Leveraging paid, owned, & earned media
As prospective customers move along the path to purchase, your brand gains more and more control of the context and the message. A shopper interested in your product may look at your website, read reviews about your product, and visit your social media channels. For the most part, these are all marketing avenues where your brand controls the message.
There are a number of ways that consumers learn about your product. One simple framework categorizes messaging and context into three buckets: paid, owned, and earned media.
Customer acquisition: 3 types
While there’s obviously overlap, these three categories contextualize which levers to pull to make customers aware of your brand, cultivate familiarity with your product, and ultimately convert someone into a paid customer.
Paid media and outreach
Paid media is advertising that your business pays for. Traditionally, this would include TV advertisements, radio, and print advertising. In today’s digital world, this includes:
paid social media posts
affiliate/referral marketing programs
Owned media and outreach
Owned media consists of content that you publish—as well as community conversations that you generate—on channels your company owns and controls. This could include your:
social media channels
Earned media and outreach
Earned media consists of all the content and conversation around your brand or products that has been created by somebody else and published somewhere other than your owned channels. Earned typically includes:
professional recommendations (e.g., dermatologists)
credentialing (e.g., association recommendation)
Mentions in earned media, when they’re positive, are great for your brand’s credibility. Of course, the opposite is also true—if your product is shoddy or service is indifferent, earned media will make sure that message spreads via word of mouth.