Clearing up office space, I found a copy of Kotler’s Marketing Management book. Skimming through it was kind of depressing. It was easy to see how many companies don’t even do the basics. We are too focused on data, but don’t know what to do with it. We are too focused on sales instead of marketing. We are too focused on direct selling instead of brand building.
All these are at the cost of long-term brand building. You see this in action when googling ‘marketing mix.’ The 4Ps are no longer enough. You need 4Cs, 7Cs, or 8Ps. The thinking is that the 50+ year old 4Ps do not apply today because of the Internet and customer centricity. That’s bull.
The 4Ps are guidelines for areas that need consideration when marketing. They are not specific tactics for a specific situation. The approach and details required for each marketplace, industry, and customers is different.
Let’s see how the new fangled marketing mixes differ from the 4Ps.
- Consumer’s needs and wants: before we do any marketing, we need a product. A successful product requires understanding the consumer.
- Costs to the consumer: this is more like total cost of ownership. That is more than the dollar amount at the checkout line. There is the cost of searching for the right product and buying the products. Price in 4Ps may not full encompass this meaning, but we can extend the meaning of price.
- Convenience: how easy is it to buy. This is a place whether a retail store or app.
- Communication: the dialog between brand and customers. Social media or advertising. An expanded Promotion includes this 2-way communication.
Booms and Bitner took the 4Ps and added 3 more:
- People: all the stakeholders, like customers and employees. This applies across all Ps, why is it special?
- Processes: all things that have to occur internally and externally to deliver to customers. Again, this applies across all Ps.
- Physical Evidence: what customers see and feel when interacting with a brand. For example, a store environment or packaging.
Kotler came up with 4 more Ps as well:
- People: same as 7Ps.
- Processes same as 7Ps.
- Programs: all the 4P activities and any other activities that don’t fit in the 4Ps.
- Performance: financial and non-finacial outcomes like profitability and brand equity.
There are more Ps out there but this is good enough for now. The common thread between the mixes are components that go across 4Ps. Do not highlight them explicitly. Like we said, the 4Ps are guidelines for consideration, and each P can stand alone or be serviced by its own team. People and Process cannot stand on their own. People and Process have to work across all Ps. They cannot be looked at separately at all. Each of the 4Ps have their own performance KPIs. Which channel (place) performed the best? Which promotion drove most sales? Which promotions led to increased brand awareness.
At the end, the relationship between the Ps:
People, Processes, and Programs are the foundation, while Performance is the end result. Those individual 4Ps are not started in parallel with original 4Ps. They begin before the 4Ps start, but can run in parallel with the original 4P’s as needed. For example,Promotion requires creating landing pages. New web designers are hired as part of People.
People, Process, Programs, and Performance are not specific to marketing. Any activity requires them. Is there a reason to explicitly state them? The way I see it, no. The original 4Ps are good enough.