It’s been quite a few years since I’ve heard people refer to the 4Ps of the marketing mix; Product, Pricing, Placement and Promotion. Developed in the early 1960s by Professor Neil Borden while at the Harvard Business School, the 4Ps has long been regarded as the critical checklist for companies when assuring all key facets of a marketing plan are properly aligned.
While the importance of these elements cannot be denied, it is also fair to say that the need to address these factors has become second nature for most experienced marketing folks. But the quadruple P acronym is too good to waste. There are some great thinkers in our business, whose work, when looked at in total leads me to believe that we need a new fundamental checklist. Why not create The New 4Ps?
So here are four elements of the marketing communication that while critical, are certainly not second nature for most of us. Introducing The New 4 Ps of Social Marketing; Purpose, Peers, Passion and Provide.
Purpose⎯Great brands are those that are driven by a clear, defining sense of purpose. Purpose-driven brands approach business with a passion and focus that guides interactions with customers. Mark Earls wrote quite a bit about purpose-driven brands in his very thoughtful and inspiring book, Welcome to the Creative Age. Well worth checking out.
Peers⎯Peer-to-peer communications have always been a fundamental part of human behavior. Our beliefs and habits are influenced by communities and social networks. Consumption habits are no exception. With the emergence of online social media tools and platforms, marketers today must consider peer group affiliations as much as individual target profiles when developing a communications plan. Props to Mark Earls once again, as this is something he has written about in fascinating detail in his book, Herd.
Passion⎯Your best customers are people who are passionately motivated. Beyond the rational and the emotional, there are ways for your brand, product or service to connect with customers based on their passions. Ultimately this means understanding what are the ‘hot buttons’ that get people fired-up about your brand or category.
Provide⎯Brands must add value when engaging communities and social networks. And adding value starts in the earliest stages of the planning/creative process. Start by asking “What if”? What if we were more useful to our customers? More relevant? More supportive? More interesting? Brands that find a way to provide something worthwhile to people will not be looked at like party crashers. Along these lines, Adrian Ho of Zeus Jones has articulated some great ideas around the notion of marketing-as-a-service.
I’ll address each of these areas individually over the next few weeks. Till then, I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on the 4Ps of Social Marketing.