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What is the difference between owned, earned and paid B2B digital marketing assets? The rise of the internet in all facets of business has altered the media landscape. In today’s B2B digital marketing landscape, media opportunities fall into three categories: owned, earned and paid. An effective B2B digital marketing strategy must plan for each to maximize the impact of overall marketing efforts.

B2B Digital Marketing

In each category, an “asset” refers to a piece of content, while a “channel” refers to the platform on which content appears.

What are owned digital marketing channels and assets?

Any marketing content that your company creates and has complete control over is an owned asset. Simply put, you own it. You have the ability to use it as you see fit. For example, you can write and publish an article on your company’s blog without the assistance of a publisher. That blog post is an owned asset and your blog is an owned channel.

The benefits of owned media are:

  • Brings leads to your website through search engine optimization (SEO) keywords that prospects search for
  • Converts prospects by providing useful information and thought leadership

Owned digital marketing channels and assets include:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Social media
  • Email marketing
  • Long-form content such as ebooks and white papers

What are earned digital marketing channels and assets?

Earned media is any attention, coverage or publicity received from news sources, industry trade organizations or publications, and even customers posting online. Generally, it is driven by word of mouth and public relations. It is called earned because you must earn this attention by providing excellent service and quality. You cannot create or control it. Positive press and glowing reviews can work wonders to drive business. Of course, negative stories and complaints can have the opposite effect.

The benefits of earned media are:

  • Boosts awareness by reaching new audiences
  • Builds influence because people trust the words of others more than marketing
  • Drives referral traffic

Earned digital marketing channels and assets include:

  • Media coverage
  • Social media posts made by other people or organizations
  • Reviews and ratings

What are paid digital marketing channels and assets?

Paid media are marketing tactics that you pay for. In order to utilize them, you must spend money with the company that controls them. The most common example is an advertisement.

As these are tactics you pay for, they’ll only work when you spend money with the company or platform that controls them. For example, if you want to place a banner ad at the top of a website that’s popular with your target customers, you’ll need to pay to rent that space. Think of billboards as the non-digital equivalent in terms of payment structure.

The benefits of paid media are:

  • Provides visibility with the right audience, driven by strategy and budget
  • Delivers measurable results
  • Can be used to promote products, services or your owned assets

Paid digital marketing channels and assets include:

  • Digital advertising such as banner and display ads
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) ads in search and social
  • Sponsored content

Your B2B marketing plan should map out how much to invest in each of these categories based on your business objectives and goals. However, implementing all three over time will strengthen your position in the market.

The Marketing Blender is a full-service B2B marketing agency focused on accelerating growth for clients in manufacturing, healthcare, software and professional services.

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