The four P’s have served building product marketers well for half a century but the product-focused strategies are increasingly at odds with how business is done today.
The marketing mix, otherwise known as the 4 P’s of marketing, dates back to the 1940s and was developed to help companies gain advantage within the marketplace by determining a specific marketing mix that would satisfy both the needs of the customer and the retailer’s needs.
The growing influence of the internet has changed the relationship building products manufacturers have with their customers. The truth is, the 4 P’s aren’t irrelevant, they just need to be reinterpreted to serve marketers of building products. Three ways in which they don’t deliver include:
- Stressing product technology and quality, even though these no longer provide differentiation but are simply the cost of entry
- Distracting marketers from leveraging their company’s expertise as a trusted source of problem solving, advice and diagnostics
- Under emphasizing the value of their company’s solutions
The time has come to rethink marketing’s P’s.
Due to today’s physical and digital worlds coming together, place is irrelevant. Customers expect access to your information. They need to be able to research, buy and advocate anytime and anywhere. They are no longer confined to the traditional channels and therefore, it’s no longer about place, it’s about any place.
Building product manufacturers no longer control what is said and read about them and are therefore susceptible to market transparency. Consumers can find anything that has been said or written about a company and no amount of marketing can cover it up. Instead of pushing a message out into the marketplace, today’s successful companies get consumers to promote it for them. But in order to accomplish this, you have to deliver great customer experiences and encourage your customers to talk about them. When it comes to promotion, think in terms of conversations.
Customers have more choice than they’ve ever had before. Falling short on products that don’t fully meet their needs just isn’t good enough. Price is not a differentiator, but the experience and value created by your brand is and companies who accomplish this can charge a premium.
As previously mentioned, the idea of promoting product features and quality is outdated. It’s not about features, it’s about how you can help solve your customers problems.
Due to the important role people play in today’s marketing mix, I’ve added a fifth P: People. They are your customers who help spread the word about your company and they are your staff who help make your customers’ experiences great ones. Building strong and engaging relationships with both of these groups is the key to communicating your messaging successfully.
Photo credit: Jukka Zitting via Flickr.com