How Do People Communicate and Consume Information?
Communications is separated into two parts – how we send information and how we consume information.
I write a lot in this space about how we send communication. That’s a big part of what marketing is.
I don’t, however, spend a whole lot of time on how we consume information… which is the more important of the two, really. Effective marketing and communications always starts with understanding where your audience is and how they consume information.
Let’s start here – what does “consume information” mean?
Let’s make this interactive. Do you prefer to read a book, a website or a newspaper? Are you more into watching TV or videos online? Are you an avid listener to the radio or do you like podcasts?
At a basic level, your media habits control how you get information. We all get information differently, too.
I break my media consumption down into two phases – work and home.
For work, email is a great way to contact me. I will text, too. If you’re going to call me, prepare to leave a message. I am very active when in the office, and I prefer it that way. I’m not going to sit and wait for the phone to ring. I also turn my mobile phone off in meetings so I can focus, but I check and respond to email right away afterward.
For home, I read just about everything I can. I read the newspaper, magazines, websites on my phone and laptop (though mostly on my laptop). I also listen. I really like NPR and am a real podcast aficionado.
According to a recent study, I am quite common, too.
As a part of Gen X, 28 percent of us prefer email or text as a primary form of communication. That’s ahead of the web, social media, and smartphone applications.
Millennials, however, are a different story. Social media and the web are tied for first as the preferred method of getting information. Email is barely third.
How we consume information informs all kinds of decisions, from the way we communicate at work to the way we get our news. There isn’t a right or wrong answer, either. It’s just preference, custom, and habit.
As a marketer and communicator, it’s crucial that we know the habits of different groupings of people so we can create and deliver impactful, more activating messages.
How well do you know your audience? Do they seek you out, or do you have to make sure your messages find them?
If you don’t know, find out. Growing your business may depend on it.