The Other 4 P’s of Marketing


If you’re a Marketer, these are ingrained in your soul: The Four P’s of Marketing. Come on, say them with me now: Price, Product, Place, and Promotion. I personally fell in love with the Promotion P many moons ago. And my son is now in college learning the same four P’s. Yep, twenty five years later, they are still teaching the same fundamentals of marketing. It got me to thinking. Surely the four P’s have changed since I was in school. And if they haven’t, then we need to expand them a bit to include the four other P’s. The ones they don’t teach you about until you get your first or your fifth or even last corporate marketing job. Indulge me for a minute with my bold stance on embellishing an age old fundamental teaching and adding to it a new list of 4Ps:

1. Psychology — marketing is all about the psychology of the consumer mind. Figuring out the why behind the what. Why customers choose one packaging over the other or one brand name inside the complexity of multi-brand choice. Understanding the psychology behind everything we do in marketing is key to effectively standing out from the crowd and being heard or better yet…. remembered.

2. Politics — marketing is filled with politics. I don’t mean the right wing versus left wing. There’s no Capitol Hill versus the White House here. In the corporate world, you can’t help but land in the middle of politics and sometimes these politics get in the way of good marketing. I’ve seen many an ad campaign go away because of politics. An ad agency can only be as good as the client lets them and a client can only be as good as their senior leadership lets them. Too many decision makers who need to mark their territory. Too many approvals from legal, risk management, and C level leadership. Take a risk, don’t take a risk. Not that color, this color instead. Use this word, not that word. Creative by committee generally leads to watered down ideas and less than optimal results. Politics are definitely the hardest part of marketing.

3. Process — marketing has now become a process. One of managing the promotional calender, manipulating the social media connection, meticulously planning the strategy for programmatic media. Yet, the budget seems to still be based only on traditional media rather that additive to allow for new technology. Without process, you have ineffective marketing. But with so much process, you could end up with delays and poor judgement decisions because you are waiting on the “process”. Oh, and being OUT of process is never a good thing in the corporate world, and believe me….there IS a process and it would be in your best interest to find out what that is at your company.

4. People — so often times we forget about the people who are buying our product, using our service, or watching our commercials. It’s no longer about just reaching the adult 25-54 demographic. It’s more about the people inside that demo who are making the decision, influencing the decision, of forming an opinion about your brand before they are ready to make a decision. Plus, you have to have the right people in place to structure the marketing plan, implement the marketing play, and optimize the marketing ROI. People are the most integral part of the whole concept behind price, product, place, and promotion. But, those same people may be the ones who are getting in the way of progress.

Now these by no means should replace the original 4P’s of Marketing. Ever. Coming from someone who appreciates the simplicity of the 4Ps, I would not want to change the fundamentals of what makes marketing work. But, I do think we need to enrich our marketing thinking and develop an understanding for another set of 4P’s that work better in addressing the real world. You can’t have one without the other and expect your strategic marketing plan to speak to the hearts of your consumer. It’s the difference between creating desire for your brand and creating a movement for your brand.

Just remember that product, price, place, and promotion are fundamental while psychology, politics, process, and people are what allow you take it to the next level.

I think it’s important for young graduates and old schoolers to think about the impact of this new list of P’s.

Ann Rimkus
About the author: 

Ann Peebles Rimkus is the Vice President – Strategy for The Point Group, a full-service, integrated marketing communications firm in Dallas, TX.  Her career includes assignments as a Vice President at both Leo Burnett and The Hay Agency, and as a Director at Mary Kay and Wyndham Hotels. Follow Ann on Twitter and LinkedIn.