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Strategizing for Success: Choosing the Right Media Mix for Your Marketing Plan

In today's fast-paced digital world, businesses have an overwhelming number of options for promoting their products or services. Among the most common media types are earned, owned, and paid media, each with its own unique strengths and limitations.

To help businesses navigate this complex landscape, this article offers a comprehensive analysis of these three types of media, exploring their key differences, advantages, and disadvantages. We'll also provide practical advice on how to choose the optimal mix of media and develop a winning marketing strategy that maximizes impact and ROI.

What is Owned Media?

Owned media refers to any content that a business creates and owns, such as its website, blog, or social media pages. Here are some examples of owned media:

  • Brand websites or blogs

  • Social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

  • Email newsletters or marketing campaigns

  • Whitepapers, case studies, or eBooks produced by a brand

  • Video content, such as YouTube channels or webinars

  • Mobile apps developed by a brand

  • Company events, such as conferences or product launches

  • Product packaging or labeling

  • Branded merchandise, such as t-shirts or stickers

  • Digital storefronts or e-commerce platforms

Owned media can have several benefits for a business, such as:

  1. Control: Companies have complete control over the content and messaging of owned media, which allows them to tailor it to their specific brand identity and target audience.

  2. Data and insights: Owned media channels provide valuable data and insights into audience behavior and preferences, which can be used to optimize marketing strategies.

The downside is:

  1. Limited reach: Owned media relies on consumers actively seeking out the content, which can limit its reach compared to other types of media such as paid or earned.

  2. Requires time and effort: Creating high-quality content for owned media channels requires time and effort, and companies may need to invest in skilled personnel or third-party services to create and maintain them effectively.

  3. Risk of bias: Since owned media is created by the company itself, there is a risk of bias in the content, which can reduce its credibility and impact.

What is Earned Media?

Earned media is essentially word-of-mouth marketing, where customers spread the word about a business or product through their own channels. Here are some examples of earned media:

  • Positive reviews or mentions of a brand or product in publications or on social media

  • Viral social media posts or campaigns

  • News coverage of a brand or product

  • Influencer marketing is where an influencer promotes a brand or product to their followers

  • Word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied customers

  • User-generated content, such as customer reviews or social media posts featuring a brand or product

  • Guest appearances on podcasts or radio shows

  • Awards or recognition from industry organizations

  • Blog posts or articles are written by third-party writers or bloggers about a brand or product

  • Brand mentions or tags on social media by customers or followers

Earned media can have several benefits for a business, such as:

  1. Credibility: According to a survey conducted by Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust earned media more than any other type of media as it comes from an unbiased third party.

  2. Wider reach: Earned media can have a wider reach than other types of media, as it can spread through social media and other online channels.

However, earned media also has some potential drawbacks, such as:

  1. Lack of control: Businesses have little control over earned media, as it is generated by third parties who may have their own agenda.

  2. Unpredictable: The success of earned media is unpredictable and can depend on factors outside of the business's control.

  3. Time-consuming: Earned media can require a lot of time and effort to generate, and businesses may not see immediate results from their efforts.

What is Paid Media?

Paid media involves any form of advertising that a business pays for. Here are some examples of paid media:

  • Google Ads or other search engine marketing (SEM)

  • Facebook, Instagram, or other social media ads

  • Display ads on websites or apps

  • Sponsored content, such as sponsored blog posts or influencer marketing

  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

  • Native advertising or sponsored content on news websites or blogs

  • Video advertising, such as pre-roll or in-stream ads

  • Out-of-home advertising, such as billboards or transit ads

  • Product placement in movies or TV shows

  • Influencer marketing is where a brand pays an influencer to promote their product or service.

Businesses can gain several benefits from paid media, including:

  • Wide reach: Paid media allows companies to reach a large audience quickly, even if they don't have a large following or established brand.

  • Targeted advertising: Paid media channels such as social media advertising or search engine marketing allow companies to target specific demographics, interests, and behaviors.

  • Measurable results: Paid media provides measurable results, allowing companies to track metrics such as clicks, impressions, and conversions to evaluate the success of their campaigns.

However, paid media can also have some disadvantages, such as:

  • Ad blindness: Many consumers have become accustomed to ignoring paid ads, reducing their effectiveness. Overexposure to the same ad can lead to ad fatigue and negatively impact the perception of the brand.

  • Limited credibility: Paid media may not carry the same level of credibility as earned media or owned media since it is seen as a direct promotion by the company.

When it comes to determining the best mix of owned, paid, and earned media for a business, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The optimal mix will depend on a variety of factors, such as the company's goals, target audience, budget, and stage of development.

To help businesses identify the best mix, several frameworks can be useful. One such framework is the STDC model, which stands for See, Think, Do, and Care. This framework helps businesses and marketers understand the different stages of a customer's journey and tailor their content accordingly.

  1. See: In the "See" stage, your goal is to increase brand awareness and reach a wider audience. Since customers are not yet actively considering your product or service, owned media such as your website and social media channels may not be enough to generate enough visibility. Paid media, such as display ads, can be effective in reaching a larger audience.

  2. Think: In the "Think" stage, your goal is to educate your audience and establish your brand as a trusted authority. Owned media, such as your blog and social media channels, can be effective in providing educational content and building brand credibility. Earned media, such as influencer partnerships and guest blogging, can also be effective in increasing your reach and credibility.

  3. Do: In the "Do" stage, your goal is to convert leads into customers. Owned media, such as your website and email marketing, can be effective in providing detailed product information and making the purchasing process easy. Paid media, such as search ads and social media ads, can also be effective in targeting customers who are ready to make a purchase.

  4. Care: In the "Care" stage, your goal is to retain customers and encourage loyalty. Owned media, such as personalized emails and loyalty programs, can be effective in providing ongoing support and building brand loyalty. Earned media, such as customer reviews and user-generated content, can also be effective in building social proof and increasing customer loyalty.

In conclusion, content marketing is an effective way to attract and retain customers, build brand awareness, and establish thought leadership in your industry. By creating valuable and engaging content, you can connect with your target audience and drive conversions. Whether you're just starting out or looking to improve your current content marketing strategy, there are plenty of resources available to help you succeed.

If you're interested in learning more about content marketing or need help creating content for your business, don't hesitate to reach out to us. Our team of experts can provide you with the guidance and resources you need to develop a successful content marketing plan that drives results. Contact us today to get started!


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