Marketing’s 4 P’s: Then & Now

As I refreshed my training material in preparation for my next AMA Marketing Boot Camp, I got to thinking about the ways marketing has changed since I started teaching this program more than ten years ago.

Marketing’s traditional “4 Ps” framework – Product (what you offer), Price (what you charge), Promotion (how you communicate it) and Place (where the customer obtains the product/service) – has changed significantly over the past 10+ years with the rapid growth of social media. Here are a few highlights of these changes.

Then: consumers depended on product information primarily from the manufacturer. Satisfied and dissatisfied consumers shared their joy or frustration with traditional word-of-mouth – influencing dozens, maybe even hundreds of people in their local network.

Now: consumers rely on word-of-mouse to obtain product info and instantaneously share their experiences with millions of people in community-based and global networks.

Then: comparison price shopping took serious time and effort.

Now: it’s much faster and easier to obtain pricing info with online research and mobile apps.

Then: consumers enjoyed new-found convenience as shopping opportunities grew from bricks-and-mortar to clicks-and-mortar.

Now: consumers enjoy the any time/any place convenience of shopping and entertainment, including downloading music, movies, and books. They can also acquire knowledge via an infinite number of podcasts, webinars, and (my new favorite) TedTalks.

Then: consumers were no longer passive recipients of promotional messages as they enjoyed skipping over commercials using technology offered by digital video recorders.

Now: some consumers are increasingly immune to marketing messages, although some enjoy participating in message development (“make-your-own-commercials”) and brand advocacy (fan pages).

Beyond CRM
Technology and social media have enabled customer relationship management (CRM) to evolve from “What more can we sell to consumers?” to “How can we more effectively engage them?” Hence, the new 5th P of marketing: Participation.

I welcome your thoughts on how marketing has changed in the past 10+ years.

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