The new model for marketing and advertising is already expanding – to the benefit of clients and agencies alike
There is a lot to be said for specialization. Not long ago marketing and advertising agencies were capitalizing on this: clients had their "digital agency," and their "social agency," and sometimes their "broadcast agency," "direct mail house," "production company," and so forth. It was easy to understand the focus of each individual group, and some of these single-minded agencies developed unique knowledge and expertise.
But as Maslow famously said: "When the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to view every problem as a nail." Communications campaigns carried out by specialists are often narrow, or fragmented. No one medium is sufficient to address the varying tastes and consumption habits of today's diverse target audiences, who are known for posting, texting, surfing, and binging while (77% of the time) employing two or more screens. Instead, marketing and communications campaigns must address a wide range of media, using an artful mix of channels and content to reach and persuade consumers.
One framework has come to be known as PESO, standing for paid, earned, shared, and owned media:
Paid media is what used to be known as advertising, where the client pays to guarantee placement in or on newspapers, magazines, radio and TV, websites, billboards, and the like. Earned media is the outgrowth of public relations, where placements are gained free of charge because the subject is considered newsworthy. Shared media is generally in the form of social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, where material is passed from user to user through links, likes, and forwards. Finally, Owned media is that content delivered through platforms controlled by the client, such as websites, events, blogs, and webinars.
It is the rare marketing or communications program that can afford to ignore any one of the four PESO media. One or more of these realms may be emphasized or deemphasized, but they all play a part. Failing to address each of the PESO mediums risks losing a substantial part of a target audience. On top of this, messages and creative need to be synchronized and coordinated lest they fail to reinforce one another or even contradict themselves. An agency that specializes narrowly in one discipline or another is not going to be able to provide overall guidance. Today's reality calls for agencies that understand PESO and can offer resources and expertise on any or all of those media realms.
Of course, as soon as PESO was invented the market started to introduce variations. New and important trends have started to take their place on the spectrum in-between the pure PESO media. Here are a few:
Some of the most powerful advertising being deployed today is "social advertising," that is paid placements appearing on social platforms. This includes social display ads along with options such as boosted posts and sponsored content offered by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other channels. While it falls between Paid and Shared, social advertising is delivering high ROI because it can be targeted so precisely based upon a social media user's profile and geographical location.
"Sponsored" media lies at the intersection of Paid and Owned. In this case, the advertiser is paying to place owned content onto others' websites, whether those sites are search engines (Search Engine Marketing) or other portals that accept advertising in the form of Retargeting or Native Advertising.
When content appears on others' websites without cost, the result is "organic" media. Optimizing a site to gain higher rankings on search engines (SEO) is here at the intersection of Owned and Earned media, along with the systematic process of blog commenting and the exchange of referrals.
Finally "social engagement" results when social media mentions are realized through influencer relations, shares and likes, and comments and retweets. This intersection of Shared and Earned media was traditionally achieved by putting expert spokespersons in front of a camera; now the vehicle is often purely via digital.
The story will not end here, of course. Innovations will continue to emerge from across PESO media, providing opportunities for those who can approach this broad landscape in an integrated fashion. The benefits are many, but perhaps the greatest is a growing ability to measure and optimize the results of a marketing or communications campaign in real time. The trackability built into digital technology makes it possible to assess the ROI of both traditional and digital campaigns to a much greater degree of exactness than ever before. The agency able to marshal a full range of PESO capabilities — along with measurement and course corrections available at a moments notice — will not only be able to deliver significantly better results for a client; they will also be able to prove it.