Are the four Ps of marketing irrelevant for retailers?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the IMS Results Count blog.
For centuries, retailing has been based upon the four Ps — product, price, promotion and place. Retailers still “sell” products at a price both online and in-store. So why are the four Ps now being assailed as both inadequate and ineffective?
In the age before Amazon, retail was all about location. Customers had to come to stores to purchase. Retailers could differentiate by carrying different selections of products. And before online, pricing and promotion were instrumental in attracting customers and driving store traffic. Today, it is virtually impossible for an individual retailer to differentiate solely on product or price.
But the real reason that the four Ps are dead is the change in customer behavior and their expectations. Today’s omnichannel consumers shop anytime and everywhere. They expect “unlimited” product selection, with the ability to price compare, all from the convenience of the new “place” of retail — their smartphone.
In a column on Forbes.com, Pam Danziger, president and founder of Unity Marketing, maintains that, while many still cling to the four Ps because they can control them, retailers must align with today’s experience-driven customers by focusing on the four Es:
- Experience – The sum of the customer’s experience is the new “product.”
- Exchange – The customer doesn’t just want a catalog of products at a price; they want an exchange of ideas, information and value beyond price.
- Evangelism – Promotion is not enough, and customers are tired of being bombarded with deals. Evangelism really translates to “engagement” that is personalized on the customer’s terms, lifestyle and values.
- Everyplace – Stores have been replaced by “everywhere,” and communication must now be everywhere as well.
Others have argued for even more Es: Emotions, Execution and Engagement. Whatever Es you choose, the emerging picture of retail success requires transformation to a very customer-centric, experiential business.
- Forget the 4Ps … 4Cs are not enough … The new 4Es of Retail – IMS Results Count
- Retailers Need New Tools For Marketing: Forget The 4Ps, Embrace The 4Es – Forbes
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: In what ways may the four Ps of marketing be falling short for retailers in the age of omnichannel? Which themes should replace them?