13 June 2023 Back

Who's taken the P's out of marketing?


Has the focus on digital relegated marketing to just Promotion? I’d say YES, it has, and I’d go further and say marketing is in danger of losing its way.

Remember when every good plan covered Price, Place, Product and Promotion?

Today, too many CEOs think of marketing as just digital advertising (email, banners, SEO, social) and events, aka Promotion.

What about the other 3 Ps?

Product is often owned outside of marketing.

Price is governed by the product and finance team.

Place is set by sales and channel.

This means focus on the customer can be inconsistent, which will affect the customer experience, and a deep, holistic understanding of the customer is often missing or based on assumptions. Ultimately the value of the brand and what you offer can get diluted.

So how did we get here?

In tech companies, where budgets are tight, many CEOs struggle to invest in building marketing capability that can provide strategic input into the 4 Ps AND execute. So not surprisingly, some parts of marketing areas have become distributed across the business (giving rise to the Chief Customer/Experience Officer and, most recently, Chief Growth Officer).

Seth Godin said, "Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell."

While this doesn't explicitly talk to the 4 Ps, it captures the essence of modern marketing, which heavily relies on the power of storytelling and connecting with customers on a deeper level. The 4 Ps provide the framework to shape those stories and deliver them effectively to the right audience at the right time and in the right place.

In B2B, we know this is hard to get right; after all, it takes experience to be able to A) build the right strategy and B) execute.

But what to do?

To CEOS: Be very clear on the role of marketing in your organisation. It’s much more than digital/events/content.

To Marketers: Be very clear on what GOOD marketing looks like. You don’t have to have all the skills, but you should know what is needed to deliver on the CEOs strategy. You need to truly be the voice of the customer within your organisation. The only way to do this well is to get to know them. Deeply.

To Leadership teams: Don’t expect strategic thinking AND marketing execution to come from 1, 2 or 3 people AND for it to be the same 1, 2 or 3 people for every stage of your growth.

The way our customers buy has fundamentally changed; it’s time for CEOs (of tech companies) to rethink HOW they build marketing capability to meet the changing needs of the market.

If you're wondering what might be missing with your marketing, maybe it’s the other Ps of the discipline; perhaps it's how your marketing team is integrated with the wider business; or you're not getting strategic insight beyond promotion; then let's chat.

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