A True Marketing Fable
Once upon a time, marketing was like floating carefully crafted model boats down a stream. Each boat was constructed so as to appeal to a certain type of person (or group of people) who would be so enchanted with the boats that they would reach for the boats before they floated past, and pluck them out of the water for closer examination. If a person found a boat especially enticing, they would carry it home with them, stopping now and then to show the boat to friends and family in the village. People seemed to like the boats, more or less, but some boats floated all the way to the logjam where they got stuck in flotsam. So the marketers tried other streams, but the same thing happened. It was anybody’s guess, the marketing boat craftsmen said, why some boats got taken home and cherished, but other boats just got ignored. Then one day, the people in the village put on a crafted boat show. They all gathered together and talked about their boats and how they happened to pick particular boats. The owners of the crafted boats had a great time at the village boat show. And the marketers pretended to be villagers so they could mingle among the crowds of villagers and learn what it was that made some boats so attractive. Before too long, the village held a crafted boat shows every week, and then every day. Soon, the villagers who owned crafted boats met in the great house at all hours of the day and night to talk about their boats. The marketers tried to learn what they could from the villagers so they could build better boats.
The Media Form Spectrum
Today, media can be found in forms that are completely new to marketers. Typically, marketers have considered media to take the following forms: Paid, owned, and earned. According to McKinsey Quarterly, two new media forms must be added: Sold and hijacked.
Paid Media This form of media includes traditional advertising, such as what occurs when a business buys media space or pays a third party to promote their brand. This category of media continues to experience healthy growth that is tied to changes in the technology. Multiple-channels provide paid media opportunity, including placement of online advertising displays and targeted cable television.
Owned Media This category of media includes channels or properties that are owned by an enterprise and used primarily for marketing purposes. Examples of owned media include Web sites, retail stores, catalogs, and email alert programs that send out email notifications of special promotions.
Earned Media is produced when a company has such superior products or quality services that consumers and brand advocates take it upon themselves to use word-of-mouth channels and social media networks to promote for the company. Essentially, this form of earned media generally occurs without cost to the company, though it can occur on the company’s media or some media external to the company.
Sold Media Owned media can attract so much traffic that other marketers want to purchase space on the media platform. In this way, one company’s owned media becomes another company’s paid media. This media form is still relatively young and, according to McKinsey & Co., was born in the travel industry where the convenience of linking different types of services—all of which would be used by travelers—found favor with consumers.
Hijacked Media Technological innovations have opened doors to marketers and consumers both. Consumers who are disappointed in a product or service – or who adamantly opposed to a product or service on some philosophical basis - can find ways to convey their passions about a product or service in rapid and convenient ways. The end result is that the original media campaign or website gets held hostage by the offended consumers, industry activists, or impacted stakeholders. Companies can be backed into a corner and made to respond to the negative pressure or actual boycotting of their products or services.
Melding Marketing Forms with Stages of Consumer Purchase Decisions
One of the most important development steps that a marketer can take is to better understand how the consumers of a product or service engage with these different types of media depending upon where they are in the consumer purchase decision path. Media is increasingly becoming integrated, with multiple-channel marketing becoming a standard for advanced campaigns. New media publishing efforts continue to spring up as marketers and media publishers find ways to partner, capitalizing on a synergy that enhances the customer experience. Marketing is focusing on delivering an increasingly personalized experience that is boosted by the new media forms.
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