Why POEM Matters


The amount of brand messaging, articles, pictures, videos, just sheer information available for consumption on any given day is mind-boggling, even overwhelming. Businesses are competing for attention, to be heard above the noise and reach their audiences with engaging and relevant content.

Enter POEM (no, not the literary device). POEM stands for “Paid, Owned, Earned Media” and represents a marketing and communications model that, if done right, provides a holistic approach to getting a message out into the world in front of the right people at the right time.

As a fully integrated agency, GS&F’s public relations, digital insights and engagement, and media teams work hand in hand to implement the POEM model across our clients. Public Relations Account Supervisor Kristin Hampel, Sr. Vice President and Media Director Laramey Lawson, and Vice President and Director of Digital Strategy and Engagement Eric Scism sat down for a candid conversation about how and why POEM works.

What is the POEM model, and why does it matter?
Laramey: I think it’s really built to address the fact that it’s a very complicated landscape out there right now. It’s not the way it used to be where you basically projected the message out. Now, it’s much more of a conversation back and forth. There are so many different touch points that are required, and I think what we’re trying to do is bring all those different things together so they are meaningful and relevant in an authentic way.

Kristin: I think now with social media channels and bloggers and the amount of digital news outlets, there are so many ways you can have other people tell your story. You can craft the story, you can come up with the content in one manner, but you really have to have the support across the whole paid owned and earned model to really amplify it and make sure you’re using people in your communities to tell that story, really latch on and tell it through word of mouth.

Eric: There’s so many different ways to have that initial brand experience from a digital side. Depending on what channel you’re on, you can see an ad on a search engine if someone goes there, or you can see it on social, so having that cohesiveness between the channels is incredibly important. I think that’s why when we go into the strategic planning sessions, we have to be aligned to understand the different objectives and see all the opportunities we have to engage with people and have that one single strategy mindset where we say “this is how we’re going to do it” and drive into tactics based on the channels.

What is the strategic process like when we take on a campaign from the beginning, and how do all the departments work together to reach a client’s goal?

Eric: It all starts with insights, because without those initial insights and the research of how this target audience consumes media and where they live and play—if we don’t understand that—we won’t effectively get the message out there. We come in with that information and take some time to digest that, and then we start to get together as a group.

Laramey: It’s definitely the insights that are the real genesis of how we then say, okay, this is what we need to do to be a part of their day or journey.

Kristin: And we want to know what they need. What is the information that resonates with them? Then, you can craft messages that speak directly to fill that need. So it’s not so much a sell, it’s the “we hear you” and here’s the answer.

Eric: I think what Kristin said has kind of been the biggest shift in advertising and marketing probably in the last ten years. It’s just an unfathomable amount of new information that’s created each day, so people are out there looking for answers to solve their problems. So brands have to provide answers and solutions to their problems, not just push a message out there saying we’re the best. We have to be information providers now.

Laramey: That’s why there’s so much focus on content.

Given the landscape, what’s your best piece of advice as businesses look to reevaluate their marketing strategies?
Kristin: I think it would be just be open-minded. Because I think a lot of clients come in and they think they need social media, they need a Facebook page, and it’s so much bigger than that. Anyone can start a Facebook page, but in order to make it work, you really have to address it with the whole POEM approach.

Laramey: To Kristin’s point, oftentimes in order to get the scale that you need, you have to have paid media behind it to amplify the message. So I think a lot of people pulled back on their paid, and they’re starting to realize that wasn’t as wise as they thought. You still need that overarching awareness so you can drive them deeper into the funnel and engagement.

Eric: I think overall, the messaging has to be engaging and relevant.

GS&F is a fully integrated marketing communications agency based in Nashville, Tennessee. We take an unbiased approach to discover what is true about your brand and create an experience to reach consumers and drive results. GS&F provides clients expert marketing, planning, creative, web and app development, UX, and media and public relations specialists under one roof. The agency serves national, regional and local accounts, including A. O. Smith, Bridgestone, Hunt Brothers Pizza, International Comfort Products, LP Building Products, Nashville Predators, Tennessee Titans, and The University of Tennessee Medical Center. To find out more information on GS&F, visit the agency’s website at www.gsandf.com.

pictured (left to right): Kristin Hampel, Eric Scism, Laramey Lawson
photo courtesy of GS&F