The Owned, Earned and Paid Media BALANCE

09 Jun The Owned, Earned and Paid Media BALANCE

What can you do right now as a credit union executive to maximize your marketing plan for the rest of the year? Moreover, what can you do with an eye toward 2016?

I provided some insights—and hopefully a few answers— at last week’s Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Marketing Management School in New Orleans to help credit union’s maximize their marketing efforts. Here’s the recap: It may be worth considering “Recasting your Marketing Budget for the Digital Age” in the coming months.


Traditionally, credit unions set the marketing budget according to total assets. Other factors could change this number, including size, charter, membership, geography, goals and brand assets per member.

What to do right now  

  • Determine your marketing budget. The formula is 1/10 of one percent of total assets, according to Callahan & Assoc. For example, a $500 million credit union would have a budget of $500,000.
  • Consider whether you have changed the way you communicate to your members over the past two years?

What to do for 2016

  • Shoot for a 33% balance between paid, earned and owned media with 1% on crisis preparation, including cyber-security and social media policy.


Your marketing efforts should fall into three broad categories: Paid, Earned and Owned media. The overlap of these three creates “converged media,” which is the sweet spot in the marketing formula.

1: PAID MEDIA includes advertising. Credit unions spend an average of between $8 and $16 per member on marketing, according to a Financial Brand study.

What to do right now  

  • Know your members. Who is your target membership; where do they get their information; what keeps them up at night?

What to do for 2016

  • Recast advertising dollars to reach old and new credit union members. But consider, a recent Gallup Global Management study found it costs five times more to win over a new client, than it does to serve an existing one.

2: EARNED MEDIA comes from print, television, radio and the Internet. A Nielsen study found that 84% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family, a form of earned media, above all other sources of advertising.

What to do right now  

  • Identify which outlets have been most effective and keep networking.

What to do for 2016

  • Connect with your members and outreach to their friends and families through promotions.

3: OWNED MEDIA is a channel you control. A Nielsen study found that owned advertising was the second most trusted advertising source in 2013, with 69% of respondents indicating they trust that platform.

Fully-owned media includes your company website, blog, online newsroom, annual reports and newsletters, webinar presentations, podcasts, brochures and email marketing.  Partially-owned media, such as social media, is growing in importance for credit unions.

What to do right now  

  • Consider which owned media you currently use; understand why you are not using others.
  • Set up a Facebook fan page or Twitter account to drive member interactions, younger members, sales, mobile technology and brand personality.

What to do for 2016

  • Plan for convergence. A social media profile page can quickly turn into earned or paid media.

MEDIA CONVERGENCE is the overlap of paid, owned and earned media.

One great example is how the marketing efforts around Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte took on a life of its own. The company promoted the beverage on its Website and bought adverting. Additionally, their social media fan page for the pumpkin spice latte exploded, and they gained positive media coverage.

Their formula is blended to perfection with paid, earned, owned and social media converging in a way that I hope yours will as well, you begin to take a smart and holistic approach to marketing in the digital age.

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