Discussing advertising options has become increasingly complex in the last 10 years. Part of this is because consumers are no longer passive recipients of marketing images and words, but rather they are interactive participants who choose when and dictate how they wish to be informed. As a result, companies have begun to market differently, using an ever-growing number of outlets and avenues in addition to traditional media. Ultimately, this complicates marketing for small business owners who are simply trying to get their message across effectively.
Learn The Basics
The main categories of media in marketing are perhaps best defined in the McKinsey Quarterly article, “Beyond Paid Media: Marketing’s New Vocabulary,” in which they are broken down into three main types: paid, owned, and earned. Each category lends itself to different goals and tactics, and each has individual benefits and disadvantages. While each is useful in and of itself, when properly combined, they form a synergy that can be leveraged into a campaign far more effective than the sum of its individual parts. They are the building blocks of your marketing house; the foundation upon which your marketing, advertising, and sales goals are built.
Paid media includes much of what we consider “traditional marketing outlets,” in that it involves marketing opportunities companies pay to use. Television commercials, billboards/signs, print ads, search engine marketing, and third-party website banner or margin ads are all forms of paid media. A new retailer might take out a print ad in a local newspaper or a website might utilize pay-per-click advertising on a social media site; these are forms of paid media.
Owned media is different from paid media, in that, with owned media, the company wishing to advertise actually owns the platform through which it is sharing its message. Most notably, this includes company websites. Often, one of the primary goals of paid media is to connect consumers to the relevant owned media, such as when a paid ad lists a company website. On the flip side, owned media may also direct consumers to more targeted forms of owned media, such as when a website lists its company’s store locations.
Lastly, we have earned media. Just as many forms of paid and owned media are found online, the consumer-driven category of earned media also boasts a strong foothold in online marketing. Earned media is not purchased, and it doesn’t truly come from the advertiser, although it can cost money. For example, positive online reviews on opinion sites are a form of earned media. Contests on social media sites such as Facebook in which consumers share ideas, photos, or opinions about a company’s products or services are forms of earned media. Offline, word-of-mouth reputations and customer referrals are also considered forms of earned media.
Putting it Together
Typically, owned media comes first in building your marketing house. As your company and goals grow, paid media building blocks are combined with owned media to strengthen your foundation and form a solid structure. Only when these two elements are cemented together properly can earned media truly begin to be integrated into the blueprint. It is a delicate balance at first, often seeming rather like a house of cards. But as owned and paid media fuse together and earned media begins to fill in the gaps, the three form an independent structure on which your company can rely.
Making it Work
Making all the pieces of each marketing element in these varied media forms come together is no easy task. To make it all work and do it in a cost-effective manner, most small businesses need some outside intervention, a marketing architect so to speak. Talk to your marketing expert about the forms of media you’re using and how you can leverage those paid and owned pieces into positive earned media, conversions, and sales. And stay tuned to the TribalVision blog. Next up: our views on owned and earned media in today’s market.
Source: McKinsey Quarterly, “Beyond Paid Media: Marketing’s New Vocabulary”: David Edelman and Brian Salsberg