Picked up this post from Brian Solis yesterday via Twitter (HT @Adamgraham)
Not quite sure what to make of the direction of the thinking, but it struck me as rather odd to suggest that
"[in] the era of social media, the 4 Ps require a new tenant in order to make its rent. Now in 2010, social media upset the balance of top down communication...a new “P” is necessary to ensure the integrity of the existing 4 P’s
People = The Fifth Element"
Couple of points:
1. Since its very inception, Marketing has been supposedly built on this Fifth P - people.
Whether you look to the classic definitions (Kotler et al) Marketing is supposed to be all about the identification and satisfaction of consumer needs.
Or, you prefer the original pioneers (such as Robert Keith of Pilsbury whose paper in the 1960 Journal of Marketing talked about the prospect of the Marketing Revolution, which would arrive when the entire organisation's activities became focused on the consumer)
This is the very essence of the marketing approach. The 4 Ps are merely servants of this fundamental orientation.
2. Of course, many organisations have forgotten that this is what they are supposed to be doing; many find themselves drifting away from whatever consumer understanding they might have once had and others merely get taken over with operational concerns but that doesn't change the relative importance of people (primary) and 4P activities/concerns (secondary)
3. Much as I love the whole social thing and much as I value its transformative power I think it's pushing a bit to suggest that social media has changed the principles in the way that Solis suggests. All that's happened is that our understanding of people has been enlarged by the hunger people have shown for connecting with each other (also, social scientists and folk like me have been making a noise about our super social selves and the importance of P2P long before the name of "social media" was widely adopted but nevermind)
PS let's not discuss what he's got to say on the influentials thing again today, eh?