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Inbound Marketing: Is the Medium the Message?

By John McTigueJan 2, 2011

Back in the 1960's Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase, "The medium is the message." Dubbed the "high priest of pop culture," McLuhan is credited with being the first to see, study and pontificate on the effect the medium used has on how the message is perceived. The leading guru of the electronic age who prophesied the symbiosis of man and technology, McLuhan would feel right at home with man's increasing reliance on social media. The growing strength of the Internet as the primary form of human communication and interaction would have seemed to him a natural progression toward his vision of a technologically-integrated world. McLuhan is likely to have been among the first to embrace Facebook, Twitter and smart phones and move from outbound to inbound marketing to disseminate his views and publicize his essays and books.

inbound marketing is the medium the message

McLuhan's teachings still resonate with marketing professionals today. How a business spreads its message or promotes its brand -- i.e., the medium used -- can be as critically important to marketing success as the message itself. To reach your target audience, you need to communicate using the same communication tools used by potential customers. For instance, a skateboard company would want to target young, tech-savvy consumers who are heavily into Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. To reach their target market, the company can profit by concentrating its marketing dollars on Twitter feeds, YouTube videos, interactive Facebook pages, location-based services and customizable websites.  

With so many social media choices available, the challenge today is in finding the most effective blend of interactive media to deliver your message to your target consumer group. Creating the right integration of medium and message is one of the primary goals of effective inbound marketing. Creating an effective inbound marketing strategy that will bring your products or services to the attention of your target audience requires four critical decisions:

  1. Who is your target audience?
  2. What is your message?
  3. What media will you use to get your message to your target audience?
  4. How will you engage your audience and respond to their needs?

Once you have developed a message that reflects your company's goals and will resonate with your target audience, the challenge is to choose the perfect combination of social media tools to take that message to potential customers and evoke a positive response. Inbound marketing professionals have the knowledge, experience and measurement tools to choose the right medium for your message. 

Photo credit: Intersection Consulting



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The Author

John McTigue

With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.
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