Marketing 3.0 – the 4 p’s have become the 5c’s

Recently at CrossTech we have been exploring and thinking through how much marketing has changed with the introduction of social media and the changes in the digital communications landscape. In doing so, it brought me back to my days in business school. While I have clearly forgotten more than I remembered, one thing that always stuck with me was the 4 p’s of marketing. For those who are not aware of them, the 4ps were defined as product, placement, price, promotion. It was said that marketing was a job of managing and manipulating each of these four levers.  An excerpt from Wikipedia flushes out this definition as -

  • Product: The product aspects of marketing deal with the specifications of the actual goods or services, and how it relates to the end-user‘s needs and wants. The scope of a product generally includes supporting elements such as warranties, guarantees, and support.
  • Pricing: This refers to the process of setting a price for a product, including discounts. The price need not be monetary; it can simply be what is exchanged for the product or services, e.g. time, energy, or attention. Methods of setting prices optimally are in the domain of pricing science.
  • Placement (or distribution): refers to how the product gets to the customer; for example, point-of-sale placement or retailing. This third P has also sometimes been called Place, referring to the channel by which a product or service is sold (e.g. online vs. retail), which geographic region or industry, to which segment (young adults, families, business people), etc. also referring to how the environment in which the product is sold in can affect sales.
  • Promotion: This includes advertising, sales promotion, including promotional education, publicity, and personal selling. Branding refers to the various methods of promoting the product, brand, or company.

These four elements are often referred to as the marketing mix,[4] which a marketer can use to craft a marketing plan.

In looking at today’s digital world, it feels like these levers, while important, are not as critical as some new drivers. With the changes in the way that people communicate and with the introduction of a new generation of workers, there is a new paradigm that is emerging.  To be consistent with the idea of 4 p’s, we are calling these the 5c’s.  These 5 c’s are – Contact, Communication, Conversation, Customization, Collaboration.

Since we all understand the definition of these terms, let me explain why these are important -

  • Contact – in today’s marketplace and marketing world, before you can “market” to someone you first need to make contact.  Some referred to it as Permission Marketing – ok – nice overlay – but what it is  really speaking to is connecting with the customer and contacting them in the setting in which them are comfortable being marketed to, and having them acknowledge this contact
  • Communication – I know – we have heard this before – one-on-one marketing , etc – but this is now more critical than ever.  Where it used to be about placement – it is now about communicating.  You cannot blast out your message.  You cannot scream out how important your company or product is.  You need to communicate value – make it clear – and make it simple.  If you cannot communicate value, you will not win
  • Conversation – yes – that is right -conversation.  In the digital age, the customer fully expects to have a conversation with you – albeit digitally – and to receive personal andmeaningful responses.
  • Customization – the digital world has truly pushed the envelope of the “me-world” generation.  While from a business perspective the product or offering may not be “customized”, it is critical that in the eyes of the customer it feels customized to them and their needs and their goals.
  • Collaboration – this is one step beyond customization.  Collaboration talks about bringing the customer in and making them a part of the process.  Looks at what Starbucks is doing with MyStarbucksIdea and how they are collaborating with their customer.

Do you think the 4 p’s are being replaced?  Are the 5 c’s the right levers?  If not, what are?

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