Is P2P marketing the new B2B / B2C marketing?


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P2P? No, it’s not a new hardware term or a new Sony game system.  P2P, or person-to-person, marketing is the result of an evolution in the way we communicate and interact with prospects, customers, friends, family… the world.   Marketers have grown accustomed to classifying strategy in two ways: B2C (business-to-consumer) and B2B (business-to-business).  This is necessary because businesses make purchase decisions very differently than consumers, right?  Wrong, those days are gone.  Our world has changed and so has the way business and consumers make purchase decisions.

The world is globally connected, social, vocal, and demanding in a way marketers could never have imagined just 30 years ago.   It took radio 30 years to reach an audience of 50 million and only 9 months for Facebook to reach 100 million users. In fact, last year, there were more searches on Facebook than there were in Google.  We reward relevance, personalization, and good customer experiences with share of wallet, whether it’s an interaction between a consumer to a business, or a business to another business.  We expect to find what we want, when we want it, wherever we want it.  The idea that businesses somehow make purchase decisions differently than consumers is nonsense.  We are all consumers, and the way we evaluate purchase decisions at home is exactly the same way we evaluate purchase decisions at work.  We go online, we talk to friends, we read reviews, we find INFORMATION.

What has become increasingly obvious is that the delineation between B2C and B2B is slowly blurring.  Call it the “consumerization” of business, but traditional B2B marketing tactics are becoming less and less effective.  Companies that fail to embrace these facts are finding it very difficult to maintain steady or improved return on marketing investment.  Why?  Traditional thinking in business suggests that the brand is owned internally, that somehow the organization can control the brand through marketing.  But in a social and mobile world, consumers own the brand.  Brands become personal.  Whether it’s B2B or B2C the purchase decision is a social statement that is always internalized, personalized, and visible to the world.  Therefore, marketers need to embrace the concept of P2P marketing – a personal interaction with every customer.  It’s about engaging target audiences on a personal level irrespective of B2B or B2C business models.

Marketing is about building trust and relevancy.  If you are going to buy a new smart phone.  Do you place more weight in what Motorola or Blackberry says about a new model, or what your best friend or neighbor says?  We trust our network of peers that we can connect with on a personal level.  Social media is slowly eroding the walls that divided marketing disciplines.  B2B and B2C are yesterday’s marketing disciplines; it’s time to embrace P2P.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ian Michiels
Ian Michiels is a Principal & CEO at Gleanster Research, a globally known IT Market Research firm covering marketing, sales, voice of the customer, and BI. Michiels is a seasoned analyst, consultant, and speaker responsible for over 350 published analyst reports. He maintains ongoing relationships with hundreds of software executives each year and surveys tens of thousands of industry professionals to keep a finger on the pulse of the market. Michiels has also worked with some of the world's biggest brands including Nike, Sears Holdings, Wells Fargo, Franklin Templeton, and Ceasars.


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