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Media Concentration vs Media Dispersion – Which is Best?

Azizza Brinson

Azizza Brinson

Director of Media Strategy

The marketing industry has undergone a significant transformation in recent years with the rise of digital platforms and the expansion of content across various channels. In fact, almost 80% of marketers say the industry has changed more in the past three years than in the last 50. 

As a result of this changing landscape, brands have to make strategic decisions on how to most effectively distribute their message to target audiences. Whether you are a small startup or a large multinational corporation, understanding the different media strategies available to you is critical to your success. Two ways to approach this is to weigh the differences of media concentration and media dispersion.  

So, what is “media concentration”?

This describes the ownership of multiple media outlets or platforms by one company or a few companies. This strategy is used when a company seeks to consolidate and control a significant portion of the media industry to gain market power, increase profitability, and potentially limit competition by establishing influence through a particular outlet or channel.  

This strategy is often selected if brands are worried about sharing space with competitors, as it offers increased visibility and consistent brand messaging. This approach allows marketers to create high frequency and repetition within their chosen outlets.  

Some advantages of this approach include: 

  • Cost-effectiveness: When focusing on a few key channels, brands can allocate marketing budgets more efficiently, allowing them to maximize the impact on their target audience. 
  • Increased visibility & brand recognition: By concentrating efforts on channels with a high reach among your target audience, businesses can improve chances of engaging with the right consumer all while strengthening recognition in the market.  
  • Better control over messaging: Limiting the number of channels in use ensures your messaging is consistent and aligned with the overall marketing strategy. 

However, with the approach’s ‘all eggs-in-one-basket’ nature, companies can risk an advertisement being poorly received or prioritizing a channel that only reaches a fraction of the intended audience. Over the years, I’ve noticed a few issues that can arise when utilizing this approach:  

  • Limited reach: By focusing on a select few channels, you can potentially reduce the impact of a campaign, you may miss out on opportunities to reach potential customers who are active on other channels.  
  • Dependency: Relying too heavily on a few key channels can leave brands vulnerable to changes in those channels. For example, if a social media platform changes its algorithm, it could significantly impact your ability to reach your audience. 
  • Lack of diversity: Limited channels can mean limited opportunities & experimenting with reaching audiences in new and innovative ways. This lack of diversity can limit the ability to adapt to changing trends and audience behaviors. 
  • Overexposure: Concentrating focus on a few channels’ risks overexposing an audience to a message. This can lead to audience fatigue and a reduced impact on the market. 

Media dispersion

In contrast, a media dispersion strategy involves distributing your brand’s marketing efforts across multiple channels and platforms including social media, television, print media, radio, and search engines. Marketers normally favor a dispersion approach because it improves testing and/or reinforcement.  

A diverse range of media means more people are able to talk about who’s entering the market, and lesser-known players can raise conversations that may end up moving the needle. With marketers leveraging an average of four different marketing channels in their role, media dispersion is commonly adopted for companies if they know their target audience well enough to understand that they can’t be reached by one single media outlet.

Some benefits include:

  • Increased reach: By utilizing multiple channels, you can reach a wider audience and improve the overall reach of a campaign. 
  • Greater flexibility: Using multiple channels means brands can adapt to changing trends and behaviors and experiment with new ways of reaching target audiences. 
  • Improved targeting & reduced dependency: You can target specific segments of your audience more effectively, tailor messaging to each channel and reduce vulnerability to changes or disruptions, such as algorithm updates. 
  • Better insights: A multi-channel approach means you can gather more data and chart insights on audience behaviors and allowing for a refined marketing strategy.  

While a media dispersion strategy reduces your dependency on any one platform, it is important to note that this strategy requires more resources and can be more challenging to manage than a concentration strategy. These can include:  

  • Higher cost and reduced control: Utilizing multiple channels can be more expensive than focusing on a select few, requiring additional resources and potentially higher costs to manage. Also, more channels may mean less control over how a message is presented to and perceived by the audience. 
  • Reduced consistency and efficiency: With a more dispersed approach, it can be more challenging to ensure that your brand’s messaging and identity remain consistent across all channels, potentially reducing impact and recognition.  
  • Higher risk of dilution & measuring: There is a risk that messaging could become diluted or unclear, potentially reducing the impact of your overall marketing strategy and making it challenging to measure. 

Picking what works for you

Most brands want to foster better relationships, not only with stakeholders but with consumers and to cultivate a positive reputation that will drive impact and revenue. Because that’s the whole point of it all right? The biggest takeaway is that there’s no one-size-fits-all, and the decision to choose between media concentration and media dispersion depends on your business’ specific goals, target audience, and available resources. 

The best approach usually involves a balance of both strategies, using media concentration to build a strong brand foundation and media dispersion to diversify and expand the brand’s reach. With careful consideration and testing, you can find the right mix of media concentration and media dispersion to achieve your goals and drive growth. 

Need help? Hotwire Global can assist with getting your message in front of the right people, at the right time! From corporate storytelling and broadcast media, we’re confident we have the solution for you. Also, while you’re here, our team has created an outlook on the current media landscape and trends we’ll see throughout 2023, take a look here!