For years, marketing teams have put their attention on the four p’s – product, price, promotion and place (distribution). Changes in market conditions have created a fifth p – and marketers are taking notice.
Social media has empowered the customer. Brands today are not swayed by advertising budgets or multi-million dollar productions. Today’s celebrity is the one who creates the conversation – and that celebrity status applies to personalities as well as brands.
Companies are hungry for the loyalty of days gone by. While super-brands like Apple and Google continue to dominate their market spaces, their stories are the exception not the rule. Small firms with fewer than 500 employees represent 99.9% of the employers in this country, according to the US Small Business Administration. For smaller firms, the universal nature of social media sites has created a great equalizer: positive buzz is not necessarily related to your ad spend. But intelligence is required to move the marketplace in a crowded arena of tweets, likes and pokes.
Enter the Fifth P
For brands to succeed in the current marketplace, they must consider the 5th ‘p’: Personalization.
Customers today don’t want to be sold; they want to know why. Why you? Why THIS brand? Why now? And those answers must delivered on a personal basis, as part of the social media conversation.
The fact that your company is the biggest doesn’t matter. Bigger, faster, stronger is yesterday’s news.
Clients today are looking for resonance – that personalization that makes them feel that your brand is aligned with their values in a personal way.[/box] For customers today, products and services have lost their meaning. Experience is the new currency – money is traded for the experience, whatever that experience may be. From skydiving to saving orphans, driving a Jaguar or implementing an ERP software package, the experience is what matters. Still, traditional product companies don’t always understand the experience that they are selling. Saying that you sell “products” is only telling a small portion of the story – at least, in your customers’ eyes. Consider the total experience – from shipment to service to upgrade – and you see the personalization that every brand needs.
Chris Westfall is an award-winning MBA instructor, through the Business Leadership Center, at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. He regularly speaks at top-tier colleges and universities, including Texas A&M, The University of Texas at Dallas, Oklahoma State University, and others. He will be teaching marketing at Texas Christian University in the Fall of 2012. In addition to being recognized as the National Elevator Pitch Champion, he has appeared on CNN, ABCN NEWS, NBC TV, and many other media outlets.
He is the author of “Five Great New Elevator Pitches” and “The NEW Elevator Pitch” (due out from Marie Street Press in May 2012). For information on how to get a discounted copy of his new book, please visit http://thenewelevatorpitch.com