Paid, earned, and owned media. The phrase may be a marketing workhorse, but with the explosion of digital channels and new technologies, “paid, earned, and owned” is a lot less useful as a way of looking at media strategy and spend than it used to be. As the lines between the three categories of media have eroded beyond recognition, marketers need to rethink how they spend marketing dollars, staff teams, drive strategy, and collaborate with agencies.
But for brands and agencies alike, an integrated media strategy — regardless of paid, earned, or owned — is a brand imperative. Explains Lieb, “As consumers, we know we are on this dynamic journey. The world is a virtual Times Square of brand impressions. But if there’s not congruence [among] paid, earned, and owned media, the brand experience will be fragmented. That means you have to get all these disparate digital players around the table and talking the same language — because consumers are not differentiating between all the different channels.”
Agencies used to be on the hunt for creatives. These days we hear agencies say they struggle to hire talented generalists. Lest you think that means someone who dabbles in many areas but masters none, think again. The new marketing generalist understands at a functional level multiple disciplines — including marketing technology, social, content strategy, corporate storytelling, and SEO. And they must be comfortable moving quickly, adapting, and taking risks. Says Germano, “Coming from an agency, I have to hire generalists — people who understand the relationship between display, social, and search. And I’m looking for talent that can tell a story, publish it to a WordPress platform, and know how to promote and distribute that story.”