The “new” 4 P’s of Marketing

Infographics$P1'sWhat are the new 4 P’s of Marketing? For that matter what are the old 4 P’s or is it 5 P’s or is it 7 P’s, or even 4 C’s or 7 C’s?  And which are relevant? With such an overload of competing Marketing Mixes it’s easy to get confused, however,  it is essential to make some sense of this because these inside these models are the foundation of any Marketing Strategy.

The Original 4 P’s are Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.This model  focused on what the company offers and how to get them to market,  commonly called an ‘inside-out’ view. While less fashionable to talk about today,  the original 4 P’s still answer the vital questions that any business needs to ask itself (and definitely answer). A very important fifth P, ‘Positioning’ was added in the 1980’s to represent the space that a product occupies in the customer’s mind, and how Marketing Communication can build and hold that position.

4'C questionsThe 4 C’s were first proposed to change the viewpoint to a more customer centric or outside-in view of the market. They are Customer, Cost, Convenience and Communication. This core shift to the customer perspective has, in essence, shifted the balance from product thinking to the customer thinking which really is, in essence, the  Marketing concept. Then it follows logically that they are as necessary as the original 4 P’s.

So if we expand these models to either the 7 P’s for Service Marketing which adds Process, People and Physical Evidence (which are really important) or the  7 C’s  which adds Corporation, Commodity and Channel (which are more confusing), the question is do we need a ‘new’ 4 P Model? The short answer is a resounding yes!

The new 4 P’s are relevant in the  digital and social marketscape. While many new  4 P models have been suggested such as here, here and here, there is no general agreement on which P’s to include so I will give my take on the subject. My “New” 4 P’s are Passion, Purpose, People and Public. Here is the brief explanation:

  1. Passion – Simply put passion sells. Whether you have passionate customers or employees (hopefully both), that passion is sustaining.
  2. Purpose – Business needs a stated purpose beyond a simple bottom line, a sense of responsibility towards the whole ‘ecosystem’.
  3. People – It’s no longer as easy to separate Internal Customers(employees) and External Customers. They are all people who respond to marketing!
  4. Public – With the rapid adoption of blogs and Social Media giving voice to customers, a business now operates in a very public arena.
  5. Publish – Ok I know I said only 4 but I couldn’t resist! If we, as marketers, don’t tell our own story, then others will do it for us so “publish or perish”.

So the question at the end is the same as the beginning, which are relevant?  From an integrated view, they all are, they can each be relevant at specific points in time for any business. As a Marketer, you decide which P’s or C’s are the most critical to your specific situation and build your strategy around those ‘critical few’ points. With limited time and resources the REALLY critical “C” is Choice, which is the basis of marketing strategy.


Step One in the IDEA Framework: The 3 levels of Innovation

Why does innovation matter to marketing?


The fact is that people are bombarded by marketing messages everyday and quite frankly tune out most of them anyway. In addition the ongoing media fragmentation there are so many possible touch points As Marketers, we constantly try to find ways to interest our target audiences (and perhaps find them in the first place). Which by all accounts is much easier said than done.

First we need to understand what is Innovation and how it relates to the marketing process. There are essentially 3 levels:

1. Incremental

This level of innovation can be thought of as improvements to an existing product, service or process. They can be things like refining an advertising message, a (New!) product improvement, a credit checking service, or adopting a new email marketing system (like Mailchimp or Aweber). These innovations are used to improve a firms existing position or competitive advantage in a given product/market. It can also be thought of as “New to the Company”, meaning it may be used by other firms in the market but has not been adopted by your particular firm. More on that another time.

2. Breakthrough

A Breakthrough Innovation is often a more enduring source of competitive advantage, and can include things like changes in business models or finding and being able to satisfy a latent need in the market by adapting or creating a product to fill that need. Breakthrough innovations can easily copied by fast followers with similar capabilities. The other way to think is “New to the Industry”, meaning innovations that are used by other industries but not necessarily by your own. By successfully adapting the innovation you can achieve a ‘breakthrough’ in providing value for your customers.

3. Transformational

This is the highest level of Innovation characterized by world-changing products which fundamentally change the way people live their lives. An obvious example is social media, with its pervasive effects in the Marketing world, giving voice to individual customers and amplifying word of mouth effects. This level is also ‘disruptive’ as it challenges the status quo and firms can no longer depend on “the way we do things around here’ as a strategy. It can be though of as “New to the World” with long-lasting ramifications to the business. As a Marketer you need to keep you eye on possible trends that can be both a threat and an opportunity.


So how do you use innovation to fuel your marketing savvy? Start at the beginning, by assessing what are your current Marketing capabilities and explore where you can begin to improve them. Then champion bringing in a new marketing technique that you will believe will work in your company (for example social media) and work to make that a success. In other words start small with an incremental improvement and as you gain trust then move on to bigger and better things.

“The longest journey begins with a single step” (Ancient Chinese Proverb)