two chess pieces to represent OAO vs digital marketing

OAO vs Digital Marketing

RJ Licata, Sr. Director of Marketing

Key Points

  • Owned asset optimization (OAO) generates demand in a lower cost way than channel-driven traditional marketing strategies.
  • OAO turns a brand’s owned and controlled assets into a new, scalable growth channel.
  • OAO optimizes all digital efforts, improving brand equity and ROI.

OAO and Digital Marketing, Compared

Brands are facing a customer connection crisis. Consumers are empowered, and have access to more options than ever before. They can pick and choose the brands they trust and do business with.

Meanwhile, the traditional marketing landscape is characterized largely by interruption and permission marketing strategies that no longer resonate with this consumer base.

To maximize returns and insulate against risk, brands should consider new and alternative reception marketing methods like owned asset optimization (OAO) that go beyond awareness and forced conversions and focus on authentic connection.

What traditional digital marketing strategies get wrong

Traditional marketing tactics are channel-driven and most put paid advertising first — and they have been successful. But ads are inherently transient — when the spend dries up, so do the results. 

Display and paid search advertising promised clear attribution, but the results are actually opaque, rife with fraud, and built upon inaccurate data. 

To address these shortcomings, brands lean on affiliates and third-party publishers. But these non-traditional competitors end up stealing revenue and online market share, and diluting impact from the brands they work with.

Over-reliance on dollar-in-dollar-out channels has created a fragile ecosystem where brands miss out on conversions without ever realizing it.

Owned asset optimization vs digital marketing tactics

Owned asset optimization differs from other marketing approaches because it puts the strategic focus back on a brand’s owned assets — and how to optimize those assets according to consumer behavior — rather than creating content catered to a specific channel. 

Introducing the MACH-6

Leveraging what’s known as the 6-Level Marketing Asset Control Hierarchy (Mach-6), OAO requires marketers to evaluate consumer intent data in order to understand audience problems and desires in a way that channel-first campaigns can’t.

OAO prioritizes an investment in the assets a brand owns and controls, then layers on more traditional marketing tactics, like paid advertising and affiliate campaigns, to further amplify reach and push competitors out of the online market. 

This “virtuous cycle” of optimizing owned assets earns market share directly for the brand, and lays the foundation for less-controllable assets to build on — improving the performance of all marketing channels. 


With OAO, we’ve seen a 70-90% reduction in our partners’ customer acquisition costs, while strengthening and growing their online presence.


Let’s take a closer look at how OAO strategies differ from the following traditional marketing tactics.

OAO vs. Pay Per Click (PPC)

OAO doesn’t replace paid advertising, instead it reprioritizes your marketing budget to improve campaign results and right-size your investment.

Brands often fall into the trap of trying to expand reach by “buying clicks,” without first understanding what their audience is asking for, and without building the critical content they need to connect. 

In OAO, brands prioritize investment in the assets they own and control, building equity in a network of assets that actually reach and provide value to consumers. 

Strategically layering targeted paid advertising over this foundation helps to increase reach even further — connecting (and often, re-connecting) with consumers who now know and trust your brand, and are more primed to take action.

Traditionally, when a paid ad spend runs out or budget is shifted, the brand loses traffic, attention and transactions. With OAO, the time, money, and effort you’ve invested in optimizing your owned assets continues to provide value beyond your initial spend. 

OAO vs. Enterprise SEO

OAO uses search and optimizes content in ways that go beyond traditional search engine optimization (SEO) strategies

A brand with a well-implemented and effective OAO strategy can use search engines to discover honest and critical consumer search intent data. That data is used to develop content that is purpose-built to deliver real value to consumers by answering the questions they ask.

SEO is only one aspect in the “optimization” of owned assets. Well-optimized assets don’t just appear more in search, they increase a brand’s overall marketing ROI, optimizing the efficiency and conversion rates of paid advertising and social media.

OAO vs Online Reputation Management (ORM)

Managing your online reputation is critical for large brands and the executives who lead them. The holistic nature of OAO fuses a brand’s growth marketing efforts with their brand reputation protection strategy.

Building a foundation of optimized owned assets strengthens a brand’s control over their online presence. It ensures that a brand has an outsized level of knowledge, control, and influence over what assets show up in search results.

By giving brands greater control over the online narrative that search results and third-party websites tell, OAO proactively insulates brands from negative news cycles. Brands are then free to tell their stories on their own terms.

OAO vs Omnichannel

OAO strategies are omnichannel strategies because they focus on connecting with consumers across channels. But not all omnichannel strategies are OAO strategies in that they don’t prioritize a brand’s asset stack. 

A foundation of owned assets optimized using consumer behavior data helps brands build a consistent omnichannel presence. Each owned asset is a potential consumer touchpoint where the consumer can solve their challenges and have a unique and positive brand interaction.

Omnichannel marketing strategies also typically focus on ensuring a path to transaction no matter what channel consumers spend time on. For example, allowing consumers to “add to cart” directly from Instagram.

OAO strategies go beyond the transaction focus to create assets that address the entire customer journey — aligning messaging, consumer experience, and connection, no matter the channel. 

The value of OAO in today’s marketplace

Unlike traditional marketing, OAO helps brands simultaneously expand their reach and control over the digital landscape. Employing an “owned asset first” strategy helps brands consistently connect with motivated consumers who are ready to take action. 

When deciding whether or not to invest in building an OAO strategy, it’s important to understand the business value it can drive.

Discover untapped competition

OAO gives brands a unique opportunity to discover and expand into what is called the “competitive grey area.” This is an area of the market where brands that aren’t traditionally competitors compete for online attention.

For example, you may not typically consider an online magazine such as Architectural Digest a direct product competitor to a leading home loan lender. However publishers like AD often control large portions of industry market share and attention because of their ability to reach consumers along an array of journey points.

Turn attention into connection

Consumers searching for answers online are by definition, motivated. They pulled up Google and are looking for information to help them solve a problem.

OAO naturally targets these motivated consumers by providing the answers they are seeking, without trying to force transactions too soon.

It positions brands as fonts of knowledge, providing solutions and up-front value to consumers in an effort to build relationships and long-lasting, mutually beneficial value.

Increase existing ROI

With an OAO strategy, the assets a brand creates will continue to drive revenue and ROI for years after initial creation, essentially turning them into a controlled performance channel of their own.

With an OAO strategy, a brand’s assets become a controlled performance channel.


As long as the assets continue to provide value for consumers, they will provide measurable results for the brand.

Should you invest in OAO?

An OAO investment helps large brands optimize their entire digital presence for consumer connection, creating tens of thousands of touch points and interactions that support and guide their audience. 

OAO generates demand in a different, and lower-cost way than traditional marketing models, creating a new, adjacent growth channel that can be forecasted and scaled. 

When done well, OAO unlocks a predictable performance engine that brands can activate to drive traffic and revenue from their digital properties.

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