What business are we really in?

Let’s say for a moment that the notion of media planning and buying is substituted by the idea of brand owned content distribution. 

In such a paradigm the obvious first question is ‘where can you distribute brand content’. 

There are three macro buckets: 

  1. Paid media – about which we know a lot but worry about diminishing levels of consumer engagement
  2. Earned media – about which we know much less but assume to be of terrific value
  3. Owned media – the all new (?) category which includes spectacular highlights like J&J’s Babycenter, dell.com and Unilever’s ‘In the motherhood’ and also every web site, video and brochure ever created 

Clearly each category has different characteristics and value in terms of impact on reach, engagement, brand reputaion and transaction potential. Each has a range of applications and of more or less appropriate worse content strategies. Each has its own data flows and measurement requirements and of course each has a distinct set of costs associated with it in terms of purchasing media, creating appropriate content and the agency service / talent fees associated with it. 

If this sounds like simple concept juxtaposed with complex execution – it should. It also reeks of relevance and opportunity  and an area in which businesses like ours can be world leaders in an area that is anything but commoditised as it demands a synthesis of intellectual and technological capital that fulfills a high value function for business. 

I propose this thought as a provocation to my friends, clients (nb. these are not mutually exclusive) and colleagues who attended the Venice Festival of Media and ask them if the really neccessary diviersification is not a look inward at the core of our value proposition rather than organized scope creep to other parts of the marketing services value chain.

2 Comments

Filed under The world we work in

2 responses to “What business are we really in?

  1. My question on bullet point 3, is can media agencies and/or agency groups like WPP get into the owned media game without being seen as being biased in making strategic media plans and recommendations? I certainly hope so, as I think as media agnostic channel strategists, we think we can bring a lot of consumer insights to developing and deploying owned content that VC backed or publisher only venues may not have the experience it takes for the ever evolving consumer. Time will tell, but I like the way you separate media.

  2. Ben Poole

    You can separate the media, but quite simply they are one medium. Paid, earned and owned content spaces are blurring, and will continue to do so. The key will be in a technology that allows all three to be evaluated with the same criteria, thereby allowing a proper optimisation of digital – this we are still quite far away from.

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