Paid Owned and Earned media – the benefits of owning them all

Few marketers today have the luxury of being about to combine all forms of media under one umbrella. It takes a certain size company to be able to take one individual and let them control all forms of media. If your company is too big then you get owners of each media and the silos they create – minimizing your chance to optimize across them all. If your firm is too small then the paid media budget is meaningless and you’re really just maximizing your earned and owned media mostly.

I got a chance a few years back to be the Global Director of Integrated Marketing for BearingPoint where I had all 3 forms of media under me – Paid advertising and sponsorships (like our sponsorship of Phil Mickelson and the PGA), plus Earned media (both traditional and social) and our Owned media (meaning our interactive and email lists). I would like to say it was a very “enlightened” leader who asked me to take on that role but in reality it was born out of necessity to ensure we got the maximum benefit of every dollar we spent. So the big goal was optimization of message across all channels.

The business objective was simple – make our $10 million dollars in media spend feel like our competitors (who by the way were spending $65 and $100 million on media). Simple task but hard to deliver in reality since there is no way to buy bargain basement priced media and get Madison Avenue results. There was also no way to gauge just how effective that media was with our target audience. I remember buying media on the Golf Channel because that’s what the CEO told me his friends’ watch. Talk about gut level media planning!

But today is a different day. Today you can use the world’s largest focus group (ie all the social data from the last 2+ years) to find your audience online and model them to predict how effective your media purchases would be. With a bulk of my media purchase going toward TV, Print and Radio – it would have been great to be able to say to the CEO that I found a way to make his media spend feel like so much more instead of wasting it on golf to please a few friends.

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