Every Marketing 101 class discusses the “4P’s of Marketing” – Product, Price, Promotion and Placement. So why do I hate them? Because, marketing isn’t that simple. I wish it was.
Let’s take a look at each individually.
Products used to be things. Today fewer and fewer products are physical products, and even some physical products are now devices or tools.
Take the proverbial “widget”. A widget is made in a factory. A widget has delivery logistics. A widget has packaging. Widgets are sold wholesale then retail. Some widgets have resale value, and others are commodities.
The problem is today widgets aren’t necessarily a thing. Today’s widget could be service, expertise, information, data, a process, or even entertainment. The definition of Product has changed dramatically in the information age.
A more apt term is Solution. Products today tend to solve a problem, reach an objective, or improve a situation. Furthermore, an individual product could actually be a solution to multiple problems, and may require different marketing techniques.
Price Value Proposition
Price used to be a point of competition. That’s far less true, and completely irrelevant in some situations.
A more apt term is Value Proposition. What is the value of solving a particular problem? What is the value of the result of a process?
Remember, price doesn’t scale, but value can. Today many SaaS (software as a service) solutions have different pricing depending on the value to your organization. An app may be available free, but the paid version may have added features.
Understanding value is far more important than competing on price.
Promotion used to be primarily advertising or sales. Most companies relied on one or the other, but seldom both.
Today I think the term Messaging is more accurate. You want to create a specific message, “My widget solves this problem faster, cheaper, easier and more completely than my competitor.” However, most companies use a huge variety of techniques to send that message. Traditional advertising and direct sales are still popular and powerful. In the age of social media the mysterious “word-of-mouth” or “brand reputation” can be quantified, stimulated, and influenced.
Conversely, a corrupted message can cause a crisis. Social media can negatively influence your product just as quickly as it can enhance your product. For this reason, altering the message rapidly can sometimes be the difference between ultimate success or failure.
Today companies have to have expertise in messaging more so than ever before.
Placement was a combination of advertising and availability in the past. However in a global marketplace that travels at the speed of light placement is far less important. Furthermore, we’ve even seen situations where products were sold heavily before they even existed through crowdfunding or viral marketing that exceeds current distribution capability.
A more appropriate term is Reach. Reach is a combination of creating the most awareness possible about your product, then having the capability of delivering that product to all. Because products are no longer necessarily physical, they are solutions, worldwide delivery is far more feasible than ever.
Today maximum reach is about 3 billion people, the approximate number with Internet connections. The maximum reach for your product is somewhat less, but it’s no longer limited necessarily by geography.
There’s more to consider with reach. You have to look at huge number of potential media outlets. You have to make sure your message is translating across different languages and cultures. You have to consider regulation and legislation internationally. Physical products may require much more complex logistics. Lastly, because reach can be exponential, you must consider scalability.
So why are they still talking about the 4P’s?
Frankly, Solution, Value Proposition, Messaging, Reach just doesn’t sound very catchy. The 4P’s of your Marketing is easier to sell. Go figure.
The good news for Mediastead is that these far less catchy terms give our clients a strategic marketing advantage over competitors still relying on the 4P’s.
If you want to take a fresh look at your Solutions, Value Prop, Messaging and Reach, Mediastead Strategic Marketing Planning is the solution for you. Call us today to make your business better.