The "Fifth" P of Marketing

Marketing 101 teaches us that acute marketing decisions should take into four main aspects into consideration: Product, Price, Place and Promotion (4 P’s). However, what Marketing 101 does not teach is the importance of the 5th P of marketing.

I would divide the “Fifth” marketing P into two halves that are of equal importance: People (listen) then Participation (engage). Assuming that your passive one-way communication model will be enough for you to be a successful marketer is the easiest road to failure. Web 2.0’s social media services have helped businesses reach out to consumers and encourage brand loyalty through an active two-way relationship.

To conqeur the 5th P, marketers should take the following steps:

– Step one is to listen to the customers for which you have to monitor all talk that is generated about your company. Listening to your target marketing and monitoring conversations that are related to your brand will help you understand your customers’ behavioral patterns and your customers’ perception of your brand.

– Step two is to engage in the conversations. This can be done by participating in existing blogs (commenting), tweeting and retweeting (Twitter), sending e-mails, creating chat rooms on your website where customers can talk to you about their problems, and even by allowing customers to post testimonials about your brand and company. Participation means allowing the customer to have a say in the company’s actions, making sure that they are involved in the entire brand loyalty process, rather than being led by the company. The goal of your participation should be convincing your customers that you are interested in their welfare.

Adding the 5th P to a brand’s marketing mix could play a key role in your brand’s success. Build the right community around your brand, be honest with your customers and give them the tools to create and share right alongside you.

Blogging vs Status-updating

Businesses, content publishers media channels have been pushing for blog creation as a way of engaging existing and reaching new readers. With 133 million blog posts submitted on Technorati since 2002, blogging is deep-rooted in all mainstream online media.

So why do I believe that blogs are losing popularity to Status-updating?

With the popularity and inescapabilty of microblogging and activity streams and time lines, Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed and the like are competing to build a community around the status-updating system – the state of publishing, reading, responding to, and sharing micro-sized updates.

This new trend of pacey interaction is further scattering the conversation and is growing online interaction beyond the host site through syndication to other relevant networks and communities. Those who might typically respond with a formal blog post (on the host site) may now choose to respond with a tweet or a status update.

Blog posts are increasingly being shared in micro communities and social networks which is detouring attention and time away from posts on the host website or blog. Social network users comment back on shared blog post, creating conversations away from the original blog post. We are learning to publish and react to content in “Twitter time” while spending less time blogging, commenting directly on blogs, or writing blogs in response to blog sources because of our active participation in micro communities.

Likes and RTs (retweets) on Facebook and Twitter and posting shortened links that connect friends and followers back to the source post, have changed our behavior regarding blogs and made us major players in defining the evolution of the connectivity and dissemination of online content.

Technorati might not have foreseen it, but Twitter and Facebook might as well be its next biggest competitors.