Owned, Shared and Earned Media Marketing Lessons form Chekov
I’ve been thinking about the shift from paid to owned, shared and earned media marketing channels a lot lately.
Outbound media symbolizes the old way of doing things. Inbound media is revolutionary.
And these new inbound, digitally powered channels have been met with all kinds of resistance.
Anton Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard explores a similar theme.
I saw it performed in Los Angeles tonight and was struck by just how relevant the play’s themes are today.
Perhaps that’s why they chose to stage it?
In an age where so many business leaders are still taking a wait and see attitude towards digital marketing, despite undeniable trends which they acknowledge and accept.
In The Cherry Orchard, a family of Russian aristocrats are warned by a nouveau rich businessman that the only way to save their estate is to sell their cherry orchard, subdivide the land and build summer homes, to which the land owner Madame Ranevsky replies, “I just don’t understand such things.”
After laying out a clear, concise business case for the benefits of owned, shared and earned digitally marketing practices to literally hundreds business people, and demonstrating in no uncertain terms how these tools can drive tangible business results, I regret to say that I regularly get a similar response.
The Cherry Orchard ultimately gets sold out from under Madame’s feet, even though she had early warning and a reasonable alternative.
She argues that the orchard has value because it produces fruit, but the arbiter reminds her that the harvest comes once every two years, and people want summer homes today.
Ultimately it is he, the son of peasants, who buys the orchard, after she ignores his advice.
Much as the aristocrats in the play take a laissez fair attitude toward the inevitability of their fate, faced with mounting debt and no way to satisfy it, I see a chilling parallel to the marketing and PR trades, where executives often choose not to use digital marketing to achieve the same objectives they are chasing through print and broadcast advertising, direct mail, cross promotions, media relations and trade shows.
As these outbound media channels wane in importance and reach, and inbound channels like the web, search and social rise, the executives relying primarily on interruption marketing tactics risk losing their autonomy and P&L responsibility to “digital marketers” who use pull media programs.
With a global audience using search engines daily, and Google’s as revenue outpacing the three major broadcast networks in prime time, you don’t need to be a visionary to realize that a laissez fair attitude toward digital marketing is damaging to your career.
It’s like letting the cherry orchard be sold out from under your feet.
When I demonstrate how online SaaS tools can help marketers and PR pros with marketing, I often hear the words “we have digital people who take care of that.”
But as the digital continues its rise in importance and influence, I can see the day when the conventional marketing and PR execs — who adopted a laissez fair attitude toward online marketing — will wind up reporting to the very same “web guys” that they used to have upload and SEO their content.
These “slaves” they tell what to do today, will inherit the owned, shared and earned media orchards tomorrow.
For the record, the production was selected by Los Angles Center Theater Group’s new artistic director Michael Ritchie and starred Annette Benning as Madame Ranevsky and Alfred Molina as Yermolai Alexeyitch Lopakhin.
And the Los Angeles Center Theater Group, which is in desperate need of funding to sustain itself, could use help search engine optimizing their website, which would definitely help them reach the younger audiences they say they want.