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4Ps…or not 4Ps? That is the question

4Ps…or not 4Ps? That is the question

Nothing in life stands still – the rate of change can be hurtling, mind-boggling, dizzying; it can also be slow, crawling, gradual. With the advent of digital technology and its ubiquitary invasion of everyday life, the central tenets of traditional marketing theory may have become obsolete. Or have they?

To the traditionalists of marketing, the 4Ps – product, price, promotion and place – are the essence, the lifeblood, the core, guiding principles that sit at its bedrock no matter the channels of communication, the context of interaction or the means of engagement.

For example, product relevance, combined with a competitive pricing strategy, will push two of the four main pillars to the forefront as marketing teams seek to combat the effects of further inflation, expected to bring us close to the 3% threshold this year.

Surely, then, such guiding elements will always sit at the heart of marketing strategy, despite the upwards trend in digital-focused marketers in the new age? Perhaps not. Indeed, the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) itself highlights three additional facets to help shape strategy, in the form of ‘people’, ‘process’ and ‘physical evidence’, bringing the previous quadrant of cornerstones up to an updated figure of seven.

Reflected in this new outline is the approach of start-ups, in particular. Those seeking to evolve and mature with the market, trying new tactics to help meet their burgeoning business goals means they cannot focus solely on the ‘one size fits all’ approach. Two-way engagement with customers, reacting to needs and problems, dictates an approach that is far more dynamic, rather than ‘targeting’ static consumer groups with fixed messages or static fundamentals.

And while it may be argued that the renowned ‘core’ principles remain as part of this overarching, broader strategy, underpinning such modern dynamism, some counter this by claiming that the 4Ps have not, suddenly, become unfashionable.

Indeed, the 4Ps remain as a means of measuring marketing impact on business performance, drawing in other departments as contributors to the bottom line, avoiding a dependence on the marketing team to sell a ‘bad’ product. While tech, digital and social media are current, those who focus on viral campaigns, online engagement and a wide, fast-moving audience are failing to acknowledge the basics that determine whether or not a strategy will be successful – understanding the wants and needs of customers.

So perhaps the key is to bring the 4Ps into a new era – maintaining the core essence as a ‘North Star’ of marketing strategy development, while reframing the way that marketers think, influence customers and engage with audiences – allowing room for multi-channel, multi-platform activity, alongside the ever-relevant bedrock of the 4Ps.

 

Stefan Kerridge is founder of The K Consultancy. Partnering with your business to bring expertise without the overhead. Working as part of your business to drive your marketing plan, execute key activities and help you realise your ambitions for more information visit www.thekconsultancy.co.ukfollow on LinkedIn