term results.


What exactly do you want to say to your target audience? Is it a message that will still convey your values in one year? Create a mission, purpose, and goals for your brand’s message, and then decide where that message, along with its mission, purpose, and goals, will best fit.

Choosing the right medium for your message happens differently for everyone. Gary Vaynerchuk, founder of VaynerMedia, argues that the medium is something your audience chooses for you.

“When trying to figure out which medium or platform is right for you, I actually think that it’s not about what you decide at all — it’s about the consumer,” Vaynerchuk said. “I had never been the star of a video in my life until I recorded my first episode of ‘Wine Library TV.’ I didn’t choose for that to be my medium because it’s not about choosing. It’s about going into all of the mediums and then letting the market choose which one you’re best at.”

Simply put, an increase in medium options has placed increased importance on a brand’s medium of choice. With audiences running every which way — from on-demand content to six-second videos — a brand’s method of delivery can make or break its message.

Your creative team or content developers have worked hard to craft an engaging, authentic message. Don’t let that message miss its audience.

John Hall is the CEO of Influence & Co., a company that helps brands build their influence.


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