Paid, Owned and Earned Marketing

The chances are, you’re already using different formats of paid, owned and earned marketing channels, but you’ve maybe not really sat down and thought about how these three channels differ, how to make the most of them and how to ensure that you’re keeping your branding consistent across all three.

What is Paid, Owned and Earned Marketing?

This is a model that states that each of your business touch points can be split into something you own and control (owned), an advertising medium that you’re paying for (paid) or an advocate that you’ve gained through providing an excellent level of customer service or sales (earned).

  • Paid: These are generally the more traditional forms of marketing and advertising, such as web ads, TV and radio ads, that serve to promote your product and services
  • Owned: These are channels that you completely control, such as your website and blog, that often serve to inform your customers about your products and services
  • Earned: These are channels that you can’t control – things like discussion boards and forums, social media and word of mouth. These often serve to discuss your products and services
How to Leverage Paid, Owned and Earned Marketing

You’ll likely have your own ratio of paid, owned and earned media already. Some businesses may focus more on their own paid and owned, whilst others focus on the positive vibes found in the earned channels of social media. However, the real power comes when you work hard on creating a consistent message across your paid and owned channels, and having this endorsed via a third part in earned media.

Here are some examples of why you should be thinking about all three channels:

  1. You have a fantastic looking, user friendly website, and adverts across the web and relevant offline publications. However, product review sites and consumer forums consistently dismiss your products as low quality.
    In this instance, you need to focus more on your earned media, or else all your marketing budget will have been spent in vain
  2. Your product gets great reviews in the online forums, and you’re making the most of this great buzz by advertising on relevant sites. You’re getting loads of great quality traffic to your website. However, your website is dates and difficult to navigate. Visitors have been sold on the merits of your product, but decide to purchase via a competitor with an easier online buying process.
    In this instance, you need to focus your marketing spend on improving your website and making sure that it’s as user friendly as possible.
  3. Your business has a fantastic website and a wonderful product that customers love. You get a lot of repeat business and you find that your customers are always raving about you on the main social networks. However, you hardly get any traffic as your competitors are spending so heavily on advertising. They’re the top ad on Google Ads and their banner ads are all over industry websites.
    In this instance, you need to focus on your paid media, leveraging your fantastic product reviews and customer loyalty to out perform your competitors.

A business that focuses on all three channels – paid, owned and earned – will find that they have few issues in selling their products and services, and will ensure that they build a network of happy, loyal customers.

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