by Jim Walker
Every Marketing 101 student learns the 4Ps of Marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. However, powered by the rise of social media, a new and dramatically different set of 4Ps is emerging: Participation, Permanence, Portability, and Pithiness.
At it’s core, social media is about massive, constant, and incredibly diverse participation across every age and demographic. The digital ecosystem that has blossomed over the last few years has created a completely transformational marketing and communications language. This new lingua franca consists of millions - often billions - of Tweets, Pics, Clips, and Apps. Suddenly we find ourselves constantly updating our status, sharing pictures across vast social networks, watching video clips, and using mobile apps anywhere and everywhere. These countless Tweets, Pics, Clips, and Apps are the elemental particles of a newly born participatory communications universe which is rapidly upending everything and anything we ever knew about marketing.
Often overlooked in the breathless excitement and fun that surrounds the making and mashing of all these Tweets, Pics, Clips, and Apps into ever more interesting and amazing tools, is the astounding fact of permanence. As far as we can tell from this vantage point in the early 21st century - EVERYTHING in the unfolding digital maelstrom is going to be floating around out there, FOREVER. Whether all of this content becomes like hazardous space junk circling the earth, or settles into rich layers of organic material that future generations will mine for creative genius remains to be seen. Either way, permanence is a critical factor to consider in the launch and maintenance of any marketing campaign. Your messaging, along with the thoughts and messages of anyone who comes in contact with your brand, is going to be tied together in a vast and permanent searchable archive. If you are clear, consistent and honest in your messaging, then this permanence can be leveraged to build a lasting reputation in the marketplace. On the other hand, if your messaging is muddled, changeable and “less than forthright”, then the permanence of the social media universe is going to create a very very very long-term problem.
As we have discovered, anyone and everyone can crank out an endless supply of Tweets, Pics, Clips, and Apps, but the true litmus test from a marketing perspective is how portable are these campaign elements? In other words, will anyone feel the slightest interest in passing along your content? Keep in mind that portable does not necessarily equate to “massively viral” - rather, the question is - will the people who find you and your product interesting share your story with other people in their network who might also find your story interesting? If the answer is no, then the odds of social marketing failure are rather high. Perhaps certain. However, if the answer is a resounding yes, then be prepared to sell a whole lot of whatever magic you’re selling.
Twitter and Facebook Status are succeeding in an environment of information overload because they are forcing all of us to cut to the chase. Reversing years of endless eMail chains and eye-straining Powerpoint presentations, status updates have re-introduced us to the elegant merits of pithy. The rocket rise of Twitter is in no small part due to their 140 character limit. If you’re not familiar with “140 Marketing” do an experiment and see if your major marketing messages and copy fit in the Twitter box. If not, then it is time to meet and fully embrace pithy. 12Seconds.tv reflects a similar trend in our video viewing habits, while up on YouTube, the ideal viewing length for maximum viral spread is in the two-minute range. Pithy really is the new sexy.
It is no exaggeration to say we are witnessing a massive communications revolution. Tweets, Pics, Clips, and Apps have rapidly become the preferred communication format of 1.5 billion online citizens. In this newly born participatory communications universe, marketers who learn to truly harness the New 4ps of Marketing - Participation, Permanence, Portability, and Pithiness - are likely to find extraordinary success.
Jim Walker is Director of Emerging Media for Cadient Interactive, a digital marketing agency in Philadelphia.
The true art of memory is the art of attention.
Samuel Johnson - 1759
by Jim Walker