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The four, seven and more Ps of marketing

The concept of the ‘four Ps of marketing’ has been taught for longer than any of us have been around. Indeed, I remember a lecturer at university telling us that ‘modern thinking’ had updated this to seven Ps …and this was back in the eighties! Since then I’ve seen at least three different ‘eighth Ps’ added to the list.

However many Ps there are, the idea is that the alliterative list covers all of the aspects of marketing a product or service. Get these aspects right, and you’ve done all you can to make it successful.

The original four Ps have always been:

  • Product (what’s being offered);
  • Price (the total cost to customer);
  • Place (the channels to market); and
  • Promotion (the marketing communications used to make the offer known to customers)

The next three Ps are:

  • People (those behind the product);
  • Process (the delivery of the product); and
  • Physical Evidence or Packaging (the physical appearance)

Finally, I’ve seen others added, such as:

  • Partnerships (other parties in the sales process);
  • Programmes (the relationship to the company’s overall marketing); and
  • Performance (implications beyond financial outcomes);

So why is this old but continually developing concept so important in marketing? Why am I reminding us all of it here? Simply because it’s been proven over the years to be a great checklist – but it contains things we can easily neglect. All of these things should be continually reviewed. Every one is worth thinking about in the context of specific products we sell, and considering if we’re covering the ‘P’ well enough.