Principles of Marketing: Four P’s

In an environment of constant change and increased competition even bloggers make attempts to differentiate themselves from the plethora of attention seekers for the glory of acquiring masses of followers and fans. In January, an article in Marketing News, Exploring the 5th and 6th P’s of Marketing claimed the new marketing mix should include Six P’s (adding people and purpose as the two new P’s). The author, Brian Solis, proposed updating the principle Four P’s historically subscribed to by marketers: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. I appreciate the crucial importance of people and purpose in marketing. But, Let’s keep it simple.

Marketing, by definition, includes people and purpose as primary considerations. The AMA Dictionary provides the following definition:  “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Fundamentally marketing includes people: customers, clients, partners and society. Marketing Mix optimization requires purpose. The purpose of products and services is to provide value to their users. The purpose of communication is to engage, inform, persuade, attract people to become involved with the product. To effectively communicate, marketers have always considered the effect on beliefs and feelings of people, albeit not necessarily with empathy.

A prime element of marketing mix is determining which of the four P’s warrants what amount of investment of resources in order to return maximum contributions to the firm. Contributions are measured in terms of sales, profits, or other ‘goals’ (ie. purpose) of the organization.

It is my intent to assist business owners, managers and marketers in the effective pursuit of building healthy businesses by endeavoring toward standards of excellence through implementing sound practices, incorporating ethical and moral values leading to profitable operations. To this end, it is not the intent to malign an author trying to separate himself from the pack or to suggest being part of the pack is the only right way to operate. In this instance the six P’s concept effectively serves to confuse marketing, an already complicated business organ.

Clarification or expansion is not necessary if the four P‘s are examined in light of the definition of marketing. Marketing mix is multifaceted. Its primary purpose is to create value by developing goods and services that satisfy customers’ needs, wants or desires. The Product or service is the creating facet of the mix. Price is the method of exchanging offerings that have value to consumers. Place is the manner of delivering the creation to the customer. Finally, Promotion is communicating the value proposition to customers.

As you can see, four P’s are sufficient. Six complicates an already intricate process of driving products/services to market. Marketing is all about getting offerings into the hands of people for the purpose of satisfying needs while accomplishing the goals of the provider.

What’s Next?

Envision Marketing as a four wheel vehicle. Each wheel represents a facet of the marketing mix: Product, Price, Place, Promotion. The wheels drive the vehicle forward when propelled. Intricacies of the marketing mix are spokes which must be installed between the hub and rim, tensioned precisely in order to be ‘true’, in other words to be made round and aligned with no warp, wobble or dishing. Future articles will discuss each facet of the marketing mix and their importance.

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