Sunday, November 2, 2008

The New 4 P's of Social Marketing

Most of us know the classical 4 Ps of Marketing - product, price, place, promotion. Lately, I’ve been thinking about a variant of the 4 Ps and how these traditional Ps are now changed with the social Web. Here’s my take on how they apply to brands for social marketing today.

PRODUCT: Guess what, brands? In the social Web your product is now any “asset” you have that the user community finds useful, unique and valuable. Sure consumers still love receiving a free product sample. But this is a very myopic view. Instead, assets could be behind-the-scenes footage or an engineer describing the “making of ____” story. Or a useful tool or widget that aids in purchase decision process. Or access to insider or special events. Basically, it’s anything that allows your most passionate fans to build a more intimate relationship with you. You have to think about how to provide service to your fans; and this is not just about your product. In a sense, every company (even product manufacturers) is in the service business now.

PROMOTION: It is no longer about your one-way broadcast out to the world. It is about connecting with and enabling your customers to be your brand ambassadors in their communities. This has increased the importance of and interest in word-of-mouth marketing, especially via blogger outreach.

PLACEMENT: This is key! Where in the online community should your brand engage? We often help brands identify this by mapping their networks. Distribute your content or assets where your target customers are, and be sure it is useful. Assets should be easily shareable and embeddable so your brand advocates can promote your brand for you.

PRICING: Other than social shopping and comparison shopping sites, pricing is not that important. Everyone has known about price transparency online for years. Instead, I would replace price with a more important P:

PARTICIPATION: For brands, this means how you join the dialog online that is happening (with or without you). Many brands talk about “building customer intimacy,” yet they run and hide at the notion of having a true two-way dialog with them online. Ironic, isn’t it? Apparently brands only want to hear positive feedback online. Only after active listening can a brand develop the right strategy to determine how it can participate and not control the conversation. Brands, your voice is only one of many now. But the good news is your customers want to engage with you. According to a recent Forrester report, “63% of consumers say discussion forums created by their favorite brands are more influential than peers or other companies. More than half find any other form of social media content created or hosted by their favorite brands as having a positive or very positive effect on their view of the brand overall.

Do you have your own P to add?

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