[NB UPDATED POST on this topic: http://danielgoodall.com/2009/05/20/owned-bought-and-earned-redux/]
At Nokia we have been using the following simple model for our Digital Media Planning for about a year now.
Like all good models, it is designed to be very, very simple.
Obviously one of the things available to you is your own web site. With Nokia it gets a bit more complex, since we have so many media that we “own”: http://www.nokia.mobi (perhaps the most visited mobile site in the world?), MyNokia (Nokia’s CRM program), all of our service sites (ovi.com, ngage.com, nokia music), as well as more niche sites like beta labs etc. Quite a few options, before any media has even been bought: my team is currently planning to pull together a kind of internal media bank to keep track of all the options in terms of Nokia’s own media.
Bought Digital Media
This clearly has a role, although often it is overemphasized by agencies who make money out of percentages of media spend. Banners have a role in terms of awareness, but I’m not a fan of buying media in general, except when the creative proposition is great. Mostly, I see it as a necessary evil, except with search marketing, which is more interesting to me as it is less interuptive.
IMO, this is where the action is. This is where you have done something so cool or interesting that people want to use their own media to tell others about it, and hence you earn media. I am currently reading this brilliant analysis of why things spread from the guys at MIT. They claim that content is shared (and therefore Media is Earned) because of three main factors relating to the dynamics of groups.
- To bolster camaraderie and articulate the (presumably shared) experiences and values that identify oneself as belong to a particular community (“bolstering their identity”)
- To gather information and explain difficult to understand events or circumstances.
- To establish the boundaries of an “in-group”.
Some people think that Earning Media is about getting free space when budgets are tight. In my experience, Earning Media is a not necessarily a cheap option, and is certainly more time-consuming than buying media with big networks. More importantly, Earning Media is about engaging with consumers on their terms and gaining trust based on genuine understanding. Consumers don’t trust advertising, but they do trust peer recommendation. As long as brands don’t abuse this situation, then this leads to better quality, more authentic and more relevant marketing.
You can of course go into much more detail with each of these. And there are interesting overlaps. But in general, it is a simple model that has been useful in our digital planning.