We are all aware of struggles within the marketing mix specific to roles and functions. It’s an issue that has been around for as long as I have been in the business and long before. While advertising and public relations are typically separate entities with different goals, they work best when their actions are in tune with one another.
On the one hand, advertising is more likely to succeed when previous PR activity has been prepared to create knowledge and understanding of a product or service being promoted.
On the other hand, public relations can help your marketing strategy by communicating with the public and building trust around a brand or business prior to launching an advertising campaign or spot. Where possible, it is important to educate or build buzz about your brand before spending your advertising dollars.
As I stated in an earlier blog titled “The Evolution of PR & Marketing,” it is imperative that PR and marketing work hand in hand to deliver the best results. More often than not, successful organizations have marketing and PR programs working cohesively to promote the business. Coordination and collaboration between PR and marketing bring consistency, credibility and greater visibility to corporate communications messages.
For a little historical perspective, PR and marketing used to be very different fields (and still are, to some extent, in colleges and universities). Students looking to get into the industry would learn the differences between paid media efforts and earned media efforts. Large brands would put up walls within their organizations to avoid advertising dollars (paid media) from influencing editorial content (earned media). This siloed way of thinking for ad agencies and PR agencies came into being while creating two separate entities.
Ad agencies traditionally focused on paid media strategies via their creative. At the same time, the PR folks would work to secure the strongest relationships with journalists in addition to offering crisis communications and PR strategy. Ad agencies always paid for distribution; PR did not.
The third component in all of this is owned media which centers around content produced and published by a brand itself. As the internet exploded, it allowed brands to publish more cost-effectively, and owned media earned its place among paid and earned in the marketing mix. Yet, neither PR nor advertising claimed it as their own as it wasn’t clearly understood who should lead those efforts.
The PESO model
Enter Gini Dietrich and the PESO Model which takes a modern look at media, and highlights the reality that marketing, PR and communications have changed dramatically over the past twenty years. Everything is integrated now, and marketing is no longer successfully executed in a vacuum. Marketing, advertising, communications, and public relations activities are intertwined, and if done properly, often for the better! Unfortunately, not everybody is 100% on board.[i] . However, marketing professionals are still a little slow in adopting it.
The beauty of the PESO model is the simple way it lays out how effective all facets of marketing can be when they all work in unison. What do the letters of PESO represent?
- Paid Media: is what most consumers associate with traditional advertising. Think print advertisements, TV commercials, or banner ads. Simply put, you “pay” for paid media.
- Earned Media: is all about getting the word out about the newsworthy elements related to your brand. Earned media includes backlinks, press coverage, reviews, and awards. Because of its association with viral content, earned media has the potential to reach many more consumers than paid or owned media.
- Shared Media: is often divided into two groups: social media that you control and social media that you don’t like testimonials and reviews. It’s not just your own posts but other consumer posts that are often just as important as they come across as authentic.
- Owned Media: as the name suggests, owned media is any type of media content that a business creates itself. This includes websites, videos, podcasts, e-books, and blog posts.
The traditional image I mentioned earlier of PR focusing primarily on earned media coverage is no longer a reality in today’s business environment. By focusing on all four elements and how they interact, companies and brands can create an integrated media strategy that’s both impactful and measurable. As referenced in an earlier blog, understanding the differences between these types of media is crucial.
In my opinion, the most significant benefit of the PESO model is that it positions PR as an integrated part of business across multiple channels. As its creator Gini Dietrich said “For far too long, PR has been synonymous with [earned] media relations when, in fact, that is just one tactic in our wide and ever-evolving toolbox. The PESO model allows communicators to own each of the four media types – and to start properly communicating from a prospective customer’s very first touch.”
The PESO impact: making us better marketers
As a longtime marketer, I have noticed that we naturally focus on the media in which we are most comfortable. For those immersed in PR, they might be more comfortable with traditional public relations or influencer marketing. Advertising folks are probably most comfortable with paid channels. If we’re entrenched in content marketing, owned channels are most likely our comfort zone. When communicators utilize the four outlined channels of the PESO model, success is more likely to be achieved.
A good communications strategy or campaign is comprehensive and integrated. Every opportunity is planned and coordinated to provide one consistent message aimed at the target audience. This is where the PESO Model can pay big dividends, making sure your messaging is being seen by your targeted audience at the right time.
How to use the PESO model
Is your business or brand ready to incorporate the PESO model? Here are some things you can do:
- Knocking down silos is the most important thing you can do. To get the PESO model to work for your business, you need to ensure all internal stakeholders and agencies are working toward the same goals. With different people managing different departments finding ways to better communicate and support each other is critical.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things. Interested in a specific marketing channel you’re not overly familiar with? Go for it! Just be cognizant of how it can connect to and support everything else you already do.
- Always know which key performance indicators (KPIs) are tied to your specific goals and the overall business goals. Always look at and evaluate the data often to see what’s working and what needs to change. And avoid the temptation to react too strongly to a change in the numbers, making sure to always have enough information to make a valid data-driven decision.
The central concept of the PESO model is that each media type or specialty is more effective when used in conjunction with the others. As our friends and partners at Agility published recently, firms in 2022 will find new and creative ways to get involved in all aspects of their clients’ media plans. Some brands may be tempted to incorporate paid media as their only strategy, but this should be avoided when possible.
Paid media is critical when a business or brand has owned media that it needs to highlight in front of a large audience. Super Bowl ads are a timely example of this process in action. Lately, brands have used a combination of paid, shared, and owned media to generate buzz in the lead-up to the game. When done properly, this creates earned media, where brand awareness can increase through organic referrals, backlinks, and press coverage.
Given that it is Super Bowl season, I’ll use a sports analogy to describe the PESO model. Think of it as a football team, where multiple parts and functions need to come together for the team to win. Everyone is moving toward the same goal. With football—and marketing— when they all work together, it is a winning strategy.
If you’re a PR or marketing pro looking for the best in media monitoring and analysis, Burrelles has a wide variety of options within its portfolio to help you meet your business needs. Feel free to contact us for more information or to answer any questions!