Is Social Media the 5th P

Posted in Uncategorized by Abhinaya Chandrasekhar on October 25, 2009

Recently, I was involved in a deep discussion about Social Media being the most important tool in marketing. It is a whole new revolution that opens up many locked doors to reach marketing effectiveness. My colleague was convinced that social media is the 5th P as participation in the marketing mix model.

I found this extremely interesting and debated the possibility of a change in one of the most powerful marketing model ever devised.

The 4Ps Marketing Mix

Marketing mix is a depiction of all marketing activities that have to be carried out. Product, place, price and promotions, a.k.a 4Ps, have been marked as the base for designing any marketing strategy. All 4Ps will have to be mapped out which will finally lead to a holistic strategy for the company.


5P Marketing Mix

There’s a new move. A move to include social media as another P – Participation. Here are my thoughts on why social media does not really find place among the 4Ps.

The 4P model forms the basis for developing marketing strategies. This is valid for all products. Including social media as a 5th P will not work for all products. It sure helps while launching a new phone or even FMCG. But, what about a heavy product purchase like a truck?

Yet, social media is getting too big to ignore. It sure is powerful enough to be included in the marketing mix. But not among the 4Ps. Translating social media into a 5thP will limit its power. To tap into entire social media landscape and gain real-time insight, here’s what I think can be done:

  • Add social media along with market research in the 4Ps model.
  • Social media application must form an important component of Promotions.

Social Media + Market Research

Today, the power of SM extends beyond marketing. Many new product development decisions are based on research conducted via social media. Here is an opportunity to find out exactly what people have got to say. Do they like it or not. What can be done to make the product more useful. Decisions that was once based on the judgment of a marketing head/product developer is now rooted on first-hand information from the users. This is where all social media consultants come into the picture. Social business strategy is in.

Social media application

Under the 4thP – Promotions, social applications play a major role. Mind mapping of the target audience will lead to the applications to be used.


What do you think? Is social media a 5th P or not.

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