Like many other marketers I have spent a lot of time thinking about the Paid, Earned and Owned media model.
It has always been the easiest way for me to explain to colleagues and clients how social media fits within the broader scheme of things.
I came across a historical summary of the model by Steve Sponder and as is often the case, PR (in a traditional sense) gets a bit of a kicking.
In all honesty, I don’t really care what the stuff is called, as long as it is done well and plays its part.
But its like a radically new movie or book, we feel compelled to assign things to a genre (mainly so we and the people around us can understand).
So, for arguments sake, I took a look at the original iteration of the Paid, Earned and Owned model and interrogated it with a PR hat on.
The original Forrester model
Now, I think there are two fundamental flaws with this model.
- Where does PR fit? (By PR I mean the placement of ‘free’ editorial content within larger scale 3rd party media outlets to stimulate interest / debate)
- Earned media is classified incorrectly in my opinion from a marketing perspective. If anything, having your customers talk about you is the desired OUTCOME of your marketing activity, which then is a powerful sales / decision-making driver.
The updated Forrester model
Now, this is a pretty simplistic chart but it doesn’t need to be more complicated.
To summarise, we see our role as ‘concept creators’ who develop content (of all types) that encourages engagement and ultimately, sharing.
We can’t ignore the role ‘paid’ media has to play either, which means that utopia as far as brands are concerned is a model like this.
Is that such an outrageous proposition?
If you were building an agency from scratch tomorrow, could you divide your troops into these three buckets?
Call me an idealist, but I reckon this is possible.
I reckon, this is might be how it all ends up.
What do you think?