We are the 5th P: People by briansolis


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									We are the 5th P: People
By Brian Solis, industry-leading blogger at BrianSolis.com and principal of research firm
Altimeter Group, Author of the highly acclaimed books on social business The End of Business
as Usual and Engage!

Part 4 in a series introducing my new book, The End of Business as Usual…

It seems that adding the word “social” to any category escalates its importance. From the Social
Customer to Social Commerce and from Social Business to Social CRM, the common thread that
weaves everything together is people. It is people after all that are responsible for placing the social
in social media. Everything else is just technology. So why is it that businesses still approach social
media and the services and channels that connect this very human network as it has traditional
media in the past? Just as in the emergence of connected customers, this inherent behavior is
simply part of the DNA. This DNA where perhaps the “D” stands for disconnected represents the
very fabric of business and the very essence that requires evolution in order to genuinely connect
with tomorrow’s customer, today. Operating with a business as usual mindset no longer cuts it.

Regardless of media, good business comes down to a simple process of identifying customers,
learning what they want or need, feeling their challenges, learning how they communicate with one
another, and observing how they discover and share information. Yet, many businesses approach
what is a natural bottom-up occurrence through a top-down system of pushing information, pulling

(cc) Brian Solis, www.briansolis.com - Twitter, @briansolis
would-be customers through funnels, and confining them to artificial feedback loops. To put it simply,
if we visit the traditional 4P’s of marketing of Price, Place, Promotion and Product, the key ingredient
of favorable engagement and business outcomes is the very thing that’s been missing all along,
People – you, me and the individuals who invest in products and sometimes the brands behind them.

Even though businesses are experimenting with engagement in Facebook, Twitter, forums,
comments, et al., I’m not convinced they see us beyond our avatars. Nor do they view our
communities as influential cliques, but rather as rudimentary clicks. Many businesses don’t take the
time to get to know us, yet they invest in new media as an attempt to build relationships without
understanding why we engage.

The bottom line is that customers are not necessarily looking to build relationships with brands.
They’re, we’re, looking for solutions, direction, insights, and value. Information, contests, and clever
videos are now commodities that contribute to the already clogged arteries of new media. But every
day, companies ask customers to “Like” them on Facebook and “follow” them on Twitter weighing
the extent of their efforts on the quantity of the 3F’s (friends, fans and followers) in addition to traffic,
clickthroughs, and views. It’s no wonder why so many pundits debate the value of ROI when
businesses are still not defining the “R” or the return we seek nor are brands defining outcomes.

We’re not driving experiences, we’re reacting to them.

We’re not introducing meaningful value, we’re pushing content and creative.

We’re not designing programs around intelligence, we’re focused on monitoring.

It’s time we had a click to action!

I Think We Need Some Time Apart

A few years ago, Microsoft released a video that to this day personifies the disconnect between
brands and their customers.

Customer: “I want a divorce.”

Brand: “What now?”

Customer, “We don’t talk anymore.”

Brand: “I just put down a mil on a TV commercial just to talk to you.” OR sub that with, “I just
invested time and resources on Facebook and Twitter just to talk to you.”

Customer: “Exactly, you do all the talking, I never get a chance to…[cut off by brand.]”

Brand: “You can talk on our web site can’t you?” OR sub that with, “you can comment, Like, RT, or
interact with us in social networks.”

Customer: “Sure, if I want to say, ‘order this product.’”

Brand, “See…!”

(cc) Brian Solis, www.briansolis.com - Twitter, @briansolis
Customer: “This isn’t exactly dialogue.”

Even in any examples of today’s social media best practices, even the dialogue isn’t representative
of the dialogue customers are seeking or that they find enough value in to continue to return or
interact with brands. The first step in the in a journey that lead brands and customers down
discontinuous paths is the lack of understanding, context, or desire to better understand customers
and the virtual and real worlds in which they dwell.

Again, customers are not on social networks seeking relationships with business. You know that
better than anyone. That’s not why you’re there. You’re there to interact with friends, family, peers
and everyone else who matters to you. In many ways, you are the very person you’re trying to reach
and it’s that perspective that should factor into any business, marketing, service, or product
development cycle moving forward. We are the 5th P of marketing and business and this is the end
of business as usual…

The End of Business as Usual will be available in the coming weeks. You can order now at Amazon |
Barnes and Noble | 800CEOREAD.

Part 1 – Digital Darwinism, Who’s Next
Part 2 – Social Media’s Impending Flood of Customer Unlikes and Unfollows
Part 3 – Social Media Customer Service is a Failure!

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+ | BrianSolisTV

(cc) Brian Solis, www.briansolis.com - Twitter, @briansolis
Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Solis is
globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published
authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and
influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and
culture. His current book, The End of Business as Usual helps companies rethink
business strategies to lead, not react to, the new consumer revolution. His previous
book Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to build and
measure success in the social web.

Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+ | Youtube
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(cc) Brian Solis, www.briansolis.com - Twitter, @briansolis

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