Are the four P’s still the key ingredients in the Marketing Mix?
Even if you only breezed through a business textbook in high school, you are likely familiar with the four P’s of marketing. If not, don’t worry: in the next sentence, we will tell you what each P stands for and, after that, still manage to make this blog relevant to you…because we’re good like that.
Product, price, place & promotion were/are intended to put the capital P in the Pillars of marketing. This P-centric “Marketing Mix” was invented before the Internet (1950-ish) so, over the years, its usefulness has come into question. But the fact is, people still rely on the P’s, even if they don’t realize it. And, we believe, with a little updating, they can still put the P in Profitability of your business Planning.
What are the P’s and which parts still matter to the modern marketer?
Product: Considering the first P of the Marketing Mix is intended to get you thinking about how your Product serves your intended audience, we can’t really imagine how that could go out of style. Yeah OK, product has shifted in meaning from its 1950’s framework insofar as it no longer solely focuses on tangible things you can sink your teeth into. Alternatively, people now have products that include influential potential, reach, and about a million other soft skills that appeal to the masses.
Just because the nature of the product/service offering has changed does not mean it’s any less important to know how your special something soothes the soul of your intended audiences. Actually, the opposite is true. When you were selling vacuums in 1950, you were probably one of the only vacuum dealers within driving distance and there were a max of five brands of hoovers hovering on the very literal shelf.
Now, if you sell vacuums, you are competing against the whole world wide web and there’s about a thousand variations on your super sucker available at the click of a button. So, if you can’t mar-ticulate (that’s market + articulate) how your specific product best serves the needs of your audiences, you are up Schitt’s Creek.
Price: 50 years ago, price had a whole lot to do with the cost to produce. Sticking with the vacuum analogy: if your vacuum was made from the sturdiest, priciest metal on the market, it would cost more. Now, however, Balenciaga could put their designer B on a non-functional miniature vacuum and it would sell for $1,000.
Because Millennials love to pay for things like branding, popularity, street cred, affiliation with random celebrities, etc., price is basically a crapshoot. Of course, high-quality materials demand a higher price, but so too do sustainable sourcing principles, Oprah’s approval and social likes. All this is to say that when the P’s arrived, price was your be-all-end-all. If your product was cheaper than the Jones’s, you likely won the marketing battle. Now, however, it’s perception over price. So, market effectively and you too can put your logo on a plastic bag and make Kanye-esque margins.
Place: Now this one definitely requires an update. If you want to be harsh, the whole concept gets flam blasted within this Forbes article by a man who seems to have a serious vendetta against the four P’s of marketing. While we can’t agree with much of his seething rant about the ABP’s of marketing, it’s safe to say that of the four P’s, place is likely the most transformed by the modern marketplace.
Fou says the problem of place is irrelevant because platforms, like Amazon and hundreds of other readily available digital storefronts, make everything available everywhere. But, what Fou misses is that place definitely matters because you need to be where your customer is making purchasing decisions and that certainly is not limited to online conglomerates.
People have physical storefronts and it would make zero sense if that marketing was the same as what a consumer found online. Even more specifically, when you are online, you damn well better not be solely on Amazon, floating around hoping someone searches for your product. You need to be gaining paid and organic attention via the socials and the Googles. The P in Place in the Marketing Mix tells you to make sense of these locations.
For example, if you are selling to 30 year-old men, you should be on Facebook. If you are appealing to pre-teens, hop on Tik Tok. And, if you are looking to attract business professionals, log onto LinkedIn. These places’ specific characteristics will determine how you market to their users – because no one wants to see you dance on LinkedIn and no one wants to read your listicle of the top 10 accounting principles on Instagram.
Promotion: Could it not be argued that promotion is synonymous with marketing? We think so, so it’s kind of weird how it gets factored into the Marketing Mix as it were, considering it’s like the whole mix. But, according to the original mix, this P happens once you’ve got all your other P’s in order and you are ready to market to the Public.
Promotion is when you put your product differentiators and price in the places where your audiences are. More than that, it’s how you do this i.e., the tangible tactics that will help achieve your lofty objectives: Are you launching an Instagram giveaway like everyone else and their grandmother? Or, are you going to tour the country in a Wienermobile? The promotional Potential is practically endless, so this final P is often seen as the most fun.
Whether you want to do something kooky or just keep it simple, CR Creative can support the strategic planning and implementation of your promotion to make a big sPlash in the Pool you want to P in. Give us a shout and we can kick it old school like the four P’s or put your market campaign into the Matrix era with our digital gurus. Either way, we will ensure your mix makes sense and supports your sustainability and growth.