ANALYSIS OF COMMUNICATION CHANNELS USED IN THE EDUCATIONAL BOOK PUBLISHING INDUSTRY IN KENYA

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ABSTRACT
This study sought to investigate communication channels used in the educational book publishing industry. The objectives guiding this study were: To find out communication channels used by school textbook publishing firms to reach existing potential customers; to investigate the professional role of the personnel involved in the communication process and to explore how well the communication channels used suited the clients’ needs. Qualitative approach was used to carry out the research. The researcher used interviews and document analysis to collect data. The study focused on three major school text book publishers. Respondents included: employees from each of the three publishing firms; respondents from two bookshops; teachers and parents. This study was guided by the Adaptive Structuration Theory. Data gathered were thematically analysed and presented in the narrative form. Findings from this study show that school textbook publishing firms lack a defined communication department in terms of staff and procedural systems that would provide for informed decision making. As a result, most of the channels used to reach potential customers are unsuitable to the targeted clientele. This study recommends that: trained communication personnel be hired to handle the communication roles of the organisation; the communication practitioners in the organisation should be part of the decision making process; there should be market segmentation that allows for tailored communication involving different communication channels targeting different groups; the organisations should have documents outlining procedures to follow in deciding, implementing and evaluating the success of any communication process targeting consumers. In conclusion, the study sites lack of an elaborate communication department as the cause of this situation, and recommends that its establishment would help in informed and effective decision making on the communication function of organisations.

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