Wednesday, 15 September 2010

4 P’s: Is the marketing mix out-dated?

If you have heard about marketing, you have heard of the 4 P’s: product, price, place and promotion. Sometimes a fifth P is added: people.

The 4 P’s have become a standard model for thinking about marketing. But what if they are wrong? Or at least, what if they are out-dated?

Marketing in today’s digital economy is a complex and confusing business. Hugely successful companies such as Dell have numerous Twitter accounts whilst the rest of us try to figure out what the platform is all about. Whilst marketing is becoming more important, it also has to work in a more fragmented and increasingly noisy marketplace. Gone are the days when advertising in the relevant print publication sorted out the year’s marketing.

Maybe today’s marketers need better tools than just to figure out what they are selling, at what price, how they will get it to customers, and how to promote it.

So if the 4 P’s are out-dated, what should take their place? For service oriented businesses, SIVA is a better variation: Solution, Information, Value and Access. These equate exactly with Product, Promotion, Price and Place, but put the emphasis on how the customer sees the transaction, rather than how a company views its marketing.

But what about strategy? What about the competition? What about positioning? Target market? Measurement?

These are all elements that can make a huge difference to the success of marketing initiatives. The alliteration isn’t so neat, but the components are necessary for successful marketing.

Whilst models can be helpful, they are only models. And if the model is out-dated, or plain wrong, they might hinder more than they help. Is it time for a 21st century model for marketing?

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