For the last couple of years there has been a lot written about how marketing has changed and there is no doubt this is true. SEO and social media are just two examples of new tactics that didn't exist a decade ago. Other new strategies, such as content marketing, are key to your marketing but I would argue that creating good content has always been a key strategy to educate your market and it's the term 'content marketing' that's new.
All of these new concepts have led many to move away from what is now called traditional marketing to try the latest and shiniest marketing tool. But which fundamentals of marketing have really changed or are no longer relevant? Should we just disregard the proven marketing strategies of the past? Is any book or paper published before 2008 or 2009 no longer relevant and not worth reading?
Over the next few months on this blog, I thought it would be worthwhile to review some of the marketing fundamentals from the past to see which ones are no longer relevant, which ones need to change and be more current and which ones still hold true and should not be ignored by companies large and small. It's been said "those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it" so let's see what marketing history can teach us.
While I was sketching out this blog series, David Meerman Scott (@dmscott) who literally wrote the book on the New Rules of Marketing and PR recently posted on his Web Ink Now blog about Why the 4 Ps of Marketing do not work on the Web. The fundamental he writes about is the four Ps of marketing -- product, place, price, and promotion – from the 1960s and he concludes, "get away from the Ps if you want success on the Web."
I agree with David on his points in the post, especially the ones about creating content that helps educate your audience rather than talking about your product and that content is more than a check box in your plan. However, I'm not sure the answer for this fundamental is to "get away" from it as these aspects still apply, although promotion should not be the advertising campaigns of yesteryear.
The issue is that the 4 Ps are too limiting and outdated to be THE fundamental you use to create your marketing strategy. Any marketing plan that only addresses product, place, price and promotion is doomed to failure today. Adding a 4th, 5th or 6th P is not the answer either or changing what each P represents is not a framework I think makes sense.
Even when I learned the 4 Ps of marketing in university, it just didn't make sense to me as the overall framework that would drive your marketing activities. I also can't remember when I've written a marketing plan that only talked about the 4 Ps. Having said that, I do think the concepts are in the back of my mind when I develop a plan and that should be the case even today.
My conclusion on the 4 Ps is that this fundamental should not be the cornerstone of your marketing strategy today and I'm not even sure it ever should have been. Product, place and price are still concepts that need to be addressed as one piece of your plan. Promotion is the one that needs the biggest change as it's not just advertising but could be one of many tactics that help you educate the market about new ways to solve their problems. And, more importantly your strategy needs to be a lot more than the 4 Ps.
Which fundamentals do you think have changed, should be ignored, or which ones need to be a key part of your strategy? Stay tuned as I look at a few in some upcoming posts.