It used to be so simple. As a marketer you had Advertising, that you paid for; Direct Marketing that you owned; and PR that you earned as a by-product of your behaviour. Together, these three brand pathways created your reputation.
Varying combinations of these three constituted ‘integrated’ marketing – the act of taking a “big idea”, campaign or value proposition, and executing it through all of these toolsets at once. In the 21st century this three part executional model has come to be known as POEM – the mixture of Paid, Owned, and Earned Media to which marketers add their spice of ambitious new ideas.
And it really is no more complicated than that. Until it comes to execution. Which fails. Consistently and dismally.
Within corporate marketing departments and externally within large agencies, marketers have tried genuinely hard to be able execute integrated marketing, to support the full range of their clients’ needs. But today their convergent dream is further away than ever. The principal reason being a complete failure to understand and collaborate at the interface of these three monolithic disciplines. The missing piece of the jigsaw, it seems to me, is the mysterious 4th discipline of marketing – Sponsorship.
Traditional models of marketing services failed to account for and deliver integration, because they didn’t really understand Sponsorship – the situation in which objects, people of behaviours are co-owned or co-managed. In modern parlance, they didn’t (and still don’t) get “Sharing”. By adding this missing ‘S’ to the POEM media mix, all marketing can be understood, and integration can begin through a shared and blended conversation across the marketing services disciplines.
The above diagram, created by Copper, captures this modern marketing mix at high level through the acronym POEMS – Paid, Owned Earned media that’s SHARED! But for marketers wishing to implement across the POEMS spectrum it may be worth going deeper into these intersections. Certainly it is worth being really concrete, to explain how the logic of sponsorship becomes real.
In the POEMS diagram above between Paid-for media and Owned content sit Sponsored Objects (SO). In the offline world, these could be Arsenal’s football shirts. In the online world, SOs are more likely to be small bundles of content, offered up through affiliate marketing networks, for example.
At the interface of Paid and Earned media sits Sponsored Behaviour (SB). Again, to take a concrete example from the offline world, this might be Rory McIlory or Andy Murray, and their branded lifestyle as well as their playing antics. But online this SB implementation might look more like incentivised, ambassadorial tweeting or perhaps instagram shares of branded content.
Finally, at the overlap between owned and earned media, sits Sponsored Knowledge (SK). In the offline world, this is a well-understood melange of exhibition stands, conference appearances, publicised research or thought leadership programmes. All are forms of sponsored knowledge. But in the world of digital, SK is a hyperactive new frontier, containing activities like innovation competitions, crowdsourced ideation, or simple ‘requests for feedback’. Customer-responsiveness, implemented on twitter is also part of SK activity.
These are all forms of sponsored knowledge. To attempt to draw a conclusion from this high level analysis, then, it is NOT the recent advent of ‘digital’ that creates overlaps between POE Media, it is the ‘ancient’ logic of Brand Sponsorship. This message should give real hope to even the most analogue of marketers, that they too have a vital stake in the conversation about the future of POEM-literate campaigning.
The POE debate is just a new name for longstanding integrated marketing tensions that steadfastly ignored the role and ROI of the vital 4th discipline.
If your organisation is struggling to integrate Paid, Owned and Earned media into effective campaigns that play nicely together, first you should understand the disruptive role and possibilities of Sharing; then we’d love you to come and talk to Copper to deliver hard and yes, prosaic outcomes against your poetic vision.
Tim Kitchin is client service director and director of consulting at Copper, the digital marketing agency.