The MACH-6 Explained
May 1, 2023|Read time: 9 min.
- The MACH-6, or 6-Level Marketing Asset Control Hierarchy, is our framework to guide your owned asset optimization strategy.
- The MACH-6 stacks assets according to the degree of control your brand has over them, starting with owned (full control), then managed (some control), and finally leveraged (influence).
- All brand assets create opportunities for consumer connection, but optimizing your owned assets builds added control over those you don’t own.
What is the 6-Level Marketing Asset Control Hierarchy (MACH-6)?
The MACH-6, or 6-Level Marketing Asset Control Hierarchy, is Terakeet’s framework and organizational tool for understanding the relationship between all of a brand’s assets (the asset stack). It’s the foundation of your owned asset optimization (OAO) strategy.
Assets are the digital properties, platforms, pieces of content, and media that communicate something to consumers — something about your brand, new industry ideas, and more.
The MACH-6 organizes these assets into three categories based on how much control a brand has over them. These categories are: owned, managed, and leveraged.
Brands have the most control over owned assets — they can decide what, when and where their message gets published.
They have some control over managed assets. Usually they control the message, but not the platform the message is published on.
Brands can only influence leveraged assets — things like reviews or user-generated content where brands have little to no control.
Starting with owned assets — those a brand has full control over — the MACH-6 guides the development of strategies for optimizing all of the assets a brand has in its stack.
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Why we developed the MACH-6
In order to optimize a brand’s assets, it is vital to understand the brand’s asset stack — all of the potential consumer connection points at its disposal. It starts with assessing the entire network of assets to understand which category each asset belongs in.
What matters most is that brands have a clear picture of not just the assets as they exist, but the relationship between them. This highlights opportunities to create and optimize new assets that can strategically strengthen the entire network.
Your brand’s unique MACH-6 identifies gaps and helps you optimize the assets you fully control in order to influence the assets you can’t fully control.
Investment in your brand’s owned and managed assets works to create a strong brand presence. It creates better outcomes across the otherwise uncontrollable leveraged assets.
By prioritizing owned assets first, brands can better facilitate how their stories get told and where they connect with target audiences. Starting with this foundation, brands increase their control across all marketing assets and channels.
Degree of control
Degree of control is how much you can control the message, content, and experience associated with your brand.
The MACH-6 is organized based on a scale of controllability — the closer an asset or channel is to the base of the Mach-6, the more control a brand has over it.
- Leveraged: Brands can influence
- Managed: Brands have some control
- Owned: Brands have full control
Control and reach
Each asset, regardless of its category on the MACH-6, is an opportunity to grow brand reach and a touchpoint to connect with consumers.
The magnitude of reach differs by asset type but the more you develop, optimize, and influence, the more reach you achieve.
As you travel up the MACH-6 framework, reach increases but your ability to control your message and the platforms diminishes.
Your brand’s corporate site can generate major reach on your terms because you totally control it.
If we move up to a managed asset in Tier 3, an ally website — typically an external partner — you can request new content or updates but actually getting it done is up to the ally, not your brand.
Move up to Tier 4 and you get even more potential reach, but even less control.
Balancing reach with control
Brands must maximize their reach with their audience, but reach without control loses its value and can cause damage.
By starting with the fundamental assets your brand owns, and optimizing them to reflect what consumers are looking for, you gain reach AND control. Then, you can move your focus up the MACH-6 to your managed assets and, using the messages in your owned assets, optimize them to the extent possible.
These optimized owned and managed assets then help you influence the narrative told by your leveraged Tier 4 assets.
OAO prioritizes high reach, high control assets because, through them, brands control both the narrative and the platform. They can take immediate action and have the creative and technical freedom to tell their story in a way that will connect with their target audience.
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Powered by consumer needs
From top to bottom, the MACH-6 depends on consumer needs as its guiding principle. No asset works without delivering what consumers want.
It’s a prerequisite for optimization that brands actually know what their audience is seeking. What makes Terakeet’s approach to the MACH-6 different is our utilization of consumer search intent data. It’s one of the most accurate indicators of audience desire.
Understanding what people are searching for on search engines, turning that information into consumer needs insights, mapping those insights to the customer journey, and strategically optimizing your assets to deliver value at every consumer touchpoint.
That’s why OAO and the MACH-6 are revolutionary for brands.
The digital battleground
The online digital marketplace is the battleground where the MACH-6 is deployed. Everywhere online brands and other entities are fighting an attention war — vying for engaged consumer audiences.
The MACH-6 framework and owned asset optimization, rooted in real-time consumer needs data, identifies critical opportunities to turn attention into authentic customer relationships.
Asset categories of the MACH-6
As previously touched on, assets are divided into three categories, from the least to greatest degree of control — owned, managed, and leveraged.
Below we dive deeper into each category, to explain the nuance of each category and tier.
Leveraged assets are not brand-controlled, and include user-generated content and third-party content.
While brands don’t control leveraged assets, an investment in highly optimized managed and owned assets positions brands to influence the narrative and conversations happening between leveraged assets.
Leveraged assets, deployed correctly, can amplify brand reach.
In the MACH-6, leveraged assets land in Tier 4, the least controllable asset tier. Examples include:
- Affiliates — Content sites that inspire visitors to click through to an online retailer, make a purchase, and generate fees.
- Influencers — Individuals with followings and clout who sell the attention they generate from their sites, blogs, and social media accounts.
- Reviews — Reviews of brand offerings by customers.
- Word-of-mouth — The narrative around your brand among consumers online.
- User-generated content — Content created by individuals outside of the brand that can be used to promote the brand.
- News — Media coverage of brand-related stories.
Managed assets land between owned and leveraged on the controllability spectrum. Brands have some, but not full, control over them.
These assets often live on third-party websites and platforms that brands don’t own, but can use to connect with consumers. Brands can generally control the messaging of managed assets but don’t control the platforms themselves or their algorithms.
Less controllable managed assets, including:
- Organic search — The all-important channel consumers rely upon to ask for help or access the critical information they need. This is where consumers reach out, ask questions, and access other brand assets.
- Company profiles — Company listings on various corporate profile sites like Crunchbase, Bloomberg, etc.
- Ally websites — Sites of brand partners, associated brands, connected organizations, philanthropic organizations, and other brand allies.
- Content syndication — Republishing the same piece of content on one or more different third-party websites.
- Wikipedia — The free online encyclopedia that lists many major brands and brand leadership.
More controllable managed assets, including:
- Social media — Brand-controlled social profiles on platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.
- PR, events, and comms — Events, public relations, and related communications and marketing.
- Bylines — Articles written by brand representatives, published on third-party platforms.
- Advertisements — The portfolio of digital ads a brand utilizes.
- Email — Email lists, newsletters, and other email-powered assets.
Owned assets are the most controllable assets. These are digital brand properties and platforms that are truly owned by the brand. Brands can assert full technical and creative control over owned assets. This makes them the most powerful assets in a brand’s asset stack.
Optimized owned assets let brands tell their story consistently and publish content that connects with consumers. They can also mine even more consumer insights from the ways consumers interact and respond to their owned assets.
Owned assets including:
- Pillar content — Corporate website pages that contain substantial content that can be broken down into many different, smaller pieces of content.
- Blog posts — Anything published on a brand’s blog to reach and connect with consumers
- Tools and downloads — Lead magnets, white papers, one pagers, free tools, and other resources brands offer to their audience
- Corporate communications — Any communication from the brand like announcements, press releases, and financial statements.
Corporate websites — This is your crown jewel, the vehicle that brings your brand story to the right people and gives you the platform to connect with them.
Your website is also where a majority of conversions happen. OAO optimizes your website to reach, connect and convert more of the right people.
The core business documents that define all brand messaging. This includes:
- Brand language and visual identity — The core elements of brand identity from visuals to language and everything in between
- Customer personas — The brand’s unique personas that define the ideal customer
- Proprietary data and intellectual property — The unique assets that define a brand’s competitive edge.
- Market positioning — How the brand articulates its identity in the marketplace.
- Company values and purpose — The guiding principles of the brand.
- Executives and employee ambassadors — Leaders who can speak on behalf of the brand.
The MACH-6 visualized
Getting started with the MACH-6
The MACH-6 helps you fully understand and visualize what assets your brand has, and how you prioritize your investment in assets at different degrees of controllability.
First, use the MACH-6 to visualize and understand what assets you have, where they fall between categories, and how they function together as a network. This helps identify gaps in your network of assets and uncover opportunities to optimize.
Then, consider your entire marketing spend and what is being prioritized. Your owned assets can unify all of your other marketing efforts, and should therefore be a top priority.
For example, if you’re spending big on ads, but don’t have fully optimized owned assets as your foundation, the effectiveness and ROI of the ads is much lower. Once your owned assets are optimized to deliver value to and authentically connect with consumers, you can point ads toward those assets to reduce CAC and increase conversions.
With your unique MACH-6 outlining your asset stack, you gain critical insight into your asset network. Your MACH-6 will uncover optimization opportunities, and is the start of developing a powerful OAO strategy.
It’s the first step to building more authentic, trust-based customer relationships.
A transformational tool
The MACH-6 is a visualization tool and organizational framework to help brands realize the massive opportunity of owned asset optimization.
OAO represents a seismic shift for the marketing industry, to a “reception marketing” model. The new model maximizes trust, builds authentic consumer connections, and increases ROI across the board.
Brands that prioritize the optimization and development of a network of owned assets aren’t just spending marketing dollars, they’re actually making long-term investments that will create major value in the future.
Once a brand has optimized assets meeting real consumer needs, and delivering value to its audience, building customer relationships becomes all but guaranteed. The MACH-6 is where your transformational strategy begins.