If the PESO model had a drawback, I think it’s the order of things.
I know, I know, it’s got a circular shape in there that’s suggestive of integration, but I’ve never been able to get past the order of the words: paid, earned, shared, owned.
The order of words is exactly backward.
And it’s not instructive for setting priorities in marketing.
To that end, and assuming there’s a business strategy and marketing strategy in place, those priorities should be as follows:
- Owned – website, blog, newsletter
- Shared – social channels
- Earned – media or influencer relations
- Paid – any form of sponsorship or advertising
When I pitch this to clients and prospects in B2B marketing, I’ll often present it in a linear graphic like this:
Why am I so keen on owned media first?
Because when marketing invests invest time and budget into owned media, you are building two assets.
First, you are building a library of content. It’s a library that gets indexed in search and brings compounding returns.
By contrast, every other category of tactics is a flash. These are straight-up costs – and once that marketing budget is spent and the campaign is over – the value quickly fades. It’s alluring for sure, and marketing gets high on reach and will do just about anything for another quick hit.
There are of course nuances to my order of things, and if you want to nitpick back, you certainly can.
For example, influencer marketing could cut across earned and paid categories. Another case is paid social – I’m a big proponent of using paid social media to promote owned media for earned media purposes – but that’s a bit of a blend that doesn’t fit in a neat little box. Finally, sometimes – depending on a client’s needs – I’ll swap the positions for shared and earned.
However, these are all exceptional examples, and more importantly, if you tie these all back to that owned media asset, then you are aligned with the philosophy being described here.
The graphic above is better looking, but when it comes to emphasis, I tend to visualize that same graphic like this:
When you get down to it, it’s not that far off from that concept from back in the day. I look back to 2008 and 2009 and I think we had the priorities right. There are new tools and shiny objects, but the fundamentals of marketing remain. Get your foundation right first, and build programs on top of it.
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Image credit: Pixabay