Previously we mentioned three types of media important to all businesses. That includes not just big companies and blog owners, but all small businesses as well. These three methods include earned, owned, and paid media. Now, it is important to understand how these methods work and what you as a small business can learn from how other businesses have utilized these methods to achieve success.

Take a look at Balzac’s Coffee Roasters. It may seem like a regular coffee shop and coffee bean seller, but the company has grown substantially through its marketing methods. Its a personal favorite of mine, so let’s have a look at their marketing efforts.

Owned Media

In owned media, the company has a quality website. It provides information, directs customers to products, and even sells products directly. It does not have a mobile site or a blog, though. In this case, it does not seem necessary. However, the company has a strong Twitter account and offers promotions, insight, and unique advice and tidbits through it.

Paid Media

In paid media, the company does not focus on display ads or paid search. It does do community support and donations. This tends to create the strong personal relationship companies have with their customers who, in this case, are locals.

Earned Media

For Balzacs, the company has a number of things going for them. For Word Of Mouth, the company is doing very well. We all know how important this type of marketing is and it is clear to see the company’s positive reviews on Google. This has helped the company to excel. Additionally the company has good Buzz. And, when you look at its viral components, you’ll see it has nearly 2000 likes on its Facebook page and ranks with 53 “talking about this” and “94” were here. Those are good numbers for a small business.

My personal favorite is the buzz they generated with Dragon’s Den Dragon’s Den Season 6 Episode 1. Here they not only acquired capital investment, a business partner and a great endorsement of their product but also got the added benefit of national TV coverage. 

Area for improvement

Like all companies, Balzacs has areas for improvement. Adding a mobile friendly website or a blog for content marketing could be helpful. Additionally, paid search could bring in more people to the coffee shop for events or flash sales.

Balzac’s Media Mix

Media Type Examples Research
Owned media Website
Mobile site No
Blog No
Paid media Display ads No
Paid search No
Sponsorships Formal process for community support / donations available on their website:
Earned media Word Of Mouth Good [online] word of mouth indicators, they have strong reviews both on google and on Yelp
Buzz Appearance on Dragon’s Den Dragon’s Den Season 6 Episode 1
Viral Balzac’s Coffee on Facebook page has: 1,987 likes · 53 talking about this · 94 were here and 147 ratings And on twitter, they’ve been added as member to many lists


As with all small businesses, though, having positive earned media is critical. In fact, you could say it is the backbone of this and other small businesses. Without earned media, it is hard for such businesses to do well. The question is how does your business rank in these areas? Where do you have room to improve in these three areas? Examining this could answer many of your most important questions for how to improve your company’s ranks.

Mark van Berkel is Founder and President of Hunch Manifest Inc. While managing business operations he also leads the team in designing semantic technology to provide personalized online presence and reputation management services. Prior to forming the company, he was consultant in enterprise software projects to companies including Panasonic, Shell, and General Electric and was an Architect for a world leading human capital management software-as-a-service. Mark holds a Bachelor of Information Systems from StFX University and did his graduate studies at University of Toronto, getting a MEng Industrial Information Engineering and an MBA, Strategy and Innovation from the Rotman School of Management. In 2006 he published a 170 page report as a researcher at the Semantic Technologies Lab at the University of Toronto and built a semantic technology prototype for SAP Research Labs. Connect with Mark on LinkedIn or Twitter. Mark is also certified in Google Analytics.