Are you finding it harder for your messages and marketing campaigns to be seen and heard on social media? Not seeing great results from your latest paid search campaign? If so, it may be time for your brand to look a little closer to home.
Over time, brands develop their own audience. With proper listening and nurturing, marketers can drive fantastic ROI year after year by focusing on their owned media assets versus other types of media. Before we discuss why this is, let’s review the concept of paid, owned and earned media.
- Paid media is simply media, or impressions, which marketers pay for to reach an audience. Examples include search engine advertising, promoted social media posts, paid display advertising and commercials.
- Owned media is media, owned by your brand, which you use to reach or engage with an audience. Examples include brand websites, emails and any other communications (SMS, push notifications, etc.) you share directly with your audience.
- Earned media is media you gain from the use of other media sources. For example, your latest blog post is shared via your social media fans. These impressions are from earned media.
I personally like thinking of your marketing spend in this way. As marketing channels continue to evolve and audiences become more segmented, thinking of your marketing efforts in terms of how you reach your audience allows organizations to adapt faster and break down silos between divisions.
Here are three reasons why you should prioritize your owned media first.
Reason #1: You are in control.
We’ve all seen campaigns fall victim to an algorithm. Facebook and Google are always changing how your messages are displayed. In my opinion, this is the understated and often overlooked value of owned media. Whether it’s messaging on your website, mobile apps or in your email marketing – you decide where, when and how your messages are delivered.
Leverage this control to pilot new campaigns and initiatives before increasing marketing spend and testing campaigns in search or social media. Marketers have the ability to execute campaigns in a surgical matter with owned media.
For example, suppose you’re a CMO for a resort destination. It’s your goal to increase loyalty and repeat business. Starting with your owned media assets, test different offers and timing of those offers across your customer segments. For example, will a discount offer or a free upgrade offer create more repeat purchases? Is it best to promote the offers at the one-year purchase anniversary, or will you convert more at year two or three?
With your owned media assets, you can select very specific segments and tailor your message to see what combinations perform best. You’ll develop a better understanding of your customers and can then apply those results to other channels and potentially expand your reach into paid media.
Reason #2: You know (or should know) your customers best.
You can target specific customer segments via paid or earned media, but not on a one-to-one level, and the data you can gather may be limited. In contrast, marketers can develop a fuller view of their customers through the ways they interact with owned media assets. Listening to those interactions, from initial acquisition to conversion to after the sale, can help businesses establish a full 360-view of customers that you won’t get with just paid or earned media.
Take the time and develop an understanding of your different customer segments. Building out customer personas and mapping out their customer lifecycle can uncover areas where you can leverage data to build trends and insights. What acquisition sources drive the most conversions? What personas are most likely to repurchase?
Investing in gathering and listening to the right data can help marketers learn more about their customers and, most importantly, support them during the entire customer lifecycle.
Reason #3: It will help you optimize your marketing budget.
While you may have already acquired your audience and own your media properties for this channel, it doesn’t mean that owned media is a freebie. Investing in owned media gives marketers the opportunity to learn more about your customers as well as provide your customers with the best possible service at every touch point on their journey. Doing so helps marketers to maximize the results from their marketing budgets in two key areas:
1) Knowing which half of your budget performs best.
Have you heard the commonly repeated quip that a marketer knows half his budget is wasted, but he just doesn't know which half? Taking the time to listen to your customers and how they interact with your owned media assets will give you the visibility to see how your marketing dollars are performing and identify areas for improvement.
For example, capturing the acquisition source for each customer can help identify which source provides your most loyal customers, as well as which sources are most likely to deliver customers that are quick to disengage with your brand.
2) Expanding with success.
It was mentioned earlier but deserves repeating: It’s less expensive to test new campaigns, positioning statements and offers in owned media than to pay for a new or unknown audience and test messaging at the same time. Take the time to use your owned media assets as a focus group for new campaigns.
So, how can you make the most of your owned media assets? Try using more sophisticated tools and tactics such as scoring models and microsegmentation to develop a better understanding of your customers and build advanced campaigns that reach across channels. By leveraging your digital marketing platform in new ways, you should see the best results from your owned media assets.
1) White Paper: “Revenue Attribution: How to Measure the Impact of Your Marketing Efforts”
2) Blog: “5 Tips to Propel Your Brand with Proactive Customer Service”
3) Ebook: “Ultimate Guide to Assessing Your Digital Marketing Program”