Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The (Same Old) 4Ps Of Marketing 2.0.

When the new "paradigm" comes along, people often describe it in ways that differentiate it totally from what came before. Often to enhance their guru status. That's a mistake. Revolution is rare - evolution far less so. Relating the new to the old can be much more insightful and is also more welcomed by the unconverted.

In that vein, I prefer to look at marketing 2.0 in terms of existing frameworks rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater. After all, the two ends of the transfer are still essentially the same - there is stuff and there are customers. They may be changed people and it often is new stuff, but the real changes lie in the interaction between the two. The traditional 4Ps still apply, but they present new problems.


Economic theory dictates that equilibrium prices equal marginal cost. In the digital world of cost-less replication, that price is increasingly tending towards zero.

While that may not make obvious business sense to producers, there is all too often someone who will think they can do this profitably via aggregation or just delusion and there is increasingly an audience who expect it to be so. Thus, even if you are not valuing your worth at zero, they are.

Solution – sell something with a marginal cost greater than zero.


This used to mean distribution and it used to be on the high street. Now its more likely to mean visibility and is increasingly found online – not necessarily for the final purchase, but certainly for the discovery

It’s not so much about identifying the best places to capture physical footfall. It’s about being wherever the digital footfall is. Fish where the fish are – don’t expect them to come to you anymore. Just as "now is preferable to free", so too is proximity.

Solution – be searchable, findable and spreadable.


Promotion has all too often been confused for the totality of marketing. Moreover, it's arguably been shown to be less effective than previously believed. Vested interests resist but we have to think more closely and seriously about what we mean by promotion (not just advertising) and what the role of marketing/promotion is.

As connectivity gets greater, promotion gets smaller – that doesn't mean restricted, just more personal. Don’t dictate what users do with your offering, just give them space to use it and reason to proselytise it.

Solution - fan club not fanfare.


Product is still the most important element of the marketing mix. It's just clearer that this is the case, that bad products are more easily uncovered/spoken about and that the definition of product must be expanded to include customer service and usability.

Your product/service has, of course, to be unique and remarkable. But what has changed is the "always in beta" philosophy of "fail quickly, fail cheaply". You don't dictate what the product is, you make a suggestion and adapt it in response to your users' wishes.

Solution - have a point of view, not a point of functional differentiation.

Bottom line - you can create all the additional Ps you like. Yes, we need to consider participation, permission and proximity. Just don't tell me that's new or that the old disciplines no longer apply. It isn't and they do.


Anonymous Rob said...

So you think purchaser isn't important? Or should I say [potential purchaser - though I'll only count it as a single 'P']

Go on, give me your pedantic response - I'm not expecting anything else.

5:23 PM, November 23, 2009  
Blogger john dodds said...

All of the above are directed at the prospective purchaser. Marketing is all about focussing on customer needs and is implicit in all 4Ps.

Pedantic enough?

6:58 AM, November 24, 2009  
Anonymous Rob said...

Yes ... but the way a lot of marketing is conducted is that the brand say's what IT wants to say, not what the purchaser needs/wants to hear.

8:44 PM, November 25, 2009  
Blogger john dodds said...

Well that's bad marketing he retorted glibly. You are of course absolutely right. Marketing should be that which causes the customer to pull the product/service to them rather than that which pushes the product/service towards them unwelcomly.

2:25 AM, November 26, 2009  

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