October 12, 2020 Andrea Bartman
The 4 Ps of marketing is a simple, but effective, marketing theory that concentrates marketing activities around four pillars: product, place, price and promotion. With these four building blocks, marketers can create campaigns that effectively reach a target audience and across a range of promotional channels to promote a product.
But the 4 Ps were developed more than half a century ago in the 1960s, when technologies were limited to print and reach was limited to a geographic area. Successful campaigns based on the 4 Ps would depend on saturating the target market for long enough to get your message across. Because of these limitations, there was little in the way of measuring campaign effectiveness and confidently reporting on a marketer’s impact.
However, advances in technology have changed the game. The internet has not only made it possible to place messages anywhere in the world, but it also provides marketers with the ability to measure and assess the impact of its efforts. And because of these two elements – the abilities to place messages and accurately measure impact – marketers can more easily react to and address the needs of buyers (who, ultimately, have more power and control over the buying process than ever before).
But marketers — even in the era of digital marketing — still rely on the traditional 4 Ps as a guiding model today. Well, it’s time to re-think how we think about the 4 Ps. How? With the Modern 4 Ps of Marketing.
The First Modern P of Marketing: Promotion
Similar to the original 4 Ps, promotion is vital to digital marketing success, but it’s emphasis has shifted. Instead of directly promoting a product or solution, promotion – in the modern framework – involves activities that direct audiences towards experiences with your brand. With engaging, compelling digital experiences in place, you can then build brand trust through personalized interactions and a journey that provides a visitor with the content they want, when they want it. A good, modern digital promotion strategy, needs to juggle three essential elements: audience-centricity, balance across promotions and continuous testing.
Modern promotion is audience-centric in that you need to take into consideration the multiple buying personas you’ve created for your different prospects and customers. It also needs to be balanced across distribution channels, like social media, email, ads and others. Lastly, modern promotion is continuously tested to see what works and what doesn’t so you can make sure your efforts are having the impact you want.
The Second Modern P of Marketing: Personalization
The second “P” to consider is personalization. The concept of a personalized marketing strategy is simply that you match your content — and your digital experience — to the audience you’re trying to engage. Personalization is less about creating new assets and materials for every prospect interaction and more about knowing what materials to customize and when to update them to best connect with your target audience.
Within personalization, there are three key areas you need to be mindful of: account, industry and persona. Similar to account-based marketing strategies, personalization targets an account and takes its preferences into consideration. With this information in hand, a marketing team can then create a marketing plan that resonates with the account and is more likely to drive the account further down the buying funnel.
But personalization doesn’t demand addressing visitors on a first-name basis. In fact, personalizing marketing experiences based on a visitor’s industry should suffice in many cases. For example, a tech start-up shouldn’t have the same assets, creatives or language as a financial or legal institution. A modern approach would instead provide each industry with its own digital experience based that would serve them with the most relevant content and product mix to suit their needs.
The third personalization area to consider is the prospect’s persona. Often the buying decision doesn’t rest with just one person, so there are multiple personas to consider. It may be a manager that leads the buying process, but it may be the chief financial officer that has the final say in acquiring your solution or product. That’s why it’s important to have the right materials on hand that resonate with the many different types of professionals involved in the process.
With information on the account, industry and persona you can design customized opportunities to interact with your prospect like polls and surveys which provides them with ways to signal the type of interaction they’re looking for from you. Your goal with personalization is to create customized experiences that enhance a prospect’s interaction with your brand.
The Third Modern P of Marketing: Pipeline
The next P in our list of Modern Marketing Ps is pipeline. Pipeline is so much more than just creating leads. It’s also about the quality of the leads created and the ability to map those leads to revenue.
To have a steady pipeline of high-quality leads, there needs to be consistent coordination and collaboration between sales and marketing. They need to be aligned on goals, strategies and tactics. The department leaders need to set a strong example and facilitate the relationship between the two teams while also defining targets and evaluating goals and methods.
Additionally, a solid pipeline requires significant employee empowerment for both marketing and sales. Marketers need to be empowered with accurate buying personas and industry research. Sales needs to be empowered with quality leads and the prospect’s history of engagement and interaction with the organization. Overall, a quality pipeline requires both teams to be on the same page for objectives, strategies and goals.
It also requires that you have a fully integrated MarTech stack so you can accurately trace your leads back to revenue — especially for any marketing automation or customer relationship management software. By having these tools fully integrated, you’ll be able to quickly evaluate the data in real-time and track your impact on pipeline and revenue.
The Fourth Modern P of Marketing: Predictability
The final element of our Modern 4 Ps of Marketing is predictability. Predictability means having confidence in your plan, being able to replicate and scale your processes and procedures and having reliable estimations on the results you’ll generate.
To replicate and scale your marketing strategy, you need to have a few things already in place: history, goals and a plan. You need to know what parts of your marketing mix work — from webinar marketing and social media to display advertising and SERP — and what doesn’t. A historical record of past plans and how they succeeded or failed helps you know which tactics to use moving forward so you don’t waste time and money trying things that already didn’t work.
Predictability also means being able to estimate what your efforts will produce for your pipeline. Setting goals is necessary to understand whether your marketing mix is working the way you want it to. You should be able to estimate a reasonable number of conversions based on how many leads you add at the top.
Once you have a history of what does and doesn’t work for you and you’ve set goals for the number of conversions you want, you need to have a plan for how you’re going to make it happen. Having a plan to execute allows you to put together target programs and tactics that will help you achieve your goals.
Though the Modern 4 Ps of Marketing are quite different from the original four, there is one major similarity in that they both require constant work and monitoring. To ensure you have the right marketing mix, you’ll need consistent experimentation and analysis to determine what resonates and what doesn’t. As tools continue to evolve and more and more businesses realize the digital-first realm isn’t just a flashy trend, the Modern 4 Ps of Marketing will become even more important to the success of marketers everywhere.