Whoops – What McKinsey Forgot to Mention

A recent McKinsey whitepaper, “Beyond Paid Media”, makes for interesting reading. The authors, David Edelman and Brian Salsberg, write about how we must change marketing mindsets to respond to new ways in which consumers perceive and act upon marketing messages.

Among their observations:

“While traditional “paid” media—such as television and radio commercials, print advertisements, and roadside billboards—still play a major role, companies today can exploit many alternative forms of media. Consumers enamored of a product may, for example, create “earned” media by willingly promoting it to friends, and a company may leverage “owned” media by sending e-mail alerts about products and sales to customers registered with its Web site. In fact, the way consumers now approach the process of making purchase decisions means that marketing’s impact stems from a broad range of factors beyond conventional paid media.”

The authors list several forms of media:
1. “Paid” – traditional advertising and similar vehicles
2. “Owned” – your company website, for instance
3. “Earned” – Facebook fan posts on your profile are one example
4. “Sold” – your company posts ads on other companies’ websites
5. “Hijacked” – activists or pranksters who use social media, for example, to damage your company brand

Their point is that marketers need to understand and think more strategically about the various forms of media and harness them to the extent possible. In the case of hijacked media, they need to develop what McKinsey refers to as “triage and action engines”.

It all makes perfect sense. However, what the experts at McKinsey fail to mention is the power of media relations – which can results in a third-party endorsement (or anti-endorsement!) of one’s products or services by, for example, a credible journalist. PR has changed much over these last few years but shouldn’t be overlooked as part of the overall marketing mix. I’ve seen more results from a mention on CNBC or CFO magazine than a tweet. Perhaps this is because I work with B2B firms; mostly consultants and professional services firms. True, PR has changed much over these last few years but shouldn’t be overlooked as part of the overall marketing mix.

To find the white paper and my posted reaction to it, click here. It’s definitely worth a read (and registering for, if you aren’t already on the site).

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