Four Media Types in an Integrated Marketing Strategy

Posted on October 21, 2013

As we enter 2014, many CMOs are reviewing “what worked and what didn’t” for lead generation in 2013 and asking themselves what additional approaches they can incorporate to support lead generation efforts as part of an integrating marketing strategy.

One area to consider that has built momentum in 2013 is the rise of word-of-mouth marketing (sometimes called influencer marketing or advocate marketing.)  While WOM has been around since people were trading grain for cattle, it has largely been viewed by marketing leaders as a fringe activity.  This is evidenced by how little marketing budget is allocated to formal WOM efforts and the lack of dedicated staff and workflows assigned to generating WOM influence.

This could be changing however, as marketers are seeing declines in the effectiveness of paid media (advertising) and traditional earned media (PR) and are searching for answers to keep their lead generation pipeline flowing. One of the biggest opportunities for CMOs as they create their integrated marketing strategy is to diversify their budget across all four types of media that are essential for creating awareness, preference, purchase and advocacy:

  • Paid media (advertising)
  • Owned media (website, content)
  • Earned media (PR, third-party content, reviews, endorsements)
  • Shared media (social channels)

Across these four media types, perhaps the biggest gains to be made are in earned media — particularly third-party content and endorsements.  The distinction between owned content and third-party content is important as most marketers associate content as content they must produce and brand.  The problem with this is that buyers are viewing branded content with decreasing trust.   A study by the CMO Council indicates that B2B buyers don’t trust the majority of branded content they read and instead, prefer third-party content as it is viewed as more credible.  This shift in buyer confidence toward third-parties is not limited to B2B buyers as Nielsen reports that consumer behavior is the same (which makes sense since business buyers are consumers after they leave the workplace).

As marketers evaluate their owned and earned media options for their integrated marketing strategy, instead of investing in white papers and PR (respectively), the smart bet is on expanding third-party influencer relationships and expanding UGC (user generated content) in the form of endorsements and reviews.  With regards to measurement, third-party content can be tracked and benchmarked against owned content for assisted attribution.  Also, earned media endorsements and content can be tracked against other campaign tactics in terms of conversion (generating a sales lead) and close rate (rate at which the lead converts to a sale).   You can also measure (as you should for all of your tactics) the value of the sale transaction as not all sales are created equally.

Luckily, there are marketing specialist companies emerging that can provide this type of service on an outsourced basis for CMOs who lack the expertise in-house or with their traditional PR agency.


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