Utilizing Paid Media to Perfect Your Marketing Triforce

Any Legend of Zelda fan knows of the legendary Triforce; golden sacred triangles left behind on Hyrule after the Golden Goddesses left. The Triforce of wisdom, courage and power when combined have the power to grant the wish of anyone who has an equal balance of the three in their heart. If someone does not have that balance however, the Triforce breaks apart, leaving the piece that best suits the person with them.  I believe this is a perfect parallel to explain the current imbalance of marketing today. Trends have been popping up for marketers to bandwagon on and take advantage of for their own strategies. The latest one just so happens to be inbound marketing. While it is very important to be engaging with your customers, a talk on Thursday from Content Harmony’s Kane Jamison had me pondering something: With everyone jumping on the social media and content marketing wagon, how are we now to differentiate ourselves in an over saturated trend? The answer is in our roots; Paid Media.

What? I thought Inbound Marketing Was All I Needed?

For a quick refresher course, there are three types of media in marketing: Paid, Owned, and Earned. Lately, the line between owned and earned have been getting blurred, with blogs being hosted on a company’s website, and company’s having Facebook pages and twitter accounts. Because of this supposed merge, paid media has been taking a back seat in some businesses’ marketing strategies.

Let’s be honest: as great as earned and owned media are, it’s easier to get your name out there when you have paid media as a jump off point. Content marketing is a fantastic strategy, and does have a lot of advantages, but it can’t work by itself. I feel that marketers are getting a bit desperate to find a way to connect with their audiences, and content marketing just so happens to be the latest save. The problem is, that shouldn’t be the case. The thing that differentiates us isn’t within one strategy we do very well, but how we integrate that strategy into our overall marketing mix. A recent article in ClickZ mentioned how paid media is great for driving awareness and making promises to consumers, and it’s owned and earned media that delivers on those said promises. Don’t count Paid media out; it may not be the main source of authority for consumers, but it definitely is a main source of awareness.

There was an Altimeter Report as well that talked about the idea of Converged Media, which is the idea of “utilizing two or more channels of paid, earned, and owned media…characterized by a consistent story line, look, and feel…(whereby)…all channels work in concert, enabling brands to reach customers exactly where, how, and when they want, regardless of channel, medium, or device, online or offline“. As you can see, it’s because all three of these powers are working together, than we get a new evolved form of marketing that allows us to take consumers on a journey from general consumer, to promoter and loyal customer.

The Triforce of Marketing
The Triforce of Marketing

Isn’t Paid Media Dead Though?

Despite how much I harp on it, I disagree with the fact that Paid Media is ‘dead’.  While it may be on the sidelines, paid media has major advantages. Paid Media, like all forms of marketing, is transforming as technology does. TV commercials are a great example. Recently, commercials have been starting to use hastags in their commercials to start conversations online. 50% of Super Bowl 47 commercials had hashtags included in them. Here is an infographic from Sysomos that tested their effectiveness:


Superbowl commercials are the most talked about advertisements each year. How do they become effective? Earned media. Why is the earned media so successful in creating leads? Because of the paid media. Starting to make sense? It is a constant cycle of ebb and flow. One can’t work without the other two.

Here’s a nifty little chart I found in a white paper from Fast Company that depicts that perfectly,



All in all,  these three work best all together. You should always strive to write engaging content that is worthy of being shared, but don’t let that be the only thing going for you in your marketing strategy. Optimizing your paid media to work with the rest of your marketing strategy will give you the balance you have been searching for, and ultimately grant you your wish of successful campaigns.

Did you play Legend of Zelda when you were a kid? Of the three, what piece of the Triforce would paid media be (Courage, Wisdom, or Power)? Let me know in the comments below!


  • Hi Lizzi,

    Smart thoughts and I agree. On our larger content campaigns we try to sell clients on the concept of building in a content amplification component. Some love it and some don’t believe in it, but it complements owned media very well when your content is worth talking about.

    In general, our content amplification services focus heavily on the “native” side of paid advertising – specifically ads in-feed in Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin, and “Recommended Content” services like Outbrain, Zemanta, and Disqus. Brief description of that here: http://www.contentharmony.com/services/content-amplification/. These ads in the normal feed/stream are more expensive but way more effective from what we’ve seen, and users don’t seem to be turned off by them in the same way they are with sidebar ads.

    Here’s another article published today that I think you might like: http://www.iacquire.com/blog/content-amplification/

  • Thank you for that article! It’s funny how all three of these tracks are slowly merging into one. Native ads are a great example with them being within social media channels and less “annoying”.

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