4Ps Are Not Enough

My wife and I are volunteering for Junior Achievement, presenting to our oldest daughter’s fifth-grade class. In reviewing the curriculum, I saw that one of the main topics is the 4Ps of Marketing–Product, Price, Promotion, Place. Ugh!

I have long disagreed with this assertion. It is shortsighted and too simplistic. Marketing is more than just getting a customer to buy a product. Marketing is a representation of who you are as an organization. It is your identity. It is how you have to run your business.

Let’s start with the basic 4:

  • Product—It’s what you are actually selling or delivering. The goods and services that meet certain needs. Originally, the product as a good was it. Now, the good and the associated service are inextricably linked.
  • Price—Simply, it is what you think potential and existing customers are willing to pay. (See my other pricing posts here, here and here.)
  • Promotion—Getting the word out to your target market, usually through some form of advertising and PR.
  • Place—The product has to be available and accessible to consumers. If it’s not, you lose the sale.

I have 5 more to offer:

  • People, outside (consumers and potential consumers)—These are the people you want using your product. If you don’t know who they are, where they are or how to communicate with them, they will consume someone else’s. This goes far beyond promotion. This means including them in developing the product, the place, the price and the promotion. In some cases they participate in the production (as in open-source applications). They spread your message for you, after they tell you what it should be. In this world of social networking, you must embrace them. (See this post from Seth Godin, this web page about the writings from Booms and Bitner, and this from Fix Your Marketing.)
  • People, inside (staff and intermediaries)—Everyone who touches your product before it reaches the consumer and who services the product afterword has a profound effect on your reputation and credibility (Booms and Bitner). This is not just personnel. This is your talent (see Seth Godin here and here). They make it possible for you to deliver what the customer wants and needs. Also, they are always on the clock. Everyone must understand that. How they behave when they are socializing affects people’s thoughts and feelings about your organization.
  • Production—You must be able to deliver on your promise. This goes for quality, quantity and change in demand. When you don’t produce to customer expectations, they find a suitable substitute. And if you can’t meet demand, you’ve lost your place.
  • Process—Booms and Bitner use this to refer to the “procedure, mechanisms and flow of activities by which services are consumed”. Yes, and it is how you go about making decisions within your organization and how that affects the final product and your relationship with your consumers. A rigid, top-down process with multiple approval steps produces what the company wants (see “The Beauty of Simplicity”). Flexible interactions with customers, potential customers and staff that allow for frequent tests will offer opportunities for a better product that the customer wants.
  • Performance measures—No product will succeed if you cannot measure performance. This goes for the product itself, your staff, production, promotion, pricing and delivery. Invest the time, effort and resources necessary here. Or you will waste it elsewhere.

There are my 9Ps of marketing. Please use them. If you have others, please share them.

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2 Responses

  1. Actually in the retail business, one top provider of jobs around the world today, the 5 th P could stand for Packaging, all kind of packaging beyond paper wrapping!
    Given the idea that any business needs an adequate relation or good ratio product-consumer target I never ever thought a beginner in marketing mix would have miss any statement on the key importance of a P standing for People, consumers or corporate team …are they any executive to think we can do business without both?

  2. thanks for “complementary” P meaning in marketing theory, it could even get longer, as a list, or codes to decypher, I proposed for our today de-regulated econ world : P for Pendemonium. RF.

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