Using POEM to connect to our clients

[First posted on January 14, 2011]

An excerpt from Rishad Tobaccowala’s Four Key Trends 2011

Paid, Owned, Earned (POE) will replace Analog/Digital and Above Line/Below Line in marketing vernacular: Because of the Internet and Social Networks, marketers and their agencies will utilize the terms paid, owned and earned in their vocabulary more than the analog/digital or above the line/below the line lingo of the past.

It has become clear that marketers today have three ways to connect to their customers. They can do so by spending money in advertising and promotion among other things. This is Paid media. They have the opportunity to leverage their own physical assets from packaging to storefronts or their own content/service assets such as film, database and expertise, which is Owned media. And finally because of social networks they can listen and engage with what people are saying and passing along about their brand, which is Earned media.

All evidence suggests that these three media types need to be connected and leveraged together. How companies organize, partner and measure across this platform will be a key development from 2011 onwards.”


So, what does it mean to Brand owners and Agencies in Malaysia?

In today’s 24/7 connectivity climate where consumers are firmly in control of what content to consume, when to consume and where to consume, the “Prime Time” we marketers know no longer exists. To consumers today, whatever time they have on their own is prime time or “My time” ie. MyTime is the new PrimeTime. Let me attempt to illustrate this.

I have a colleague who would download Korean series from the Net, watch it halfway through on her notebook and continues the other half on her smart phone/tablet computer as she commutes to work. Just before she starts work, she has breakfast at a kopitiam nearby the office. She googles the handsome Korean actor on her smart phone and updates how she feels about him to 256 of her friends on Facebook. Lunch time (realistically, it’s probably an hour before lunch) she checks her fb status and there are 7 comments to her earlier updates. One of it has a link to a fan website of the Korean hunk (pictures of him with no shirt on, *so handsome!*). Familiar?

Today, media touchpoints are highly fragmented. It’s hard to target the elusive consumer. The POEM (Paid, Owned and Earned Media) framework offers a simple and meaningful way to make sense of all these.

What POEM suggests is that marketers today cannot afford to just spend money in buying media spaces but should seriously consider leveraging and building scalable capabilities around their Owned Media to connect with consumers. And let’s not forget peer to peer marketing (Earned Media) where your consumers become the channel – chatting your product or service experience away to their friends. (Side note: Earned Media or Word-of-Mouth marketing is the most powerful form of marketing and has been around for ages. But with super social media platforms these days, WOM gets amplified at the speed of a click.)

The digital strategy is for Brand owners to be Omnipresent (be everywhere 24/7) on the Internet, in various forms: display ad, search result page, blog post, fb fan page, wikipedia, google maps, forum thread, official Brand video, fan made video etc. and easily Searchable by consumers across POEM. Brands that are not looking into populating themselves in these touchpoints anytime soon, I believe will lose out big time. Tell me, in this scenario, which Car Brand will win the minds and hearts of consumers researching to purchase a car? Car Brand A who depends on their expensive looking corporate website as web presence or Car Brand X who’s web presence are manifested as threads in forums, blog post, tweets, facebook conversations, banner ads, search ads, organic search results, google maps, youtube videos and of course, their corporate website?

Thanks (or no thanks) to the Digital Revolution, Brand owners and especially Agencies today have to work harder than before to play catch up with consumers. No longer can we just depend on a full page full colour print ad or a 60 secs TV commercial to launch a product but we have to be resourceful and align ourselves with the people network to ensure our Brand messaging is simple, meaningful and real-time.

2011 and 2012 will be exciting times, let’s press on!


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