4Ps are dead; long live the 4Ps

Are the 4Ps really dead? Is it time to move on? If you’re wondering what I’m saying, check out this article by Skibsted and Hansen on the Fast Company design blog.

As a business student, specifificallly a marketing student, I’ve been taught all of my academic life that the 4Ps are a framework that will always work for any situation. A framework that always works; isn’t that useful? Something that you can always rely on, no matter what is happening, no matter what exactly you’re talking about. However, this article says that this is no longer the case. I agree that this model is getting somewhat dated, but I still think that it’s relevant in today’s world.

Sure, your product is so amazing that it doesn’t need promotion. This is rare. No matter how good your product is, if you don’t tell anyone about it, who will know it exists? If you look at Apple, they don’t make the best products in the world, what they do well is telling people how good they are. I’m somewhat of an Apple fanboy, and even I admit this. If Apple never advertisied the iPod, regardless of how easy it was to use and how beautiful it’s design was, it would never have sold. Think back to the philosophical thought, “if a tree fell in a forrest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If your product is so amazing but no one knows about it, will it sell? No.

Now, what about place? No matter how much commerce is moving online there will always be the need for a brick- and-mortar store. There are just some things that you need right away. Imagine if you couldn’t go and get a Tylenol when you had a headache but had to wait a couple of hours for Amazon to deliver it (if they even offer same-day delivery in your area). What if you’re baking and you run out of eggs? Are you just going to stop baking, go online and wait for eggs to appear hours later? No you won’t. You’ll head to the store and grab it yourself.

Price, now this one is important. The article says that the advent of comparison sites no longer puts price in the control of the company, but instead to market forces. Market forces can only be so much; as consumers, we have been conditioned to use price as a indicator of quality. If you let consumers decide what price a product should be, don’t you think they’ll set it low so they can get something amazing at what they consider a steal? What happened to all of the hard work you put into the product, are you just going to let it go for as cheap or even cheaper than the next best thing? No you won’t.

All in all, this article does bring some interesting things into light. Yes, consumers are getting smarter about marketing. It’s true that no matter how good your promotion, place, and price is, if your product sucks it won’t sell. However, a great product without the other three won’t sell either. The balance in the framework is changing, it needs an update; but don’t kill the other 3Ps.


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