Core Marketing Communication Channels And Trends You Should Be Using in 2020

The Core Marketing Communication Channels And Trends

With over a hundred marketing communication channels that CMOs can use to deliver marketing content, it’s close to impossible to support all the channels at once, no matter the budget. So in these times of omnichannel and multichannel strategies, it’s important to focus on prioritizing marketing communication channels that deliver maximum returns. 

Should we concentrate on digital marketing communication? Or can offline marketing communication channels still deliver a good ROI? Let’s see what the world’s pros, official surveys, and the hottest marketing trends have to say about the core marketing communication channels you should be using this year.

Marketing communication channels to choose from

To help you get started, you’ll need a list. And Smart Insights have created the most comprehensive list of all marketing communication channels in the world with a whopping 106 channels listed and categorized. 

The list is regularly updated and can be used for strategic analysis and marketing communication planning (a paid version contains 126 channels classified across 35 extra attributes). They’ve also added a guide on how to use it.

marketing communication channels list
This is just a fraction of the marketing communication channels list compiled by Smart Insights

To choose the key marketing communication channels, we also need to look into tendencies for 2020.

While marketers satisfy the needs of today, they must also predict and prepare for the forthcoming trends. To give us a glimpse of tomorrow, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) published a report The Path to 2020 which analyzes the main marketing trends to anticipate this year.

The EIU grounded their conclusions on research and detailed interviews with leading CMOs and senior marketing executives all over the world. More than 500 took part in the survey, and we’ll cover some of the key changes that marketing experts should anticipate in the next couple of years.

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Personalization and user engagement will remain the top approaches in marketing communication from now until the end of 2020. But the poll participants claim that the complexity of the marketing process will be steadily increasing. 

They name two causes for this: 

  1. Fast-evolving technology;
  2. Marketing communication channels formed by interconnected locations and objects

To make it even more intricate, technology now allows customers to move back and forth in the conventional and underground cultures (counter-culture), and you have to find a way to efficiently interact with both using multiple communication channels.

Admitting this, leading marketing experts claim that this year they will concentrate specifically on interactive marketing communication channels that allow for personalization of customer experience

The top three of them are:

  • social media (63%)
  • internet (53%)
  • mobile apps (47%)

Publishing-centric communication channels like radio, television, and print scored far less.

“You’re no longer marketing AT people. You’re influencing them in an environment where they’ve already had a chance to form a view.” 

– Kristin Lemkau, CMO, JPMorgan Chase

Customer experience is fundamental

Marketing experts are no longer providers of information for marketing communication. Search engines and social media help clients find the specs, pricing and other information about the product by themselves. So users already understand what you can give them.

This brought marketing specialists to the idea that to advance user engagement and personalization, it is essential to work on the customer experience (CX), whereas the supreme goal of customer experience is to engage users with the help of powerful experiences, based on the context.

Implementing a more powerful customer experience is great both for the client and the business. When EIU analyzed the best marketing performance in comparison with best CX practices, they found that 2/3 of all the customer experience leaders are also leaders in marketing performance.

About 86% of surveyed CMO and senior marketing execs stated that they intend to be in charge of end-to-end CX in 2020. Marketing’s complete ownership of customer experience means CMOs will take up a bigger role in organization-wide decisions. In fact, almost 90% of the interviewed believe marketing departments will make a great impact on business strategy in 2020.

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New trends in cultivating personalization

As consumers become more independent, businesses are embracing new methods to grow brands through engagement and personalization. Let’s have a look at a couple of trends.

✔ Don’t get stuck on a “great idea”
Some time ago, marketing communication used to be clustered around some “great idea.” In other words, a particular idea that represents the product or brand across all the target audiences. Instead, today marketers apply analytical data to generate “Big Capabilities.” That is, immediately learning the context a user is in and then building personalization of their comprehensive client experience across various devices, platforms, and locations.

✔ Identify your “best reality”
The best version of client reality is an integrated image of the client. It’s obtained from many different data sources including viewed content, psychographics, purchase behavior, and customers’ devices. Marketing experts apply this comprehensive picture to predict where the client will go next and to supervise their actions.

✔ Communicate with clients directly, not via advertisements
Lots of marketing specialists assume that in 2020 they can “communicate” with their clients through personalization and technology. The times of indirect marketing communication like advertising and mass media are slowly fading away. Direct communication is on the rise.

✔ Aim to be useful and helpful
Can your product, service or brand be valuable for a client? How? To find out, one consumer products company initiated a partnership with Google to examine over 11 billion global yearly searches linked to salon hair care and styling. Using these reports, the company produced targeted value content for its marketing communication purposes and spread via its online video channel.

✔ Get noticed in the noise by being quieter
Many experts claim that the personalized CX approach performs extremely well in the environment overstuffed with marketing information. Companies must help people simplify their life so that we all don’t lose our minds as this world grows more complicated every day. The brands that concentrate on this idea will open the true potential of CX data.

“The experience is the marketing and the experience is what drives performance.”

– Kristin Lemkau, JPMorgan Chase


All the marketing communication channels are becoming “programmatic.” This term might evoke negative connotations, but the essential concept that most of the marketing communication channels can be accessed via data input like an API is a powerful idea. 

At this time, social marketing communication channels are successfully implementing this idea. The rest of the digital marketing channels are also gradually getting on board with it, and perhaps in a couple of years, we’ll see traditional media like radio and TV starting to support programmatic approach in marketing communication as well.

In all cases, genuine success is not just about the trends, tools, and channels – it’s still about your product and the value it brings to your customers.

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