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The four Ps still can’t be beaten

If you’ve ever been taught marketing, you’ll have come across the ‘four Ps’. Unfortunately, perhaps just because the concept was first put together over 60 years ago, you might well have had to endure some of the many attempts to ‘update’ the idea. These are invariably quite daft.

If this sounds familiar, I urge you to read Attempts to update the four Ps are embarrassing – they’ve endured for a reason by Mark Ritson in Marketing Week. It’s a very entertaining piece of writing.

The four Ps are of course product, price, place and promotion, and are the ‘marketing mix’ – the four conceptual areas of marketing decision-making and “the tactical considerations of what a company wants to do”, as Ritson puts it. They are the areas where marketing’s insight into the customer can – and should – have a significant input. What are the benefits of the product? What is the perceived value, which should dictate the price? What promotion is suitable? And how can the product be delivered to customers optimally?

If marketing to you does not include having an input to things like the price, the product (development) and the place (i.e. the distribution), then you’re probably really in marketing communications or advertising. Nothing wrong with that, but a true marketing manager needs to have a far wider input to corporate decision-making. As successful businesses have known for over 60 years.