Don’t just buy media…BE the media



Most advertising and PR professionals understand “Paid Media” and “Earned Media.”Millennial MadMen are now pioneering “Owned Media” channels. I first read the term in the Harvard Business Review, but before I even finished the article, I calculated the implications. Companies will no longer need to buy or beg for media in a world where they can BE the media. A CRN (Customer Relationship Network) is the Owned Media solution for our time.

Before we explain CRN, it’s important to understand CRM, or “Customer Relationship Marketing.” In short, CRM was an evolution from broadcast marketing to narrowcast marketing using data informed, one-way communication directed at a highly targeted audience. CRN, in contrast, utilizes Participation Media to enable two-way interactions with individual consumers and brands, but using Big Data (short for “Big Brother Data”) on a mass media scale.

Entry-level CRNs are as simple as the conversations between brand representatives and consumers on “The Facebook” (Insider joke. Look it up). More advanced CRN platforms are being developed by the brands, who own the network itself. Some include mobile apps and Web portals, while others include more advanced tools such as interactive TV apps, artificial intelligence and even wrist-band tracking systems. No lie.

Examples of Customer Relationship Networks include:

  • Apple’s iTunes For the first time in history, a single hardware company owns the distribution network for the music industry. And, it’s Genius Playlist can recommend your next favorite hit.
  • is the world’s largest retail CRN. It provides the largest selection of media content and real time-marketing targeted at your needs…because it knows your shopping patterns.
  • Nike+ (Nike Plus) CRN offers you the ability to track your running miles, speed and even race against your friends virtually around the world with, yes, a digital wrist-band.

All of these platforms are built to provide you more value than the competition can so that you will stay within the network. Remember when the titans of the Industrial Age created monopolies? The titans of the Participation Age have grand ambitions as well. I plan to show the power of these networks and more Owned Media platforms in my following posts.