Russell Parsons: Marketers should take control of all ‘4Ps’

Marketers need to constantly evaluate what they do to keep up with the pace of change, but in order to do that effectively they must be in control of the traditional 4Ps.

Before I came to work for Marketing Week my knowledge of how marketers earned their keep was limited to one thing – the ‘4Ps’. As I matured as a marketing reporter, it quickly became apparent the 4Ps were not sufficient for many. Others argued the mix of product, place, price and promotion was a relic that should be confined to the marketing archives.

The job many marketers have is not as described in textbooks. Some of the 4Ps now rest with others in the business. Many marketers are reduced to nursing just one of them – promotion. One of the most notable losses is price. A poll taken of the audience, featured in Marketing Week’s look at how marketers should deal with post-Brexit price risesfound that 44% count price as part of their job mix, 27% say they do not while 29% say they don’t want any part of it. I would wager that if similar polls were taken with distribution or product as the subject, there would be a similar change of responsibilities reflected.

Some would argue that such shifts reflect the passing of time. Modern marketing is a very different proposition that commands a new job description, it has been said. Indeed, a recent rallying cry from Oystercatchers managing partner Richard Robinson demands a “bonfire of the legacies”, a funeral pyre of received wisdom and outdated thinking.

I’m not immune to the need to reassess, remould, and re-evaluate marketing. As we show every day on, there’s plenty of change to tackle. Marketers need to be central to strategy, influencing all four of the traditional Ps.

Leave marketers out of the decision making on price and you’re robbed of the insight, understanding and sensitivity to the customer’s needs. Take away their influence over place, and you risk decisions being made on the basis of cost at the expense of customer experience. Eradicate input on product and you get innovation for innovation’s sake.

The most successful companies put their trust in marketers to be equally focused on product, sales and customer. They put them at the heart of collaboration on all aspects of the marketing mix. The cover headline on the latest issue of Marketing Week magazine is a call to arms for marketers to “take control” of pricing. I could say the say same for the other Ps.

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  • Casper Gorniok 30 Jan 2017 at 8:07 pm

    I believe there is a real risk in companies of all sizes that Marketing is not treated with the respect as the custodian of Product, Price, Promotion & Place (Distribution). Sales is often keen to chip away at short-term “business needs”, whereas the most vital thing is to have a vibrant business in the short, medium & long-term. The key is ONE strategy, and I honestly believe it should be led by Marketing.

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