Our View: The Age of POEM

We are in the age of POEM (Paid, Owned and Earned Media). Media planners and brand marketers plan a brand's marketing initiatives using the POEM matrix.

From a marketer's perspective Earned Media (positive coverage, PR), Paid Media (bought media through advertising), and Owned Media (channels a brand controls, e.g. websites, custom pubs etc…) complement each other. In fact, the boundaries between paid, owned and earned media are fluid too. Social networks, for example, are partly owned media, partly paid media. POEM even melt into each other: See, for example, how Paid Media and Earned Media merge in Univision's recently released primetime novela “Eva Luna”, which weaves no fewer than three General Motors vehicles into its story lines and also features Domino's Pizza and T-Mobile as brand integration partners.

Related to POEM is the growth of Content Marketing: Clients (companies) are using and distributing content themselves to connect and engage current and potential customers. Clearly, content is no longer an almost exclusive domain of media properties.

For media owners the new trend implies challenges, including dealing with a less clear “church-state” separation between their editorial and sales units.

However, the opportunities for media companies are huge. Content, one of media's main assets, is more important than ever and in order to capitalize on that, media owners have to become a bit more service providers and a bit less advertising vehicles. What counts is their expertise in creating, managing, distributing and marketing content. To some extent, media properties are entering the agency business.

They can offer their owned and operated media as vehicles to advertisers (paid media) and advice clients in their overall marketing plans which include client owned media and earned media as well as other ad placements (other paid media). As an example, “look” at the way Hearst Newspapers brands itself as “Hearst Media Solutions” or at Meredith's integrated marketing unit which provides corporations and brands with custom marketing solutions. Credibility is a key condition for content marketing to work. Who has more credibility than media?

This issue's cover story is about the use of mobile applications (apps) in Hispanic marketing. Interestingly, applications are used as much by media properties as by corporations to connect and engage their consumers.

At times the pendulum will swing a bit more towards earned and owned media. At other times it will swing more towards paid media, but throughout the whole process the role of media owners will be crucial.