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Advertising & Marketing

Are the 4Ps still relevant? You have to be joking.

The fact that a title asking, ‘Are the ‘4Ps of marketing’ still relevant?’ appears on a website like Marketing Week just points to the desperate state of marketing today. If you do not get the 4Ps right you might as well donate your marketing budget to charity. It will generate a far better return that way.

Yes, I know, the world is in changing, everything is going digital, but one thing remains constant; people do not buy your marketing. However, they may buy your brand because of its marketing. Ultimately brands create value for their owners because people find brands valuable – they solve problems, they meet needs, they satisfy desires – and only very rarely is marketing alone going to create enough value in its own right to make a sale (and even then it is likely a short-term win). The primary role of marketing is to enhance brand value, not create it; to improve perceptions of value and encourage people to buy.

I think there is a pervasive belief in the industry that the only job of marketing is to publicize a brand and encourage purchase. Opinions differ on how to do that, there are some who will argue that mental availability is all that matters, and there are some that will argue that only brand love matters, but implicit in these arguments is that marketing is somehow separate from the nature of the brand itself and that all you need to do is to get people to buy the brand. Not so, you also need to encourage people to pay the price asked.

I find it alarming that in an admittedly unscientific poll one in three Marketing Week readers claim not to want responsibility for pricing. Do they not realize that pricing – and how well a brand justifies its price point – is critical to how profitable a brand will be? Deny responsibility for pricing and the brand is likely to end up churning volume but not making any money. However, perhaps more concerning is that only two in five readers claim they have responsibility for pricing. That means that three out of five are trying to enhance brand value with one hand tied behind their backs.

In this post on brand experience I stated,

“Ultimately there is no substitute for a well-crafted product or service to build a strong brand, but how people respond to that experience is malleable, a combination of expectations, impressions and physical experience.”

To my mind it should be the job of marketing to help craft the optimal combination of expectations, impressions and experience to justify the price asked and encourage purchase, and you cannot do that without paying attention to the 4Ps. But what do you think? Please share your thoughts.

 

Written by Nigel Hollis, Executive Vice President and Chief Global Analyst at Kantar Millward Brown.

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