Last Thursday, I read an article entitled Why Do B-Schools Still Teach The Famed 4P’s Of Marketing, When Three Are Dead?
“The digital revolution has rewritten the laws of marketing. So why do B-schools insist on teaching outmoded notions of price, place, and promotion?”
Seemed like a good opening. It was certainly one that I didn’t necessarily disagree with. I continued reading. Then, I hit a roadblock.
“But a closer look at some of today’s fastest-growing brands shows that time has buried the Four P’s. Companies can no longer use them to gain a competitive advantage and meaningful differentiation. In fact, they more and more look like the roadmap to failure.”
Huh? The author asserts that we’ve seen an explosion of companies that have done no advertising and therefore the concept of PROMOTION is dead. I disagree. The concept of advertising as the only means of promotion is dead, but not the concept of promotions. Would Facebook have become such a phenomenon were it not for word of mouth? What is word of mouth if not promotion? Did Pepsi stop promoting its product because it chose to put its promotional efforts around Refresh Everything rather than a Super Bowl ad?
Let’s talk PLACE. Yes, a physical place is becoming less important for some businesses as customers move online, but what is a website if not the place to find what you’re looking for?
PRICE is still as important as ever as the Internet allows us to become savvier shoppers and as we look to find more value for the limited dollars we currently control.
“Only Product Matters…”
Well, I do agree that product is ultimately THE most important P. You can promote a bad product all you want, but it’s not going to get you long-term results. Bad product but the perfect location (online or off)? Yep, that won’t last either. How about a can’t resist price for a bad product. Well, you’ll hook some first-timers, but chances are you’ll be up to your ears in complaints and refunds. And, don’t expect repeat purchases. Remember that word of mouth? It’ll get you, too.
The author asks why business schools are still teaching these “outdated” 4 P’s. I guess it’s because they still matter. I will admit that I often wonder if there isn’t a 5th P – PEOPLE. Every day I wonder how to increase employee engagement and create the best brand ambassadors. Then, I wonder, “Isn’t that PROMOTION?”
Do you still rely on the 4 P’s?