When I enrolled to study BCom in 1995 one of the courses I did was Marketing Management 101 (I don’t know why the 101, cos there was never any upgrade versions between that and 201). In that course the teach you that Marketing hinges strongly on 4 letter Ps (also known as the marketing mix) – which are Product, Price, Place and Promotion.
Fast forward to 2011. Marketing has changed. A lot too. Those 4 Ps are not a relevant as they used to be. Take for example Product. Do people still buy as much based on the name or the packaging or do they buy more based on who’s behind the product and what they know about them?
It is for this reason that I’d like to offer an alternative letter. One that’s become more and more relevant as marketing evolved between 1995 and 2011 (which is also how long I have been involved in internet marketing). That is the letter C. Let’s look at why it’s more relevant than its predecessor, Mr. P:
Marketing has always been about content. What many salespeople fail to understand is that they really don’t sell. They are actually just evangelists and their job is to put as much information about a product or service in the customers’ hands so as to enable them to make informed purchasing decisions. (So I really don’t understand it when “sales” people win awards, but that’s another debate). When a customer buys from you (not you sold to him), it is because you have influenced his opinion with content.
The best thing to do with a brand these days is to create evangelists and ambassadors, so they can spread the word for and on behalf of your company. This is best facilitated on social networks too, where you use content to create conversations around the content.
People do not buy from companies anymore. They buy from people. This has been true since the time of barter. So in this day and age and with all this technology that enables people to talk to companies directly, true and real connections are necessary to win the hearts and minds of customers. This is where social networks are excellent facilitators. No connection. No sale.
So once you’ve established genuine connections with a slew of clients and prospects, and you are putting enough content out to enable and empower your clients to make quick and sound purchasing decisions, your next step is to ensure that you’re consistent
Back in the day it was cool to flight an ad on TV and if they came they came. If they didn’t.. others would. With all the competition businesses in any industry face these days, you have to hold on to your customers so tight, you MUST ensure they stay brand-loyal. One of the best ways of achieving that is to use the consistent dissemination of content to those you connect with to create conversations consistently over time.. to such an extent that you eventually create a community around your brand. A bunch of people that not only talk to you, but also talk to each other – ABOUT YOUR BRAND.