WTF is the Mixed Marketing Model? A look at our digital marketing and PR strategy


PR Strategy

As a digital marketing and PR firm, we want our clients to be seen. In order to do so, we showcase their brand in every way possible. This means that every platform, medium, and network is addressed in our digital marketing and PR strategy.

But there’s a lot of content out there. And, wow, there are a lot of platforms too.

We frame our strategy using the Mixed Marketing Model.  

Here’s how it works.

The four types of media: Earned, Paid, Shared, Owned

When we develop our outreach strategy for a client, we include plans for each of the four different types of media: 

Earned: Traditional PR mentions, such as quotes in a news article or a contributed opinion piece 

Paid: Paid ads and sponsored content 

Shared: Content that is co-created by a brand and an audience (essentially, social media)

Owned: Content that a brand creates on its own 

Let’s dive in deeper to each of these different types, so you can see how they work together and what they can each do for your brand.  

What is earned media?

When you think of traditional public relations, you’re probably thinking along the lines of earned media. Within the scope of earned media, you’ll find mentions in newspapers, trade publications, magazines, podcasts, radio, TV, and so on. “Media hits” are earned media, anything that draws the attention of the press so that your brand visibility is increased.

Earned media might seem like a very traditional or typical strategy, but it’s certainly not outdated. A comprehensive PR and marketing strategy relies on elements of earned media because outlets — like newspapers, trade publications, magazines, podcasts, radio, TV, and more — have credibility and reach that most companies don’t. A feature in an earned media outlet both augments your brand’s reputation and trustworthiness, while also extending the reach of your brand.

Here’s an example of earned media: Our client Kamua — an AI video-editing company — was recently featured on Yahoo! Finance as one of the top 5 innovation trends in 2021

Anyone can (and should!) buy an ad, but when you earn the right to be featured in an article you’re elevated to an entirely new level of credibility and recognition.

Continue reading: Actionable strategies to make the most of B2B sales and marketing in 2022

What is paid media?  

Paid media includes everything from PPC (pay-per-click) ads to B2B influencer marketing, social media ads, and sponsored content (like advertorials or guest columns that you pay for in exchange for the exposure). 

While it’s nice to think that if you create great content, it will work on its own to get eyes on your brand, you simply can’t rely on organic reach alone. With the sheer volume of great content online, the competition is too great for your audience’s attention. 

Plus, a paid media strategy is important for your digital marketing because it can extend your brand’s reach to audiences that would not have been able to find you organically. Paid media helps brands target the right people at the right times, so they can cut through the noise online and increase brand awareness.

Here at Zen Media, we use paid ads on social media, PPC, and email marketing to extend our reach (read: we practice what we preach). 

Zen PR Ads

What is shared media?

Social media, baby! Shared media has become a huge component of digital marketing and PR strategies because the majority of consumers use social media. This includes branded b2b content, original content posted on brand platforms, as well as the content that brands share from other outlets.

Shared media has two components, though. It’s about putting content out there, but it’s also about the exchange you have with your audience. Interacting with audiences through shared media, or social media, can boost a brand’s trustworthiness. This could be through Instagram or Facebook Live sessions, through discussions in the comments on LinkedIn, and so on.

What is owned media?

Owned media is everything that the company or brand has full control over. Think of a website, a blog, original content, videos, streaming sessions, infographics, and white papers. These are the assets that fuel the other three types of media, and they’re equally as important in building a successful B2B marketing strategy.

Owned media is essential because it is the most direct way that potential customers come in contact with your brand.

Specialist ID’s blog is a great example of owned media. The content created on their blog is something they have total control over, and it’s something they can share on their other owned platforms.

SPID Blogs

How do the separate pieces of the Mixed Marketing Model work together?

Each element of the Mixed Marketing Model relies on the others. For example, in order to create social posts that drive sales, brands need content to share online — what we would call owned media. In order to grow a following for this owned media, brands need earned media to direct potential buyers to the content. And to direct potential buyers to the content that companies and brands need to share their work online, which is shared media.

Each element is connected. 

How does the customer buying journey work with the Mixed Marketing Model? 

As you can see in the illustration, the customer buying journey is not linear—it starts, continues, doubles back on itself, and interacts with each of the types of media at different times and in different ways. 

This is why reaching your customers through multiple channels, multiple types of content, and at many different points throughout that journey is so important. That, in a nutshell, is what the Mixed Marketing Model does.

Building a successful digital PR and marketing strategy requires all of these facets because, when combined, they have a greater success rate for reaching the target audience.

Continue reading: Why Do You Need Digital Market Research?

Is the Mixed Marketing Model effective? 

We wouldn’t use it if it wasn’t, *wink wink*… It breaks down the different media outlets that companies need to address in order to be seen by potential customers. Curious about what this could look like for you? Send us a note — let’s talk it through.


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