Today’s Terrifying Media Reality: It’s ALL E-E-E-E!

It’s Earned-Earned-Earned-Earned.Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 8.23.54 AM

By 2010, most advertisers and agencies had woken up to recognize the convergence of Paid, Owned and Earned content. Many even added Shared to that troika. This construct still forms the basis of most media plans.

Unfortunately, it’s garbage.

The notion that Paid or Owned media reach like they did before the digital revolution is adorable. They simply don’t. And that’s an unsettling realization for brand managers.


You can’t buy attention anywhere anymore. You can invest millions in air time and it will work, but not like it did ten years ago…unless you treat your paid content like earned content. Only then will it be shared, forwarded and commented on, extending it’s reach and engagement. And here’s a fun fact: adblocking grew by 41% YoY in the past twelve months. Yikes.

Brands must migrate to better, more attention getting creative ideas. And that reality totally upends a brand manager’s traditional definition of risk; what might have been considered ‘taking a chance’  five years ago is now the most prudent choice because it has a higher likelihood of earning attention.

Today, all content must stand on its own to really reach people. Does it intrigue, captivate, and delight? Does it provoke, inform, or galvanize? Does it beg to be passed along to other specific people?

If it does, your content will work brilliantly. If it doesn’t, you’re wasting money. And trusting a model that’s no longer relevant.

This may sound like a radical notion in these days when brands falls over themselves to embrace big data as their savior. But big data is only a means; it is not an end.

We can use data to lead the metaphoric horses of our target audience, but to get them to drink?

We have to earn that. Every day. Every time.

By Mike & Dennis

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