Today’s marketers are in the grips of a revolution that has heated up over the past 12 months and looks like it is only going to become hotter. Traditional and social media are becoming foundational in both consumer and business marketing communications. What’s also apparent are the rules of marketing planning have forever changed. Sean Corcoran, an analyst at Forrester Research, has reported some very interesting data on today’s three types of media: paid, owned, and earned. What’s critical to a marketer’s success is knowing about and how to leverage each of these media types and how to integrate them into one cohesive program. Let’s look at each briefly.
If you follow the genesis of marketing, communications and advertising you see that it first started with “getting the word out” and various vehicles were used toward that goal. Newspapers, magazines, billboards, radio and television were among the top choices. The media industry became more sophisticated when direct marketing, telemarketing and related sponsorship opportunities were added. These media vehicles were and are purchased from publishers who own the space, audio time and air time for rates that are forever being negotiated. This process is still very much in place today. The more money you have to spend, the more market penetration and mindshare you can potentially own. What has been changing for marketers are the additional types of media that need to be considered and leveraged.
These media types were ushered in with HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), the predominant language for website pages allowing visual displays of product and information along with text branding. Then came blogs, Linkedin, etc. that provide an advertiser with a way to get to know a customer more closely, and vice versa. Marketers have complained of the lack of control they can exert with this form of media however many companies have greatly increased their marketing programs using these viral techniques. Companies like Google, Apple, Amazon for instance have had great success.
This type of media can take many different forms from a mix of traditional to social media to YouTube and related viral programming. The marketer’s reputation can go either way, up or down, with this media as complete control is in the hands of bloggists, lay videographers and related. What is remembered is often not planned.
So what can be learned from all of this? The days of a mix of two or three media has vanished. It takes far more complex planning to address the specific needs of customers regionally, nationally and internationally. General marketing campaigns are out. One to one communications with a specific customer are in. Knowing this, a fact emerges that all marketers need to learn because the old days are gone. The key to making all three media types work is found in the ability to integrate them into one marketing program.