Businesses who are looking to stay ahead of the competition, must make a genuine connection with increasingly savvy customers and leap into digital marketing with both feet. Digital Marketing has created countless opportunities for communicating with customers to increase brand presence and sales revenue. The two key advantages that digital marketing has over traditional marketing channels is:

Two Way Communication With The Customer. As digital media is interactive, it enables the customer to connect with businesses providing real input, feedback and genuine engagement.

Real Time Reporting And Information. A significant component of online activity can be tracked allowing businesses to understand more about customer buying patterns. What appeals to customers? How long do they spend on research? What engages them? This information is gathered as it happens providing information in real time. This extends to campaigns which are executed online where campaign tracking is instantaneous.

There are a multitude of digital marketing channels, with more emerging on a daily basis resulting from developments in new technology. Digital media is however classified into three key categories: Paid Media, Earned Media and Owned Media.

Paid Media

Put simply paid media is that which is bought – where the company pays to control the channel.  For a dollar investment, a company can access potential customers for the purposes of brand building and lead generation.

The key benefits of paid media include greater control, being quick to market, obtaining immediate results, and execution on a large scale. The major disadvantages of paid media is clutter, lack of credibility and dwindling response rates.

Traditional paid media includes print, TV radio advertising and direct mail. Type of digital paid media are detailed below

  • Display banner advertising
  • Pay Per Click
  • Remarketing
  • Advertising on Social Media Channels
  • Affiliate Advertising
  • Content Marketing
  • Branded Content Marketing
  • Digital Out of Home

Earned media

The second type of digital channel, earned media refers to those channels which generate publicity for the brand – when customers become the channel. It is important to note that earned media is not paid for and is owned and created by a third party including publishers, bloggers and other influencers including customer advocates. The key advantage of earned media is that because it isn’t paid for or controlled by companies it is impartial and more believable. It also influential in generating sales and has a longer life. Conversely the primary disadvantage of earned media is that is difficult to control, hard to measure and can be negative.

Earned media is different forms of conversations about a company occurring both online and offline which generate brand awareness and includes:

  • Customer tweets
  • Unsolicited reviews on social media, independent websites or a consumer’s own website.
  • Articles online and in newspapers and magazines
  • Blogs
  • Word of mouth conversations generated by viral and social media
  • Viral content

Earned media is not publicity that is paid for or owned by a company including advertorials/white papers or blog posts which are written about a company by the company.

To positively leverage earned media it is important to create positive content that is unique and of value to the customer. Equally important is countering negative publicity by being responsive, professional and addressing issues and concerns raised.

Owned media

Owned media is media that is owned and controlled by the company – is a channel that the brand controls. Businesses’ owned media channels predominantly targets current customers but strong channels also access prospective customers.

The main benefits of owned media include control over content, cost efficiency, ability to measure effectiveness and longevity. Owned media is a long term investment in the company. The key challenges associated with this type of media is the lack of objectivity means that it less trusted by customers and take a reasonable amount of time to gain traction or scale.

Some examples of owned media include:

  • Website and enhancement of a company website through SEO
  • Mobile Applications
  • Email marketing
  • Social Media Sites


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