Internet Marketing 4 Ps 2.0

By Brian R. Brown.

If you ever took a class in marketing, read a book on marketing or watched the movie Jerry Maguire, then you’ve at least been exposed to the 4 Ps of marketing. You may not be able to name them off the top of your head, but that will just make learning the new 4 Ps even easier. The new 4 Ps have grown out of the Internet and search engine marketing, but their influence will surely cross over as the line between online and offline continues to blur.

The 4 Ps have served as a foundation of almost all marketing efforts for decades. The 4 Ps aren’t going away, but thanks to the web, there are 4 new Ps that may be far more instrumental in your success or failure, especially online. Before we compare the old to the new, there are two more Ps that play a pivotal role in understanding the shift from 4 Ps to 4 Ps 2.0.

Push – Pull

The old world economy, pre-web that is, was a push market. Manufacturers and retailers controlled the markets. Manufacturers made the products they wanted to make, placed them where they wanted, and they and the retailers priced and promoted as they wanted. Consumers took what they could get… take it or go without was the decree from above. Power was held by the few. Costs were prohibitive in just about any industry for new players to even try to offer an alternative. Even if you overcame the development and production costs, and even if you did create “a better mousetrap,” you still had to get in the stores, where the major manufacturers already “owned” the shelf-space.

Enter the pull-market. The web suddenly changed markets as we knew them and will surely be seen as another major movement, not unlike the shift from agriculture to manufacturing or manufacturing to information. Even before ecommerce began to take hold, which is still very much in infancy, consumers gained unprecedented access to information and awareness of products and alternatives they never knew existed. The shift of power was beginning.

Armed with this knowledge, consumers were asking and demanding these new products from the stores they frequented. Rather than having products pushed at them, consumers were now pulling products through the established channels. Get it or I’ll find someone who will is the battle cry of the people. The growth of the web and ecommerce is only expanding this power. This fundamental shift from push to pull is the foundation that is setting the new 4 Ps into motion.

From Product to People

The old 4 Ps began with Product. Everything started and revolved around that. Without Product, nothing else mattered. But now, even more important than Product is People. People command the pull. Whole industries and new businesses have spawned where the product plays no direct role in the bottom or even top-line. When you attract and help connect the People, give them a way to participate, you can monetize through other means. As they say, it’s all about the list.

From Price to Purpose

Whole sections in bookstores are focused on pricing and price theory. Get Price right, and you’ll be a huge success; get it wrong and you’ll go down in flames. Price may still be important, but in a world where businesses whose product is free sell for billions, clearly Price isn’t all that. Far more important is having a distinct Purpose, and getting that right, you can probably charge just about anything you want. Of course, your Purpose may be to help people find the lowest prices, but ultimately it comes down to getting your Purpose right and serving the needs of the People better than anyone else.

From Placement to Position

Placement refers to where your Products are, in other words, where do people go to get them. Obviously this is still important, but less critical in today’s world where Products may be on the shelf at your corner store, available through popular websites or only available from the product provider themselves. What is more important is Position, specifically, search engine position. Being found in key search engines for key searches and ultimately, the Position within those results will have a much more profound impact. Those who rule the results will have a powerful advantage over those who don’t.

From Promotion to Passion

The old 4 Ps relied on Promotion, which again was controlled by the manufacturers and retailers. Those who could control the advertising channels and PR (as in public relations, not PageRank) were able to control mindshare with branding and catchy jingles. Promotion will still play a role, but more powerful is Passion. Passion not only rounds out the new 4 Ps but completes the circle back to People. When People get Passionate about your Products, services and your company, they can help promote and build your brand faster and stronger than any kind of Promotion you could create on your own. The challenge is that Passion can’t be manufactured. It has to come from the People. It helps and may inspire People if you are Passionate about what you are doing and driving to fulfill a great Purpose though.

Marketing 4 Ps 2.0

There is a thought, that given the choice between a mediocre product with a great team or a great product with a mediocre team, the smart person would chose the former to be successful. Similarly, while the old 4 Ps are still valid and important, maximizing the new 4 Ps will be the new mark of success… securing and dominating search Position to attract People who are Passionate about your Purpose. What will prove most challenging and frightening to businesses in this new world is that they have the least amount of control over the most important elements for success. Usher in the brave new web world and the new marketing mix.

[This has been an entry for Marketing Pilgrim's SEM Scholarship contest. Keep up to date with all entries and other marketing news by subscribing to our rss feed.]