Community marketing

Early last month, the Department of Trade and Industry reported that the number of online business registrations jumped to 75.876 at end-August from 1,753 in January to March 15. This underscores the pivot of many businesses, big and small, to the digital realm, driven by the behavior of consumers like you and me. Clearly, more people are pursuing entrepreneurship online. Of course, selling online also means you need to market online. To do that, it would be helpful to apply tried-and-tested marketing frameworks that should be useful to those thinking of running their own business online.

One strong marketing framework is the so-called 4Ps. This covers the four fundamental areas to be considered when marketing your product or service, and serves as a guide to ensure you are able to market that and market well:

– Product. The product or service you would like to sell. What about it that you think would click with your identified target market? Does it address a need? Or does it target a specific niche? Products range from the basic necessities (e.g., food) to beauty and health items. A lot of home-based businesses sell food and resell products, especially if these come from distant areas, or even overseas.

– Price. The price point offered by home-based businesses is expected to be lower than that of bigger ones. This offers a great advantage to new entrepreneurs so much that bigger brands and establishments have to adjust this just to compete. I just saw an advertisement from a reputable hotel chain selling its lechon pork belly good for four to six people for half the price (approximately P450). Not bad!

– Promotion. How are you going to promote your product? This is where social media platforms come in very handy, since it readily provides you the capability to connect, engage and establish relationships with customers. This is an important and key customer touchpoint and should leave a lasting impression. This is why visual and written content, graphics, and even photos and videos help a lot in promoting your product or service. Most apps creating them are free, save for some niche ones that help you design your content that could cost a few hundred pesos a month on a subscription basis.

Promoting your product or service requires you to maximize the groups or marketplaces available in your area. They go by many words: buy and sell, marketplace, food, community, etc. Explore available groups to join with these keywords and see how they can help grow your business.

– People. How would you distribute? Would you focus on one specific area or operate within a certain radius from where the product or service is? The advent of community commerce brought about by the strict lockdowns in the first half of the year proves to be a sustainable distribution tactic. You promote your product or service in your area and start capturing customers there. Not only would this reduce delivery fees — in fact, some businesses include a nominal fee (even P20 in some areas) to include delivery straight to your home — you will be able to effectively sell more because the cost is less.

It is easy to start your own business (and start small), given the many digital platforms available, and how young Filipinos are increasingly becoming digital natives. The call to action here is the marketing approach and strategy that you can employ, and how selling online supports this. In fact, this is an amazing opportunity that is available to anyone, as long as you have a viable product and a target market to capture. Successful business stories often start like this.


Kay Calpo Lugtu is the chief operating officer of Hungry Workhorse, a digital and culture transformation firm. Her advocacies include nation-building, sustainability education and financial literacy. The author may be reached at