November 07, 2014

Effective Marketing: The Convergence of Earned, Owned and Paid Media

By Manish Mishra, Vice President (Sales)

Social media and mobile phones have transformed the digital landscape, but while many businesses have been slow to adapt, others have internalised the wrong lessons.

In my last column, I discussed how the concepts of “Above the Line” and “Below the Line” Marketing are no longer relevant in a digital world. It didn't take long for marketers to develop three new categories: Earned, Owned and Paid Media.  Basically,
  • Paid Media are ads
  • Owned Media consists of content you control, like a website and
  • Earned Media happens when consumers talk about you and share your content

These lines are blurred as well, though.

The most effective marketing campaigns include all of these elements, along with clear goals and a comprehensive strategy.

Earned, Owned & Paid

A few years ago, former Forrester analyst Sean Corcoran published a popular table describing the benefits and challenges associated with these three type of media:

To see how these categories overlap, it can be useful to visualise them with a Venn Diagram:

An Example: Sony Music - Malaysia

Take the case of Sony Music, which purchased banner ads in Malaysia across a wide range of popular mobile channels -- Community, Entertainment, Mobile Content, News and Search Portals - to drive mobile users to its Facebook fan page.

The campaign generated over 10 million ad impressions (in a country with a population of just 30 million) and sparked engagement on Facebook.

 Sony Music purchased ads (paid media), directing mobile users to its social media site (owned content) where people then engaged in conversations and shared posts (earned media).

Another Example: MTN - South Africa

In South Africa, mobile carrier MTN blogs about sports, apps, events, mobile devices and more. Paid media drives consumers to the blog.

Some pages of the blog are pure owned media.  MTN is in complete control, just like on a website.  Other pages though engage consumers, who interact to win prizes and share their views.

An Integrated Approach

The key lesson here is that you can't just 'build it and hope they'll come'. You also shouldn't simply rely on Facebook ads to promote your social media presence. Effective marketers know it's essential to drive traffic from outside a closed ecosystem as well. These days, too many companies think that all they need is a Facebook page or website. But even if you own content - whether it's a blog or series of mobile sites - you still need to promote these properties to develop a following.