This much is clear. Media is everywhere in society; it is almost impossible for the people to ignore it.
For a very long time, media messages have been a one-way street only. All of us remember Политика, Koha, Zëri i Popullit, TVA, Вечерни новости, Базар, Свјет, Илустрована политика and JRT for example, media outlet that was one of the founding members of European Broadcasting Union. Back then, the audience watched and consumed media but did not create or influence it. However, this context is rather different from the world our children or Gen Z are living in.
The advent of the Internet, and subsequently search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, influencer marketing, social media marketing and more, has changed the media service. Think of YouTube in terms of how Gen X, Y and especially Gen Z approach the content. These generations don’t simply consume the media they have at disposal. Rather, they add their spin, allow themselves to show off their opinions, creativity and even make a career out of something they are passionate about. They interact with the media that they interact with.
How to market a media outlet’s services in the digital era?
How do you even decide where to start? What do you need to do to generate those all-important sales enquiries? How do you market yourself as a media outlet and how do you convince people and businesses that “YOU ARE” the right choice for their media mix?
That is where Business Canvas Model can help you out. Media mix is a combination of communication channels a business or individual can use to achieve its marketing objectives - for example, sales and growth. Typically, the media mix includes newspapers, radio, television, billboards, websites, email, direct mail, the Internet and social media. As a media outlet, you are the communication channel for businesses or individuals, meaning that they can reach their customers through you.
Perhaps it’s easiest to answer the questions above by using an example we all know and love – the KRAŠ chocolate factory. They have their shops all over the Balkans but they also work via big and small retailers. Their goal is to reach ALL customers.
This is how you should see yourself, as a potential partner to businesses or individuals trying to reach ALL their customers. You have an environment where their customers can see, hear or experience their products or services.
While the application of the KRAŠ chocolate factory practice might sound easy on paper, in reality, it may appear complicated. Luckily, you can utilise tools, applied by all successful media outlets, to help you achieve your goals. The two main tools we are talking about:
- 7Ps Marketing Mix Model is a tool for executing “old-fashioned” marketing strategy; and
- 7Cs Marketing Mix Model is a tool for carrying out digital marketing strategy
7Ps and 7Cs are fancy and easy to remember, too!
What are 7Ps and 7Cs and how to apply these marketing mix models?
Marketing is a crucial segment of a company’s business, as it represents the link between the company's abilities and customers' needs. The Marketing Mix Model (MMM) in general is an essential tool for delivering value to customers on one hand, and providing a competitive advantage to a company on the other. The 7Ps and 7Cs are two main Marketing Mix Models (MMM), and are currently used worldwide.
As a media outlet, you are mostly offering services in the mass media entertainment industry.
Services are significantly different from products, specifically because they are intangible, perishable, inseparable and heterogeneous. These specific characteristics of services can be addressed only with the 7Ps marketing mix since traditional 4Ps are considered more relevant to products and manufacturing companies. Additionally, the 7Cs MMM has to be put in place as nowadays the media outlets are predominantly focused on more digitally-oriented consumers.
However, in general, Balkan media outlets have not based their marketing efforts under any of the previously stated models. In addition, most of those outlets don’t have a clear product offer, unique way of distribution, defined pricing strategies, physical evidence of the service as its integral part, clearly defined processes nor a personalized service. Hence, it is highly recommendable for you to start slowly – by taking one of the mentioned MMM models for a one-year trial period.
Since all of you already have a portfolio of satisfied customers, the growth or the gap between expected and delivered can be spanned, if you address both MMM models as soon as possible.
Each media business model is a complex matter and has to incorporate all communication channels and tools available. Please bear in mind the BBC’s prominent statement: “TV is the most popular medium, but the Internet is closing the gap.”
Mass Media Entertainment Product or Service
7Ps is a “conservative/old-fashioned/ conventional” method/model/tool to successfully market media products or services. You should prepare a one page, outlining these 7 elements for each product or service you want to develop. You can do that by answering the following 7 questions:
- Why should we develop our product or service? What should it be? How could we develop it?
Example: Many people depend on the weather conditions so they can go about their business, so your info to them is vital – this is a possible answer to why you will develop such a product, in this case - live weather forecast.
Daily live weather info from a reliable source – this is the answer to what.
SMS to a subscribed member of your media - is the how (if you know your audience do not have internet access all the time or smartphone).
- What is your pricing model? One-off payment, subscription, pay-per-click, production fee, buying off a content package, annual fee, long-term partnership pay schema etc.
For example: in our case, that would be a subscription service for receiving daily weather information via SMS.
- Where is your product or service going to be placed? Which distribution options our customers have at disposal if they wish to experience our products or service? Online, via partner network, email, direct selling, TV, radio etc.
In our example, those are our subscribers’ phones.
- What is your promotion channel? Your media, partner’s media, events, webinars, social media, website etc.
Since you are the media, you can choose any of the promotional activities that you already have in store. However, for our specific example, maybe a panel discussion with a local audience can be a kick-starter, so you can understand their needs and challenges.
- What is the physical manifestation of your service? This refers to a specific manner that you use to reassure your customers and build trust in confronts of the service you offer, e.g. great website, well-trained staff, high-quality tech equipment, strong and uninterrupted transmission.
For example, you can add a phone number to the SMS text to a relevant partner of yours, which can share more detailed info about the weather for the upcoming days or a link to your website. Maybe they need information on humidity or wind speed as well.
- What about the people - who will produce the product/service, who will promote it and are there any skill gaps?
In order to send an SMS to a subscriber, you will need an automated software. You can have people set up the software internally or you need to outsource it. But you also need to answer who will work on the product promotion and convince people to subscribe, how will users pay for them etc.
This is the most complex bit of the MMM. You should devote a sufficient amount of time for analysis, planning and budgeting of the People segment.
- Do we need new partners for this product or do we need to reestablish our partnerships with the existing ones?
For example, you can find an IT Company that will create a software for SMS distribution, or perhaps a weather agency or similar institution.
When all answers are put in place, the next page should be filled with the activity roadmap and the third page should present a short budget.
As a final step, you can be proud of yourselves as you have created a professional marketing plan for your product or service.
Mass Media Entertainment Content Marketing
According to the 2016 Content Marketing Institute / MarketingProfs research, companies that document their content marketing strategy are significantly more effective than those that do not.
7Cs is a “modern” method/model/tool to successfully market digital media content. You should prepare a two-page document containing these 7 elements for each digital content section you want to develop. Just follow these 7 steps and put your comments in writing.
- Community: Digital marketing is all about offering quality and creating engaged communities of loyal and paying customers. The first step is to identify the target audience/community or customer personas. Remember the first e-learning course and also find some tools for creating and using personas. Based on your audience you can determine the content type, message style and tone, marketing mix and the best way forward in general.
To answer this section, you need to be extremely knowledgeable about any and every single thing in the online environment that has to do with your customer.
- Convenience: Plan how you will provide quick access to your content or how you can make it possible for your community to quickly repeat their actions at your online service. Think about “one-click purchases” on Amazon.
- Competition: Competitors’ practices can be a great source of inspiration for creating your own digital content. Also, hereby you need to clearly state the feasibility of your program and specify the minimum resources required for realizing it.
- Consistency: Does your content really divers the engagement of your target market? The rule is that the context always has to be adapted to your demographics, i.e. your community.
- Communication: The ultimate objective of any piece of content is to start a conversation with prospects and move them further along the purchase process. This is best done when addressing the problems of your community and using your content to offer practical solutions.
- Creative content: What kind of content are you going to create? Basic rule: each thing you send, promote or post must be unique to your brand and evoke an emotion that resonates with the reader. A good idea is to create a monthly content plan. Uniqueness, simplicity and practicality within your specific company context would be the key characteristics of each content section.
- Change: the ultimate objective of digital marketing is to lead your users throughout the purchase -consideration process. Educate your community about new thoughts and opportunities, ideas or your brand very slowly. This is a very long process and it always leads to the end of the funnel (rings a bell?). One article or a piece of content does not convert the visitors into paying users.
After answering above 7 elements/questions, your next step should be a creation of an activity roadmap directly connected to each element, followed by a short budget linked to each element.
This is an initial/ground task of a professional content marketing planner!
Before we part, here is some more inspiration!
What you can see as elements in these examples, in line with the 7Cs, are:
- design of web pages and fonts that are easy to read
- providing valuable journalistic content that is a good alternative to the mainstream media
- appearance of the home page
- an effective way to engage readers in the services they provide
- the menu at the top shows well the different sections they provide
- effectively embedded social media posts in articles
- focus on hyperlocal stories.
In Kristina Halvorson’s words, who is the founder of the world’s first and foremost content strategy consultancy, “quality web content that is useful, usable, and enjoyable is one of the biggest competitive advantages you can create on the www.”
Understandably, for any small Balkan media, the creation of a digital marketing strategy represents a huge challenge, mostly due to the lack of human capital. However, the usage of useful tools like 7Cs and understanding the fact that nowadays it is not just important to have GOOD content, will unequivocally give you a good head start.
The way your audience will consume that “good” content and the experience you will create while they consume it - is taking the primal role in the media industry, and this will ensure your competitive advantage in the future.