The Four Ps Of Marketing Need A Facelift

In 1960, E.J. McCarthy, a marketing professor at Michigan State University, debuted the concept of the "Four Ps" and the way in which they guide the marketing mix. These Four Ps--Product (or Service), Place, Price, and Promotion--are the foundation of most Marketing 101 discussions. Many of you may be revving up your 2012 growth machine and re-visiting these fundamentals.

Yet if marketing were so simple, then why do so many marketing and sales initiatives fail? That was a question I often asked myself as I worked with B2B growth companies over the past few decades. They employ highly educated teams, savvy salespeople, and sharp executives. And yet, they wasted thousands, often millions, on projects.

For example, a recent client of mine, a division of a $4 billion software firm, continued to struggle with implementing new market messaging playbooks to their global sales teams. The VP of strategy could not figure out why people did not use these costly, detailed tools. That prompted me to design four different marketing blueprint criteria. My experience tells me these are more reflective of the new era of marketing and promotion. They include:

  1. Market – The  internal and external factors that are causing your prospects and customers to change, as well as the ideal customer you are targeting.
  2. Message – How you communicate at every brand touch point: your positioning, sales messaging, presentations, etc.
  3. Method – The top marketing strategies to attract ideal customers. They include a host of traditional “push” marketing methods (e-newsletters) as well as “pull” methods (building marketing gravity through publishing, seminars, and social media communities). 
  4. Mindset – A system for taming the limiting beliefs that stop your marketing from succeeding. The best laid plans fail when marketing leaders ignore the cultural beliefs and attitudes that get in the way.Herein lies the missing ingredient to marketing planning. 

We recently worked with a $30 million engineering consulting firm to address all four of these areas. The results were impressive. In the past, they ignored the Mindset issue to their detriment. A lingering mindset stymied every new executive sponsored growth initiative. The mindset or belief was that "this new initiative shall pass." Cynicism and procrastination prevailed. We provided a method for them to address the mindset during meetings. It created a whole new level of candor across their global teams. Within twelve months, they experienced a 25% top line revenue increase, improved profits, and were featured in Inc.

Marketing and selling the right products and services in the right place, at the right price, at the right time are still essential habits. Managing your beliefs around your marketing planning deserve the same attention. Now is the time to give your marketing blueprint a facelift.

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Copyright 2011, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.

[Image: Flickr user Helga Weber]

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