If you aren't familiar with the Six Pixels of Separation podcast by marketer Mitch Joel (@mitchjoel) and his company Twist Image you are seriously missing out. This year the podcast reached a true landmark: the 400th episode. In the episodes, Mitch speaks with master marketers of all backgrounds in a very conversational way about the struggles that they, the brands they work with, and most startups face.
In episode 403, Mitch sat down with Jeffrey Rohrs (@jkrohrs), VP of Marketing Insights at ExactTarget (now a part of Salesforce.com). I was not familiar with Rohrs prior to this podcast but have been instantly converted into a big fan.
That is quite apropos since what Mitch and Jeff spend the majority of their time discussing is a research series called Subscribers, Fans & Followers that Jeff co-created. Jeff drops powerful ideas and wonderful quotes like nobody's business but in this post I'm going to hone in on one concept that I found particularly interesting: the Hybrid Energy Marketer.
"We aren't building audiences for show." - @jkrhors (click to tweet)
You can't own your audience anymore. Since they can no longer be owned, Jeff refers to them as, "proprietary audiences." In order to maintain your audience you must constantly earn their attention through media.
There are three types of media and Jeff believes successful marketers - Hybrid Energy Marketers - use. A combination of the three is crucial because they all provide very different types of marketing energy. Here's what Jeff had to say:
Paid media = Fossil fuel
"We live in a golden age of paid advertising but it's like fossil fuel. We're going to a third party, we pump the energy they get out of the earth (the audience), we drive off, we run out of energy and we have to come back and fill up again. That's the 30 second spot, that's the banner ad, that's the native advertising, which is the buzzword right now. But all of it is paying a third party."
Owned media = Renewable energy
"Nothing wrong with [paid media], but if you're against competitors who've done the second piece which is more of what I would call renewable energy, the owned media piece, they're going to be getting audiences perhaps at a lesser cost because of superior SEO or other types of activities that allow them to get that audience directly."
Earned (viral) media = Kinetic energy
"But even there [with owned media], they can't always guarantee that there's going to be an audience - Google changes an algorithm, your app moves out of favor. So then we have this third thing, this holy grail called earned media. That's the new phrasing for viral and we want it to work on the back of all of these consumers. Earned media is a lot like kinetic energy. It's this energy we can get out of our existing movements - the existing consumers that are out there. The thing about earned media is that it's not really media; it's a process by which an audience member allows you to access their audience and they forward that off into their audience be it family or friends or what have you."
All Together Now
The goal of a Hybrid Energy Marketer is to make the three media types work together to derive the most energy from all efforts in aggregate. Like a hybrid car, it's incredibly useful not having to depend on one method of gaining an audience's attention! I see Highlighter as a way for brands and marketers to easily share the most interesting parts of what they read online with their audiences. It's pretty cool because you can actually adopt parts of other people's owned media!
Check out more of what Jeffrey Rorhs has to say on Twitter (@jkrohrs) and give Six Pixels of Separation a listen too. It also should be mentioned that Rohrs wrote a book last year titled, Audience - Marketing In the Age of Subscribers, Fans & Followers. It's on my GoodReads to-read list and you should consider adding it to yours as well!
Thoughts? Comments? Drop me a line on Twitter at @julianweisser.