The Participation Way in the Digital and Social World
It was during a big product launch several years ago that I recognized the world of marketing was dramatically changing. The tools, processes and language that had been used for the past 60 years really weren't relevant in today's participative environment. The old marketing theory where uninformed, passive consumers needed help making decisions and marketers needed to persuade them no longer made sense. The original persuasive marketing techniques were created with great barriers to information, communication and transportation. This is no longer the case.
Consumers aren't only accessing information, they're creating it. So I set to work to develop a framework for marketers to embrace the changing landscape. What I came up with is a new take on the old self-determination theory, which says that if someone is intrinsically motivated, they will choose to actively engage and participate and the experience will be rewarding. I called it "Participant Marketing."
The Participation Way: D + C + E = P2 (Participation and Performance)
Effective marketing today is about creating useful content and information that enables consumers to DISCOVER more about a product or service. It's about creating experiences that EMPOWER them to be part of the marketing process itself. And finally, it's about building community environments that encourage people to CONNECT not only with the product, service or brand, but also with other people who have similar interests.
The key to the "Participation Way" is to activate all three elements. The three are closely interrelated, and truly activating participation requires building programs that incorporate all three elements. This new marketing theory is about motivating people to participate, and the idea has continued to grow as the new, digital and interactive media world continues to evolve.
The changes I've discussed have caused a shift in participant expectations and, as a result, your approach as marketers. As part of a project that Performics did with an auto insurance company, we found that 50 percent of clicks in the auto insurance online "immediate need" category were coming from mobile devices. With this insight, we created a new mobile landing page for the company and specifically tailored mobile search ads leading to the site. Results showed a significant increase in calls for assistance, reduced costs per click and a decreased cost to the client overall. Participants engaging with them reward brands that understand these new rules of marketing.