Commentary

Goodbye, 4Ps; Hello, 4Rs

In 1960, Jerome McCarthy changed the face of marketing around the world by introducing the 4Ps of the Marketing Mix – Product, Price, Promotion and Place. These became the guidelines that marketing teams used to determine how to differentiate, create a competitive advantage and sell their products.

But it’s been 50 years since the 4Ps were created. We are now in the 21st Century and the digital revolution has changed the way that consumers learn about products, how they engage with brands and how they make purchases. Let’s face it, the 4Ps of marketing are dead.

Modern marketers know that the 4Ps need to evolve. Why? Because marketing is no longer linear; it’s no longer about companies just telling their stories and pushing their message out to consumers in the hopes that they will buy. Marketing today is about creating conversations, communicating a brand’s message to consumers with the goal of getting them to connect and engage with the it and, ultimately, to create influencers who will continue to promote the brand to their network.

So if the 4Ps of marketing are dead, what are a marketer’s new rules of engagement? Let’s welcome the 4Rs of marketing: Reach, Relevance, Reaction and Responsibility.

Reach – Reaching your audience is no longer just about placing ads on billboards, newspapers and even online banners. Today’s marketers need to insert themselves and their brands into conversations and let the consumers do the talking. Consider how you make purchasing habits – when you look at a new product, what is the first thing you do? You check reviews, blog posts, tweets – any information that other people have written about that product and any conversations that are going on and often, base your decision on recommendations made by others. To do well, marketers now need to reach these influencers, insert themselves in the conversation and be part of the discussion to ensure that positive conversations are being had regarding their brands.

Relevance – Messages need to be relevant in order to engage your audience. By creating meaningful messages, brands show that they understand who their target audience is and what their needs are. The value of a product is now often determined by the emotional connection a consumer has to that product. Marketers need to be part of the conversations taking place and then tailor their messages based on these conversations in order to be relevant to those consumers. Without the relevancy, the message will simply be lost in the plethora of other content created.

Reaction – The objective of marketing is to create reactions from the consumers. Putting out the right message at the right time can compel consumers to react to specific calls to actions at that moment in time. Consider Samsung’s product placement at this year’s Oscar awards. The now famous “selfie” of Ellen DeGeneres and her Oscar friends went viral on Twitter, with nearly 3 million retweets after the show. Not to mention that the picture itself had, in plain view, Bradley Cooper holding the Samsung Galaxy Note. Samsung could not have asked for better product visibility, reach and reaction.

Responsible – The advent of digital marketing means that brand consistency can be more difficult than it used to be. Marketers need to be more conscious of the fact that while they are marketing at the “speed of now,” creating the right message at the right time also means that you need to ensure that the message aligns and complies with your corporate brand and guidelines. Inconsistent branding will only confuse consumers and leave them disengaged. Not to mention the legal rights that need to be adhered to when it comes to using digital images. The new digital era means marketers need to be more conscious of their brands and how they are represented than ever before.

The 4Ps had their moment in time, but as technology now influences the way consumers make decisions, the time for the 4Ps has passed. It’s time we lay them to rest and consider how the 4Rs of marketing will help us move forward in this day and age.

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2 comments about "Goodbye, 4Ps; Hello, 4Rs".
  1. Phil Rubin from rDialogue , March 21, 2014 at 8:54 a.m.
    Seeing the headline, I was hopeful that one of the Rs would be "Relationship" - which is ultimately what brands should want with customers. After all, it comes from, and sustains, relevance. I'd argue against "Reach" for "Right" - as in the right customers which by definitions is the antithesis of reach.
  2. Francesco Sacco from Pubblimarket2 , March 21, 2014 at 9:21 a.m.
    Ok let's change Promotion with the 4Rs but what about the other 3 Ps and the mix?