The integrated marketing mix: getting the most out of your owned, earned and paid media

The Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Mix is both a mouthful and the industry’s best-kept – yet most visible – secret. If you don’t know what it is, there’s a chance your organisation is already using it. If it’s not, it certainly should.

So, what exactly is Integrated Marketing Communications?

Something of an underdog, IMC is the combined use of earned, owned and paid media using public relations, marketing, promotion tools and advertising. Earned media is often thought of as only media coverage, such as news articles and features in broadcast, print, TV or digital. However, it also involves word of mouth; organic brand mentions on blogs and YouTube; reviews on Google or Yelp; and tags on social media. In a nutshell, you’ve earned the coverage.

Owned media encompasses all of your owned communication assets, such as social media channels, email newsletter, blog, website and app (if your business has one). As for paid media, the name says it all – this is coverage you pay for in digital, print and broadcast publications, outdoor media, on search engines and social media platforms.

In today’s globalised and digitalised world, it’s increasingly important to cover all bases to make the most out of your communications. There are three primary reasons for this: firstly, each stream has associated pros and cons; secondly, consistency is key; and lastly, presence is important for breaking through the noise and making an impression upon target audiences.

Using the IMC Mix for success

There are infinite ways in which the IMC mix can be built into a brand’s communications strategy. We’ve listed a couple of clients below for whom we’ve helped execute an IMC strategy in full or in collaboration…


Frame Technologies

Bespoke self-build timber frame supplier, Frame Technologies, integrates earned, owned and paid media on a continuous basis to elevate its profile and increase sales. Using a targeted public relations strategy, social media channels, paid micro-campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and Frame Technologies’ own website, we achieved the following in just one year:

  • A 55% increase in web users
  • A 40% increase in sales enquiries
  • An increase from 0 to almost 1,000 followers on Facebook. By the end of the year, Facebook was the fourth top referrer to the website
  • A coveted ‘Build It’ award win
  • A doubling of followers on Instagram
  • When asked why they approached Frame Technologies, customers referenced impressive search engine results and the fact that the MD appeared in a number of technical slots within reputable magazines, which gave them the confidence that he was an expert in his field

And of course – new customers have resulted in new referrals through word of mouth!

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Read more on how we put Frame-Tech in the consumer frame.


Compass Group Scotland

We worked with Compass Group to execute a range of IMC tactics to cut through the noise for the launch of Compass Scotland as a distinct business. A new product line or company launch is a fantastic campaign piece to apply the Integrated Marketing Communications Mix.

What did we do?

We created a virtual cook-along event led by a renowned Scottish celebrity chef that was live-streamed to 45 participants. Earned media was used by ascertaining heavyweight press coverage in Scottish business and trade media, and the Compass Scotland team pushed out organic posts on social media to further promote the launch, in addition to the announcement on the Compass UK + Ireland website. A big objective of the launch was to generate business leads in Scotland as soon as possible, and the combined efforts of applying an IMC strategy resulted in the signing of new contracts with Scottish businesses.

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Read more about launching Compass Scotland.

Maximising your Earned, Owned and Paid Media

If you consider the biggest and best brand names in both B2B and B2C sectors, chances are they all use IMC in their communications and campaign strategies. Companies and products such as Insta360, GooglePixel, Revolut and Apple all use a cohesive mix of media really well to spread their messaging far and wide – and you can too.

Whether your organisation is large or small, it can benefit from an integrated approach. You don’t have to pay huge sums of money to leverage earned, owned and paid media to increase your organisation’s reach and sales. Like some of our clients, you can opt to run your own media or paid media and engage an agency to build earned media. Alternatively, you could run it all yourself or hand the keys over to an agency to do it all. The choice is yours, but in 2023, it’s time to take control of your messaging and optimise it.

Get in touch to see how we can help you integrate your earned, owned and paid media to help you achieve your business goals.


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