Exchange System in Marketing Communications

In our last Media, Money & Metrics class we had an interesting discussion about exchange systems in marketing communications, as presented in Strategic Affiliate Marketing by Goldschmidt, Junghagen and Harris. We talked about how this model doesn’t accurately reflect what is presently happening. In their book they mention “marketing communications is a set of activities to promote products, services, and firms to a market,” (27). The authors talk about how marketing communications are an intentional sharing of information between multiple different sources; but as we see today, information, and sources are quite different.


Today, the approach to intention is still there, except it now comes from different angles. No longer does a company need to rely on the assistance from an advertising agency to get their message out to the consumer. Communication is more open and doesn’t just come to your television set courtesy of an advertiser engaging with an agency. This makes marketing harder for companies now that consumers can affect their brand image with just a tweet or a viral video gone wrong. For example, a recent NYT article about blog talks about why regular people are being able to influence others outside of traditional media…because people want to listen. According to the article, “Marketing companies are keen to get their products into the hands of so-called influencers who have loyal online followings because the opinions of such consumers help products stand out amid the clutter, particularly in social media.”

The model from the book describes the exchange from the advertiser, consumer and media, and is a great example of how things used to be. “All communication involves sharing of information between two or more parties, where a key success factor is a common understanding of what is communicated,” (27). What is important to remember is there still needs to be an exchange, it’s just happening in a different way.

Looking at the model we see many connections before the message reaches the consumer. These exchanges are very intentional, deal with money and are organized. I would like to propose, much like we did in class, taking another look at the model and seeing how it would look like today. Media no longer “function[s] as channels for communication” (28), we have built our own channels using blogs, twitter, video, and more. The consumer is now the media creator, and content publisher and advertiser all at once.

For marketing communications, I don’t think this model is dead, it is “generic” and relevant for some marketing campaigns, but there needs to be an understanding that it can also be simplified to just one bubble, consumer.


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