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Forget What You Think You Know, These are the Real “4 Ps” of Marketing


Forget What You Think You Know, These are the Real “4 Ps” of Marketing

Marketers are familiar with the famous “4 Ps” of Marketing: product, price, placement and promotion. But in today’s social media-driven landscape, there is a new set of buzzwords in town.

The traditional “4 Ps of Marketing” were first published by E. Jerome McCarthy in 1960 and have since been the dominant, though increasingly challenged, framework for marketing strategy.

Sound vaguely familiar? Here’s a quick refresher on the 4 Ps:

Product refers both to both tangible products (goods) and intangible products (services). Tied into this P are concepts such as product design, branding, and packaging.

Price is the pricing strategy of a product including rebates and discount policies and the impact price has on how customers perceive the value of a product.

Promotion refers to how a product is marketed.

Place is about access to a product and, increasingly, about convenience.

The Debate

Defenders of the traditional 4 Ps argue that they are consistently relevant, at least in a broad context, since they act as a crucial reminder that marketing is inextricably connected to other aspects of every business.

Other advocates make the valid point that branding in a digital age can cause more focus on immediate publicity—for example, by creating a viral hit—over more sustained success, which can only come from a product that conforms, at least to some extent, to the 4 Ps.

But while some of the concept behind these Ps may still be relevant, a lot has changed since they were established in the 1960s.

The Digital Dilemma

Technological innovations and the digitalisation of traditional marketing channels have facilitated more direct communication between brands and consumers.

But while marketing channels have been completely transformed, the 4 Ps have endured. Isn’t it time we rewrite the traditional framework to better align marketing strategies with the modern digital age?

To that end, consider my proposed alternative to the 4 Ps:

Pithy: Content—whether paid or editorial—needs to be succinct and to the point. The average attention span of an adult is a mere 8.25 seconds, and likely shorter for those scrolling through a social media feed. There’s simply not enough time to beat around the bush.

Punchy: Your pithy content must also pack an immediate punch; few consumers have the attention span to decipher rambling and wordy prose.

Persuasive: This is both about style (structuring your argument in a compelling way) and substance (an argument is more compelling if it is well developed, proactive, and relevant).

Professional: You must ensure the content of your marketing is well written as it will reflect the perceived quality of your product. Today’s demanding customers have high expectations and expect highly personalized content. To achieve this, you may want to consider outsourcing content production to professional copywriters.

With more channels of communication opening every day, it’s essential to reach consumers on the platforms that are already a part of their daily routine. That’s why the new 4 Ps emphasize the importance of excellent short form content in the increasingly competitive digital space.

Whether or not the 4 Ps of the 1960s still hold true, the following is clear: if your content isn’t pithy, punchy, persuasive, and professional, you are not maximizing your marketing potential. The burden is on you to convey your message in a way that reaches and engages your target consumers.

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