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P2P revolution in marketing: What are the benefits?

Gone are the days of B2B and B2C


Gone are the days of B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing. The P2P (people-to-people) Revolution is here and marketing has shifted immensely to a much more personal approach – putting a name and a face on business and focusing on relationships, as opposed to business and the bottom line.

Why the change? The answer lies largely in today's technology. In years past, companies relied on mass communication--primarily broadcast and print-- to reach consumers. Each communique was projected to the masses with the hope that the message struck a chord with at least a few members of the target audience. Today's technology allows for a more personalized experience for the customer. With social media platforms, companies can speak directly to their target consumers versus broadcasting to the masses.  Companies can be conversational, informal, and delve down rabbit holes which are only of interest to their niche audience. Breweries can speak directly to beer geeks, yoga studios can commune with their yogis.

Not only does P2P marketing reach the target audience, it is more personal. Individuals who make up a company can speak to their audience and share a unique voice and perspective on products or services. After all, the businesses themselves aren't decision makers. It's the people inside the brick and mortar buildings who determine whether or not a product or service is worthwhile.  Further, the customer is no longer a faceless entity either, it is Bob Smith and Susie Jones who actively engage with the product and share information with their friends.

"A business is faceless; it doesn’t have emotions and a personality, it doesn't stay up at night worrying about the bottom line and strategizing best-business-practices to stay competitive. It’s a shell, a logo...If you think of potential customers as businesses, and not as individual people, you’ve already lost."

As a marketer, how do you speak to Bob and Susie, now that you know exactly who they are? Let's consider the benefits of P2P marketing for your business:

1. Differentiation. What motivates a single woman in her mid-thirties is likely entirely different from what motivates a grandmother in her late sixties, so using the same marketing strategy to reach both women is ineffective. Part of differentiation is understanding the needs of the individual person you're trying to reach and then creating content that speaks to those unique needs.

2.  An engaging experience. P2P marketing allows you to show your company's personality. Think about the most likeable brands out there today. They probably use humor and creativity in their P2P marketing, so don't be afraid to think outside of the box. While it's important to produce unique and entertaining content to keep your audience engaged, it's equally important to make sure your content is credible and trustworthy.

3.  Interaction with customers. With today's social media platforms-- including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn-- consumers can speak up and voice their opinions through likes, shares, and comments. Allowing customers to interact directly with you promotes trust and credibility. Responsiveness to customer questions, comments, and concerns adds a human touch to a brand that might otherwise seem impersonal.

Finally, P2P marketing often results in long-term relationships with customers. When they feel like they're valued as individuals, customers will return to you time and again. Though quite different than the marketing strategies seen on Mad Men, P2P affords an opportunity to target specific consumers, build stronger relationships with these consumers, and facilitate an ongoing conversation with the consumer long after the point of purchase.

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Michelle Ellis

Michelle Ellis is a partner with the Denver-based PR agency Orapin Marketing + Public Relations. She is a veteran communications professional with more than 17 years of experience in local, regional and national public relations programs, social media campaigns, marketing communications, community relations and event promotion, as well as broadcast journalism. Michelle was named the 2015 PR Person of the Year by PRSA Colorado. Contact her at hello@orapinmarketing.com or at 720.515.8219.

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