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Getting consumers to participate in your brand

Product, Place, Price and Promotion – the traditional 4 Ps of the marketing mix, which the industry is all too familiar with.

The evolution of marketing, however, has thrown up a fifth P: Participation, said Sanjeeb Chaudhuri, global chief marketing officer and regional head, South Asia, Standard Chartered Bank.

“I would almost use the fifth P to be a P squared,” he added explaining that it is not just participation but also partnership.

Consumers today, he explained, want to work with their service provider or even the manufacturer of products and services they consume. In the new age of marketing, consumers are often willing to share their experiences online and in real time allowing them to often become co-creators of content for the brand.

This in turn empowers them to be both participants of the brand and partners of the product.

The new content model

While marketers generally tend to think about content only in the online or the mobile world, Chaudhuri reminds us that historically, content has always been key in marketing.

He cites the example of Procter and Gamble. In 1930, Procter and Gamble promoted their detergent products through television episodes which led to the word “soap opera” being coined. But today, content is not longer distributed in a broadcast model or a funnel.

“Content today is still a work of art created by somebody but the fact is you also have lots of stuff happening at the same time – be it peer reviews, buyers, contributors, user generated content and more,” Chaudhuri added. “This is a convoluted model of how content is being absorbed, and co-created by consumers.”

This then becomes participative and a partnership between buyers, sellers and influencers. One brand which has successfully grasped the concept of the fifth P is Burberry.

Burberry engaged with its consumer by enabling the consumer to help co-create an actual trench coat and customise it. Customers can choose different styles and designs of details online and each customer can virtually experience the garment on the website before the final product is produced. The product can then be picked up at the store. This not only empowers consumers but also helps them form a bond with the brand, he added.

“It is especially important for marketers today to have a business model which connects with consumers,” said Chaudhuri.

“But we believe that the consumer is getting smarter in trying to filter out the noise and get exactly the deal he or she is looking for.”

Read the full transcription of the presentation in Marketing’s special edition The Futurist next month.

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