Carrier Signals

Have you ever heard of a carrier signal? Unless you’re involved in science or electronics, you probably don’t really know what a carrier signal is, although it impacts your life in ┬áhundreds of ways every day. Radio, television, the internet, and your cell phone all use carrier signals to get information to you and carry your responses away from you. However, alone the carrier wave is nothing. Tune into an empty radio station and there is nothing to listen to. A carrier wave is just a sine wave of a specific frequency – it might be 60Hz, like the electricity in the walls of your house, or it might be 92.7MHz like a radio station. What makes it really useful is its ability to be modified to spread a message.

Sine wave 2

The marketing world is full of carrier waves. Digital marketers call them channels, print marketers call them publications, social media marketers call them networks – but they all do the same thing. That’s why the core of any marketing must be the message – and that’s what you need to be focusing on when you are marketing your business.

It often surprises people who meet me in real life when they discover that I really like print marketing (such as advertorials), or that I believe in direct mail. I’m seen as the social media guy that they met on Twitter. That’s fine, I do love working in the social media space – it provides almost instant feedback on my efforts and it keeps me from being lonely. In truth, I like all forms of marketing – because I love working on getting down to the message of products and services.

Work on your core message, discover what makes you unique, learn about who your customers are, and then craft a message that reaches out to them. And then choose the carrier signal that is most likely to spread your message to your customers. That’s how you succeed in marketing, and that’s how your business is going to grow.┬áSo next time you hear someone say something like “Twitter is the next big thing in marketing”, don’t you believe them. The next big thing in marketing is the same as the last big thing – content. There might be new ways to share that information, but it doesn’t change anything about marketing in any meaningful way.

Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with new tools. I love new tools, and I love teaching other people how to use them effectively. But don’t expect a tool to fix your problems by itself. You still need someone who understands the problem to use the tools correctly. And you might be surprised at just which tools a professional will select.


  1. Spot on! Great post!

  2. Thank you!

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