How Today's Tech Changes The 4Ps Of Marketing

  • by March 25, 2015

In 1960, a professor at Michigan State named E. Jerome McCarthy introduced a concept he called the “Marketing Mix.” He proposed that marketing was governed by a set of interdependent variables—ProductPricePlacement, and Promotion—and that success was predicated on a harmonious balance between all four.

Five years later, Gordon Moore, co-founder of the Intel Corporation, made a very different but equally interesting observation, noting that that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit was doubling approximately every two years.

Over 50 years later, our lives are influenced by Moore’s Law to a degree Moore himself could not have foreseen. Every year, screens get thinner, data gets faster, and the technology around us becomes increasingly complex. And while McCarthy’s 4Ps are still taught in business schools, the technological advances made possible by Moore’s Law have made modern marketing hopelessly complicated.



The original paradigm still matters—Product, Price, Placement, and Promotion are relevant as ever, but now, thanks to Moore’s Law we also have to contend with new new upstarts— PortabilityPersonalizationProximity, and Presence.

Portability is the most evident principle—it‘s an acknowledged fact that consumers move between desktop, tablet, and smartphone screens all day long. Content that is useful, usable, and engaging across all three is simple table stakes. But true portability involves content that changes shape to accommodate the context at hand and the nuances in consumer behaviors that we see from screen to screen.

Google’s decision to penalize the rank of sites that offer a less- than-ideal mobile experience is a clear signal that the one-size-fits-all model is a thing of the past.

Personalization, is a slightly less obvious trend, but of equal importance for consumers—we’re increasingly aware that we produce data and increasingly comfortable with it sharing it in a quid pro quo exchange for something of value.

Google Maps trained us to give up a little non-PII for better content—location was our gateway drug. Now, the quantification of the self is in full swing and brands have a growing opportunity to use the data consumers share to create superlative experiences that are more complex and personalized.  

Take for example, Snapchat with its Our Story feature driven entirely by consumer generated content—just one example of brands creating superlative, personalized experiences with data freely volunteered by consumers.

Proximity may have the greatest impact on consumer behavior since it is teaching us to expect content—as well as products and services—to become more bespoke by virtue of our physical presence.

Brands investing in beacons and sensor technology, like Facebook with its new Place Tips feature, understand that the real value of location is not just latitude and longitude, but one’s nearness to other places, things, and events over time. True proximity is about taking these layers of contextual location—often the strongest indicators of intent and stimuli of action—and creating more meaningful and effective customer experiences.

But perhaps most disruptive of all is Presence—the integration of digital elements into the physical world. Here, Apple and Google stand side by side with their investments in wearables and the connected home and car, underscoring the fact that in the burgeoning Internet of Things, everything has potential to be a screen.

Brands that limit their perspective to the simple triptych of desktop, smartphone, and tablet will see their audience dwindle fast.

It’s no surprise that mobile and social giants are leading the adoption of the new 4Ps—Portability, Personalization, Proximity and Presence, have been integral elements of their landscape since the beginning. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial for consumer-facing brands to follow their lead.


While the connected world is making life much easier in many respects, the average consumer is also face with more data, more decisions, more choices and opportunities than ever before.


Never have we faced so much potential friction in the customer journey and mobile and social natives know that the key to success is reducing that friction in an increasingly frenetic world. The new 4Ps provide a framework for eliminating that friction and brands that understand how the original marketing mix is activated, augmented, and amplified by this new paradigm are the brands that will thrive in 2015.
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