Finding the Right Channel: An Analysis of Communication Channel Preferences Amongst Potential Extension Clientele
Keywords:communication channel preferences, extension programming, audience analysis
New communication methods and technology continue to emerge and evolve – as do societal trends – making it paramount that Extension professionals stay abreast with the preferred communication channels of potential clientele. By being aware of clients’ preferred communication channels, Extension professionals can increase the number of participants who benefit from their work while also improving the quality of the message being delivered. The present study examined the preferred communication channels of potential Extension clientele specifically when gathering information regarding their community. Specifically, a non-probability opt-in sampling procedure was employed whereby respondent (N = 3,347) communication channel preferences were analyzed from an audience segmentation and uses and gratifications perspective. Overall, the results indicated the most effective channels through which to reach potential Extension clientele under 50 years of age is through the internet and social media, while word of mouth and newspaper are preferred channels for those 50 and over. However, the results of the study indicate there are a variety of potential communication channels with varying degrees of preference among different audiences. Using study results as a starting point to inform communication channel strategy may help to Extension professionals ensure the correct message is provided to the correct audience via the correct channel.