English articles, Media, Top Tasks

Organisations pay for ads but struggle with ‘owned media’

Organisations spend loads of money in advertising. No problem. They may lack the budget sometimes, but they understand the concept. They now also spend more and more money in social media, to attract people to their brand. They start to understand the concept of earning attention, and they spend the budget. What a contrast to how they take care of the media they own: their website.

Paid media, owned media, earned media. That is a classification they love to use at Havas Media, one of the largest advertising agencies in the world. Hugues Rey, their Belgian CEO, clarifies the classification when asked and often also when not asked. And he is right, even more right when he sighs that too many advertisers don’t understand his in convincing them to take care of their owned media.

His clients’ first reaction may be somewhat suspicious: why would an advertising agency meddle with my website more than the landing page of an advertising campaign? Advertisers ought to strengthen the brand and create successful campaigns. And for the earned media? Well, we now have a conversation manager for that, don’t we?

‘Owned’ as in ‘it tells my story’

Owned media is a really beautiful term. In order to get attention, organisations often spend big money in paid media. They don’t own their advertising. It’s a cost – with the proverbial feeling that half of it is wasted.

The website at least they own. They have paid a web agency, in some cases an ad agency, to build it – and now they own it. They pay some extra to an SEO agency, to make what they own being found better by searchers. Isn’t that enough then?

Too often, organisations forget about that media they own. They launch the website and then leave it. And too often, they make it organisation-centric. They paid for it, right, why shouldn’t their website tell their story?

From getting to paying attention

Hugues Rey and Havas have started to understand that offline and traditional marketing is about getting attention and that the website should be about paying attention.

Paid and earned media draw attention and traffic to websites. However, when customers and potential customers come to the site, when they are in the site, they don’t need more marketing babble. They don’t need more shouting and drawing attention. They came to the site with a purpose. To do something.

So when they get inside the owned media, they should find a website built around their task, not around the organisation.

A website the customer wants to make his own

There is a big future in collaboration between advertising people and people like us in Customer Carewords consultant’s network led by Gerry McGovern. They are the experts in getting attention. We’ll take care of the paying attention part. By helping organisations to identify the top tasks of their customers and to make the tasks perform better by relentlessly observing, testing, tweaking, launching, observing again, and so on. Based on facts, not on opinions.

‘Owned’ in owned media doesn’t mean: ‘we paid the invoice, now the website is ours’. Owned means that the organisation owns a tool to improve the customer service – before, during and after the sale or whatever task the visitor comes to execute. Better use the tool you own.

In the end, it’s the customer who will ‘own’ the website – or reject it and switch to one that allows him to do faster and better what he came to do.


About Toon Lowette

Customer is not king on the internet, he is dictator. Online services are successful if they allow the customer to do what he came for efficiently and without confusion. Toon Lowette is online publishing consultant in the Customer Carewords network of Gerry McGovern. Task management is the central issue. We teach websites to manage the task, not the content, not the technology. We teach websites to become relentlessly customer centric.


3 thoughts on “Organisations pay for ads but struggle with ‘owned media’

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