The Paradox of the Fifth P

To reflect the changing times, today’s marketers are trying to create an additional P to supplement the marketing mix that has been celebrated for decades. Which one truly holds out?

Product Price Place Promotion

When the marketing mix was first publicized into the four categories of product, price, promotion and place, the marketing industry was an entirely different environment. Where in the 1960s, it was mass communications, hand-drawn creative and push content, now it’s all about behavioral advertising, digital mock-ups and pull content strategies. With this change, marketers are smart to adapt their mix to reflect the signs of the times. Here are a few of the fifth P suggestions I have seen:

People
Many wonder how the mix has endured decades without the consideration of people in the marketing mix. Many might counter that as the end target, they cannot be a driving force in a given marketing plan, but this overlooks the power of active and loyal customers and brand advocates alike. Today, marketers are expected to know their audience so that they may be able to effectively target and communicate. Performing this constantly and consistently can produce customers that continue to return. Failing to tailor your content to the right audiences can result in your messages falling flat with little to no results. It should also be considered that people can also mean those within your organization. Eric Larse of Kinesis noted in AMA Marketing News that having an invested service and sales force can result in more connected conversations with customers, ultimately maximizing ROI; “Prospective customers want confidence and trust not just in the institution, but also in the people who are the human face of the institution.”

Purpose
In this information age, nothing is secret anymore. Companies can either choose to work towards transparency or have massive crises result from a misalignment between vision and practice. With any actions towards transparency, authenticity is key. This means advocating for more than just the bottom line for customers. For years, Edelman has reported in its Goodpurpose research that the third consumer trigger for purchasing a product or service is purpose, following after price and quality. With globalization creating an environment where product differentiation is key for marketers, creating an emotional trigger can result in strong brand loyalty. Further, it can inspire an organization’s staff to once again create connected conversations.

Privacy
While digital trends require organizations to be more open, consumers are continually working to protect their privacy, specifically online. This creates a challenge for marketers, who are actively working to create the most personalized and targeted messages. Privacy should not be taken lightly for consumers, as it relates directly to brand trust, according to Chris Babel, CEO of TRUSTe Inc, an online privacy solutions provider. When they trust a brand, they are more likely to pay a premium. Active steps should be taken in the marketing mix to make a consumer feel safe and protected against threats, real or imagined. Babel advocates for high privacy standards, certifications and seals to put customers at ease.

So Which P is the Winner?
To put simply, it depends. As the market continues to demand customized content and information, each organization must look at how their marketing mix serves their specific target audiences. Consumers expect highly relevant and credible content in every message they receive. Some value certain Ps over others, and more and more of these Ps aren’t in the traditional marketing mix. In sum, one P that overarches all is…

Personalization.

1 Comment

  1. The idea was revolutionary and marketers watched closely. Could a company partner with a cause to create interest for a product, for a brand, for an entire company? Could alignment with a social issue create a new narrative, drive preference and, ultimately, influence sales?

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