Tag Archives: planning

Fireworks and Bonfires. A true story.

Great analogy from the Feeding the Puppy blog: fireworks attract people, but bonfires are needed to sustain peoples’ interest.


To illustrate that this is far more than a simple metaphor, I will now transcribe to you a recent conversation I had with “Mr Adman”, who has been running marketing campaigns for many years:

Mr Adman: “We need to do some Word of Mouth. We need a 360 Social Media Plan, with a clear ROI. I want to be us to be in all the latest Social Media sites like Facespace and Twitty ASAP!”

Me: “Err… OK, how about we do this:

We put on an awesome and magical firework display to attract people, hopefully even make it cool enough for people to call up their friends and say ‘get down to the harbour, there’s an unbelievable firework display going on!’. We could even put up some cool posters to tell people it’s happening.

At the same time, we build a great big bonfire to keep people warm. We ask if there’s any refreshments people would like, and if  so we can sell them some tasty snacks and drinks while they are there. (You can even call that ROI if you want.)

Of course we let people take part in building the bonfire. We’ll chat to people about what interests them. If it makes sense, we’ll bring up how our product might be useful to them, maybe even show them how it works. Then – since people don’t need chaperoning – we’ll make sure people have enough wood etc to keep the fire going themselves. We’ll encourage someone to take charge – it doesn’t have to be us. Maybe we’ll even leave a guitar or something so they can make their own entertainment.

Then we move on to another site to build another fire for another group of people. But we’ll check back regularly to make sure the original fire is still burning and ask if there is anything we can do to help.”

Mr Adman: “What about getting on Twitty and FaceSpace?”

Me: “If we do this well and make people happy, they will want to reciprocate and do nice things on our behalf, maybe even buy some of our products. If we exceed their expectations, then they will talk about us in their normal daily conversations (offline, nine times out of ten). But don’t worry, sometimes they will also talk about us on social media sites, so I guess you could call this a social media marketing plan. If you have to.”

Mr Adman: “Great! Absolutely, totally got it! One small problem is that we don’t have quite enough budget available, so my suggestion is that we just focus on the fireworks and skip the bonfires this time…”

Me: “….sigh….”

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Owned, Bought and Earned Media

[NB UPDATED POST on this topic: https://danielgoodall.com/2009/05/20/owned-bought-and-earned-redux/]

At Nokia we have been using the following simple model for our Digital Media Planning for about a year now.


Like all good models, it is designed to be very, very simple.

Owned Media
Obviously one of the things available to you is your own web site. With Nokia it gets a bit more complex, since we have so many media that we “own”: http://www.nokia.mobi (perhaps the most visited mobile site in the world?), MyNokia (Nokia’s CRM program), all of our service sites (ovi.com, ngage.com, nokia music), as well as more niche sites like beta labs etc. Quite a few options, before any media has even been bought: my team is currently planning to pull together a kind of internal media bank to keep track of all the options in terms of Nokia’s own media.

Bought Digital Media
This clearly has a role, although often it is overemphasized by agencies who make money out of percentages of media spend. Banners have a role in terms of awareness, but I’m not a fan of buying media in general, except when the creative proposition is great. Mostly, I see it as a necessary evil, except with search marketing, which is more interesting to me as it is less interuptive.

Earned Media
IMO, this is where the action is. This is where you have done something so cool or interesting that people want to use their own media to tell others about it, and hence you earn media. I am currently reading this brilliant analysis of why things spread from the guys at MIT.  They claim that content is shared (and therefore Media is Earned) because of three main factors relating to the dynamics of groups.

  1. To bolster camaraderie and articulate the (presumably shared) experiences and values that identify oneself as belong to a particular community (“bolstering their identity”)
  2. To gather information and explain difficult to understand events or circumstances.
  3. To establish the boundaries of an “in-group”.

Good stuff.

Some people think that Earning Media is about getting free space when budgets are tight. In my experience, Earning Media is a not necessarily a cheap option, and is certainly more time-consuming than buying media with big networks. More importantly, Earning Media is about engaging with consumers on their terms and gaining trust based on genuine understanding. Consumers don’t trust advertising, but they do trust peer recommendation. As long as brands don’t abuse this situation, then this leads to better quality, more authentic and more relevant marketing.

You can of course go into much more detail with each of these. And there are interesting overlaps. But in general, it is a simple model that has been useful in our digital planning.

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