Updating The Four Ps

Many years ago, McCarthy classified various marketing activities into marketing-mix tools of four broad kinds, which he called the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion.26 The marketing variables under each P are shown in Figure 1.3.

Given the breadth, complexity, and richness of marketing, however—as exemplified by holistic marketing—clearly these four Ps are not the whole story anymore. Updating them to reflect the holistic marketing concept results in a more representative set that encompasses modern marketing realities: people, processes, programs, and performance, as in Table 1.2.

FIGURE 1.3 The Four P Components of the Marketing Mix

TABLE 1.2 The Evolution of Marketing Management

Marketing Mix Four Ps

Modern Marketing Management Four Ps









People reflects, in part, internal marketing and the fact that employees are critical to marketing success. Marketing will only be as good as the people inside the organization. It also reflects the fact that marketers must view consumers as people to understand their lives more broadly and not just as shoppers who consume products and services.

Processes are all the creativity, discipline, and structure brought to marketing management. Marketers must ensure that state-of-the-art marketing ideas and concepts play an appropriate role in all they do, including creating mutually beneficial long-term relationships and imaginatively generating insights and breakthrough products, services, and marketing activities.

Programs are all the firm’s consumer-directed activities, encompassing the old four Ps as well as a range of other marketing activities that might not fit as neatly into the old view of marketing. Regardless of whether they are online or offline, traditional or nontraditional, these activities must be integrated such that their whole is greater than the sum of their parts and they accomplish multiple objectives for the firm.

Performance reflects, as in holistic marketing, the range of possible outcome measures that have financial and nonfinancial implications (profitability as well as brand and customer equity) and implications beyond the company itself (social responsibility, legal, ethical, and community related).

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