The New 4Ps of Marketing

December 19, 2013 |

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This post is by Andrew Bryson, Director of Transformation at Saatchi & Saatchi Asia-Pacific.

Having recently participated on a few panels and forums in India and Singapore on topics like sustainability, social enterprise, and social innovation, one concept I find myself frequently referring to is the new 4Ps of marketing. (I give full credit to Annie Longsworth, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi S, for originally coming up with this idea, but I did take a few liberties and adapt things a bit for my audiences.)

The 4Ps is a concept originally coined in the 1960s by E.J. McCarthy. In short, if you have the right Product, in the right Place, at the right Price, supported by the right Promotion, you will likely have the right marketing mix in place to be successful. It’s an idea that is still taught in many marketing classes and continues to have traction in certain marketing circles. However, in the Age of Now this model seems out of touch with the expectations of empowered consumers. In turn, we are seeing the traditional 4Ps give way to a new set: Purpose, Passion, Participation, and Profit.

Purpose defines what your business stands for and, ultimately, your company’s reason for being beyond just generating profits. Jim Stengel, when he was Global Marketing Officer at Procter & Gamble, actually set out to uncover why certain brands consistently outperform others and the research showed him they all had something in common, which is a clear purpose beyond just profit. In fact, over the decade long span of his research, an investment in “The Stengel 50” would have been 400 percent more profitable than an investment in the S&P 500. In other words, Purpose pays.

Passion is all about leveraging the power of your people to build your brand. It is about building a real culture within a company that allows employees to connect their jobs with the things they care about, which also happens to be a critical piece these days in recruiting and retaining the best and brightest.

A recent study by Bain & Company entitled ‘The Big Green Talent Machine‘ shows that employees increasingly view their company’s sustainability agenda as a critical factor in engagement. One of the more interesting results in the study was that more employees in the developing world than in developed nations said they have accepted lower pay to work for a sustainably minded firm. Beyond that, they are increasingly inclined to exclude specific industries for employment because the industries do not match their beliefs on corporate sustainability.

Participation is central to any brand looking to succeed in the Age of Now. Consumers want to be directly involved in brand conversations and expect companies to be proactively involved in making the world a better place. On the flip side, companies are looking for partners with the same values whom they can work with to make a difference and further their reach.

Profit is something I think we should all be happy to see added to the mix because it means the act of doing good in the world no longer has to be a zero sum game or be limited to the realm of nonprofits. Consumers are okay with companies making a profit related to doing good. In fact, certain consumers are even willing to pay a premium if they feel their dollars are going to the right place. Nielsen recently did a global study of young “socially conscious consumers” willing to do just this and guess which country had the highest percentage? India. 75% of those surveyed in India said they either agree or strongly agree to spend more on products from socially responsible companies. While I’m sure there are many in India may question this data or the methods used to arrive at it, it does point to the fact that consumers all over the globe can and will vote with their wallets when they are so inclined.

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