4 Reasons for Marketers to Upgrade from the 4 Ps

advertising recruiters upgrade

It might be time for marketers to move on from an old reliable advertising model that’s losing relevance in a fast-moving digital age.

The Four Ps of Marketing – Product, Price, Place and Promotion – have been an advertising industry cornerstone since Northwestern business school professor Philip Kotler first included them in his book, Principles of Marketing, in 1967. But like many other things over the last five decades, times and thinking change. Marketers must be able to keep up with those changes or get left behind in a quickly evolving world.

If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed since 1967, it’s that marketers like being in control and prefer to minimize variables that lie out of their reach.

At Ad Age’s 2015 Digital Conference, Jennifer Kattula, head of marketing at Atlas, Facebook’s online advertising services subsidiary, described the Four Ps as “a set of controllable factors marketers can use to influence a buyer’s response.” This has been a foundation of marketing education and strategy since the idea was first popularized.

If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed since 1967, it’s that marketers like being in control and prefer to minimize variables that lie out of their reach.

But while the Four Ps put power firmly in the hands of marketers, the current environment– with customer choice and screens aplenty– calls for a new framework to address the fact that there’s a lot going on that we can’t expect to have control over. Marketers must be ready to react to a dynamic digital world where unexpected challenges and opportunities could arise at any moment, and top employers and advertising recruiters are constantly looking for the rare individuals who can thrive in this environment.

One way to cope with this, Kattula suggests, is to update and evolve the Four Ps into something more appropriate for our age: the Four Cs.

1. Replacing Product with Choice

This, Kattula said at the conference, is because technology enables consumers to have customized experiences anywhere. There are a staggering amount of product options that consumers can have near-instant access to, literally at their fingertips.

A colorful logo and a prominent place on a shelf aren’t enough to cut it any more. Even a product category like breakfast cereal has grown to include hundreds of choices, Kattula noted. Amazon, too, has grown from 2 million products in 1999 to 54 million products today.

A colorful logo and a prominent place on a shelf aren’t enough to cut it any more.

“There’s so much choice, but we still have a finite amount of time to make those choices,” Kattula said. This means it’s never been more important for marketers to focus on relevancy and their place in consumers’ decision-making process because “we have to make sure every moment matters because time is still finite.

2. Convenience Reigns over Price

With endless choices come a shift related to price. In other words, there’s more to price now than simply cost alone, Kattula said.

“Think about endless choice– there’s no specific marketing-defined price point anymore,” she said. “We live in a culture of convenience and immediacy. You can get whatever you want at your feet or doorstep.”

Consumers remain price-sensitive. But with busy lives and an expectation of quick responses, convenience brings a level of value that can easily overcome minor price differentiation.

Take the example of Uber, whose success is driven by their model of easy, on-demand mobile access to their service. With consumers spending increasing time each day on their mobile devices, it’s even more important for marketers to “be there in the palm of their hands,” Kattula said.

3. Place Evolves to Cross-Device Compatability

The places where consumers encounter brands and make purchases are changing dramatically.

Today, nearly 25% of consumers use three devices every day (and that figure jumps to an average of five connected devices when you look at 13- to 24-year-olds). Some estimates say the average consumer will regularly use 10 connected devices in 2020, she said. And many of those consumers will turn to one of their many screen options at various points in a purchase process.

“The world is going to get a lot more complicated,” Kattula said.

In addition, more than 40% of consumers begin browsing on one device and finish shopping on another, which means brands need to be prepared to reach consumers across devices. Omnichannel compatibility is essential to provide shoppers with a comprehensive, consistent, and compelling customer experience.

The Power of Cross-Device Marketing at Work

Video from Drawbridge

4. Promotion Gives Way to Creative Sequencing

Finally, the way in which brands tell their stories to consumers matters, as well as the format they tell their stories in and the creative content and tools they use to tell those stories.

The solution to tying everything together is what Kattula calls “people-based marketing,” in which a marketer has a single unifying key– like gender or geographic location that is persistent and stable over time– and which represents a real person and can span across devices, platforms, and publications.

“Once you understand who people are, you can provide choice and deliver highly targeted, super-relevant ads and you can deliver those ads on mobile phones in the palms of their hands and across devices and you can sequence the creative,” Kattula said.

When it comes to marketing fundamentals, the Four Ps still provide a strong foundation for advertising theory. But in today’s quickly evolving digital space, the basics will probably require some changes to remain relevant. Consider integrating the Four Cs into your playbook and see how it improves your marketing effectiveness (and your contacts from advertising recruiters)!

Article source: Momentology

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6 thoughts on “4 Reasons for Marketers to Upgrade from the 4 Ps”

  1. This is Seth Godinism — taking well-honed concepts, giving them different names, and declaring them new. Why not simply expand those concepts to incorporate that way in which the marketplace has changed?

    Product is still important. It’s not a lot easier to find and compare them. So marketers need to adapt and give consumers and prospective customers the most essential information in the most concise way. Buyers get the most important, need-to-know facts, and sellers stand a better chance of being considered.

    Place hasn’t changed. It’s just no longer anchored to a physical spot. The store is now in the phone (or any other connected device), so it has to be more attention getting — an end cap, instead of a shelf slot.

    Price has always been tied to more than the purchase cost. If it weren’t, service would never have been (and still be) a differentiator.

    Promotion may have morphed into multiple forms that are as varied as the places it appears — email, social, web, apps, etc. But it’s still a vital component for attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. And, while a progressive, step-by-step approach may be new to B2C, it’s been the backbone of B2B “nurturing” for… well, forever.

    1. MarketPro, Inc.

      Peter, thanks for the feedback! There’s still plenty of value
      to gain from the 4Ps, and they shouldn’t be abandoned. Systems like this can be
      valuable to help remember new perspectives on classic truisms.

    2. Seth Godinism, I guess you could stretch it a bit and say the purple cow is just USP wearing a new dress, but what is permission marketing then? Just to be clear, I have learned a lot from Mr. Godin and have given dozens of his books to my clients’ sales teams.

      1. Permission marketing is when my (very) late grandmother went into a shop looking for a particular item and was asked by the proprietor whether she’d like to be notified when it was back in stock. The idea that contemporary practices are all brand new simply reinforces the notion that history is irrelevant to modern marketers. It’s as if they were all born yesterday with no interest — unless you’re Seth Godin — in understanding what came before and re-purposing it in a contemporary context.

        1. I could be wrong here, but what I learned from Permission Marketing is this: Do not sell the product, sell the relationship. So, my takeaway form Permission Marketing is a bit different from yours. However that may be, it works for me.

          1. But my grandmother’s local shopkeeper kept her as a customer by maintaining the relationship, part of which involved informing her — with her permission — about a product’s availability. So your interpretation isn’t very different.

            My perspective is simply that people like Seth Godin are tapping into practices that were forgotten during the long period of mass marketing, and he can sell them as new because so few people today have any knowledge of those earlier interactions.

            It’s reminiscent of the story about the millennial guy who tells his 70-something neighbor that he’s too old to understand the latest technology. “It wasn’t around when you were my age,” the millennial guy tells the neighbor. “Yeah, I know,” the neighbor says. “That’s why I invented it.”

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