The marketing mix, known as the 4P’s of product, price, placement, and promotion, is changing. A simple Google search for the 4P’s of marketing brings up 4P’s, 5P’s, 7P’s, and 4C’s. The Harvard Review suggests SAVE – solutions, access, value, and education. This approach reflects a market where services are gaining more of the market share, technology is knocking down walls, and the focus is on the customer. I have also seen the 4C’s of Social Media (different than the 4C’s of Marketing) listed as content, conversations, community, connections. Or is it content, context, conversations, and connections? Or content, conversations, community, and conversions?? What the heck??? How do we decide which one to follow?
The good news is that having so many choices out there, at least one should fit your purpose. And when they are reviewed, they have the same basic principles. The 4P’s, it appears, have become a bit dated with the growth of a rising service- and online-based economy. Change is inevitable.
Advertising and press coverage are no longer the only way to get attention. People now want information-based “advertising.” They don’t want a hard sell; they want somewhere to get answers to their questions and on their timeframe. Social media allows companies to communicate directly with their consumers. It is now possible for small businesses to succeed alongside, or without the help of, large corporations. If you are unique or have something people want, you can now get noticed with minimal investment. People can self-publish, set up online stores, and create their own niche market with minimal resources. Amazon, EBay, and Etsy, among others, allow people to market their products directly to their customers.
Newspapers, radio, and television are no longer the only source for information. Up to the minute reports are often broadcast by new media and are able to quickly provide a human aspect to the story – the Arab Spring and the Boston Marathon bombings are prime examples. Bloggers are now accepted as part of the press corps and are often responsible for breaking stories overlooked by corporate, traditional media. Reaching out to and including alternative media sources is a viable option to getting your story told.
To successfully communicate with your audience, use an authentic voice; business casual and conversational. Tell your story or the stories of your clients, but remember that people don’t want spin or propaganda; they want information and facts with which to make their own, informed decisions. You also want to make yourself available in order to create the human interaction and personal responses people are looking for.
The rules of marketing matter. New media has not replaced the old rules, but requires additional rules that fit with the differences in the way information is communicated. New rules, new media, new connections.