Use your digital media ecosystem to build brand loyalty

As business owners, one of our ultimate goals is to create customer loyalty. There is as much as a 90 percent cost reduction when selling to an existing customer compared to acquiring a new one. That’s why it’s important to intimately understand your customers and how your digital media ecosystem can generate leads and earn their loyalty.

Your digital media ecosystem is a complex combination of your online marketing channels that work together to deliver the ultimate customer experience and build brand loyalty.

You can begin to understand your business’s online ecosystem by asking questions and conducting research using online analytics. Some questions to consider include:

  • How did your target audience find you?
  • What devices do they use?
  • What steps did customers take before purchasing or submitting their information?
  • What websites do customers visit?
  • What blogs do they read?
  • How do they search for information?
  • On which social networks are they active participants?

To be effective you need to constantly listen, engage, measure and adapt. As the digital landscape changes so does your online ecosystem. If you stay in-tune, you can adapt your marketing efforts to reflect the changes.

View your digital ecosystem as three types of media: bought, owned and earned.


In today’s competitive digital landscape, you probably have to pay to play.

To grow your business, increase brand awareness and attract new customers, you may be targeting an audience that’s not yet familiar with you. If they’re not familiar with your business or owned media, you need a way to reach out to them.

Paid channels include search engine marketing, online display ads and pay per click campaigns, social media advertising, search engine optimization, public relations, traditional advertising and promotion.

Your bought media should reach a large target audience.


Not all of the people in your target audience will be interested in your products or services.

If you were selective, a good portion should be somewhat intrigued. Those prospects will visit your owned media, which include your online content, company website and blog, social media networks, mobile sites and apps, support forums and specialty communities.

The goal is to always drive bought and earned audiences back to your owned media — especially your website.


You can’t buy or own brand advocates and loyal customers. They’re earned. You earn your email list when people have a reason to provide it to you. You earn social media and offline word-of-mouth.

Your earned channels are often user-created and user-generated. They’re collaborative and constantly evolving. This can include niche networks, social media engagement, fan discussion forums, online reviews, private networks, blogging communities, inbound marketing and offline praise.

Compare your digital media ecosystem to a car headed on a road towards brand loyalty.

Your system of online content and owned channels work together like the parts of an engine and make your car go. Bought and earned channels are like the oil to your ecosystem — alone they can’t make your car go, but they can help make it faster.