Most of us have heard about the four “golden” P’s in marketing: Product, Place, Price, Promotion. Nowadays, they’re probably outdated.
When taking a marketing course, the four P’s are standard curriculum. At work, they’re a regular mention. Traditionally, these elements of the marketing mix are a core foundation you build your strategy on. However, they restrict how well B2B marketers can do, according to Richard Ettenson, Eduardo Conrado and Jonathan Knowles.
The marketing mix simply needs to be reinterpreted, as it is not customer-centric enough to fit in today. Don’t think the four P’s, think SAVE:
Instead of Product, focus on Solution
Define offerings by the needs they meet, not by their features, functions, or technological superiority.
Instead of Place, focus on Access
Develop an integrated cross-channel presence, that considers customers’ entire purchase journey instead of emphasizing individual purchase locations and channels.
Instead of Price, focus on Value
Articulate the benefits relative to price, rather than stressing how price relates to production costs, profit margins, or competitor’s prices.
Instead of Promotion, focus on Education
Provide information relevant to customers’ specific needs at each point in the purchase cycle, rather than relying on advertising, PR, and personal selling that covers the waterfront.
As the authors note, “many B2B companies, particularly those with an engineering or a technology focus, find it difficult to move beyond thinking in terms of “technologically superior” products and services and take a customer-centric perspective instead”. I believe more and more B2B companies have already started demanding this shift. Therefore, this article from 2013 seems to make an even stronger case now.
The above alternative to the four P’s finally allows for a less company-centric viewpoint – where the agenda is no longer only based on the selling part’s needs. SAVE is also a more holistic approach that seeks to benefit the buyer beyond just the point of purchase. This rethink is more than welcome.
This article is based on: Ettenson, R., Conrado, E., and Knowles, J. (2013). Rethinking the 4P’s, Harvard Business Review, 91(1), 26.