Evolution of the four Ps: revisiting the marketing mix


Marketing can be defined as the means of communicating value to customers or, more formally, as “the science of meeting the needs of consumers. with profit, according to one of my former Harvard University professors, Nick Nugent. The concept of marketing remains the same but the marketing mix, or combination of factors that influence the delivery of value, has evolved dramatically.

The traditional marketing mix, built around the 4Ps – product, price, location and promotion – arguably reduces the scope and complexity of current marketing. As a result, two Ps have been added to the mix – process and people – that respond to critical changes in customer service, e-commerce, and social media.

The traditional 4Ps


Product encompasses the variety, design, packaging, quality, characteristics and positioning of a product or service. The emphasis on this “P” continues to grow as consumers become more informed and critical of their purchases. In addition, there is additional stress on solutions in response to more complex market expectations. For example, return policies and guarantees become extremely important at a time when your competition is on a Google search. People’s access to more immediate communication and rising expectations are driving companies to post the “next best thing” more frequently.


Simply put, price refers to the amount a customer is willing to pay for a product or service. Pricing strategies are becoming more dynamic to keep pace with highly educated consumers. For example, rebate strategies might be permanently ingrained in the minds of consumers, who might refuse to pay retail prices later.

Advances in technology have allowed manufacturers to eliminate retailers and sell direct to consumers. And the integration of AR capabilities in the iPhone simply opens up more possibilities for direct manufacturers to sell directly to consumers by allowing them to visualize the merchandise in a way that replaces the need to actually feel the product before buying it. All of these changes underline the need to clearly communicate the value according to the positioning chosen for the product.


Location refers to the accessibility of the product to potential customers. Choosing retailers like Amazon might improve coverage when trying to make your brand a household name, but limiting coverage might demonstrate scarcity, as in the extreme case of diamonds, where controlled scarcity drives prices up. The key factor is understanding a target audience, which will help a marketer position the product in the channel most accessible to potential buyers.

This “P” has recently evolved with the introduction of electronic commerce. Deciding whether or not to sell a product on a website could drastically affect your relationship with distributors. Place a product on Amazon is a great way to market a product, and it can also serve as a tool to build credibility through trusted reviews.


Promotion is the most visible “P” because it includes advertising, sales promotions, and public relations efforts. Although understanding your integrated marketing communications (IMC) and your place in the marketing funnel is more applicable than ever, the media have evolved and it is important to incorporate the views of those who are most familiar with the new media mix.

Dr Kevin Kelly, a colleague of mine and professor at BYU, said, “Intersecting consumers where they live, on their devices and capturing their attention with meaningful and motivating content has changed the way we approach promotions. The students understand it even better than I do because they are digital natives. So when I ask my students in our student-run advertising lab to turn to platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to solve our clients’ advertising problems, they instinctively know what to do.

In addition to these traditional elements, new market developments have added two vital layers for marketers to integrate into the marketing mix: processes and people.

To treat

Automation, systems and processes now play a vital role in the marketing mix. They reduce costs while playing a vital role in customer satisfaction and measurement of results. There is a strong argument, according to This article by Tim Worstall, that the success of Walmart and Amazon is largely attributed to their processes and logistics.

Worstall says that “the focus on efficiency and costs has allowed the company to continue to offer lower prices than its competitors.” Focusing on processes means channeling the discipline to ensure that marketing concepts play an integral role in all marketing practices. This is accomplished by using information to create win-win relationships with suppliers and partners to increase efficiency and reduce costs and by transforming the data provided into recommendations that steer production towards consumer-centric goods and services. that meet the needs of consumers.


Businesses need to hire and train the right people to provide consistent, superior customer service. Employees need to be trained on customer habits and behaviors that humanize consumers using customer personas. The main message and the competitive advantage are also important to communicate to ensure that the voice of the company remains united.

On the importance of finding the right people, Phillip Nelsen, Assistant Professor at SLCC and a colleague of mine, noted: “Steve Jobs summed up the right hiring mentality perfectly when he noted that rather than hire people and tell them what to do, we should hire smart people instead to tell us what to do. A diverse, goal-oriented and motivated workforce is the rarest and most important benefit a business can have. Businesses cannot afford to underestimate the value of entrepreneurial team members.

The theories of seven or eight Ps also hold true for some applications. Other marketers argue that the original blend is still as applicable as it ever was. The components of the marketing mix can be seen as the building blocks of a car. In the 1960s, when the marketing mix started, all cars had wheels, an engine, etc. In today’s market, a fuel injector is considered a necessity.

Purists may prefer basic auto parts, while racers may remove the radio to save weight. Likewise, this model can be adapted to strategies and offered as a generic platform to be adapted to meet specific products or services.

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