Stop Saying 4Ps of Marketing

The 4Ps of marketing (or  more precisely marketing mix) is neither relevant nor correct. Luckily, most product and marketing managers who think strategically do not ever mention this concept let alone rely on it for their decision making.

Why? Let us recap the what the 4Ps stand for

Product What are you marketing?

Price  What are you charging for it?

Promotion How will you get the message out?

Place  Where will it be sold?

What is missing here?

People  Who are the customers?

Problem   What is the problem customers are trying to address? What is their compelling need? What is the job customers are trying to get done?

Positioning  How do you tell customers what job your offering is applying for?

Pay   Not just price but a comprehensive view of how your offering will get paid for its value-add? This also includes pay-now, pay-as-you-go and pay-per-use considerations. Pricing for the product remains the simplest way for a product to get paid for the job it is hired to do but expanding the scope to consider other monetization models helps to look at the bigger picture and align pay with value delivered and customer expectations.

Voila! This is another 4P  (which also points to the fact how easy it is to come up with mnemonics). You can see how starting with people and their problem helps you define the offering better instead of starting with a product and looking for ways to price and promote it and places to sell, completely ignoring customers and their needs.

The original 4Ps of marketing mix served students and consulting interviewees (People), who needed fast way to remember concepts (Problem), to help ace the test/interview  (Positioning) and were willing to pay high price (Pay).

Besides those segments and jobs to be done, 4Ps should not be used.

And if you are still hiring people based on their ability to recite 4Ps, well ….

Did you also notice Product did not feature here and I kept calling it as “your offering”?