In my time at Accenture, clients would often ask me to list the "4 Ps" of marketing (product, pricing, promotion, and place) to help them organiize a marketing plan or new product introduction plan. I argue that any marketing plan should address 8 Ps instead, to be complete:
- Prospect: It is so important to know which customers you are targeting, so all the other Ps can align. This is different than a boil-the-ocean segmentation program. And it is important to go beyond "there are two types of customers.. those who will buy our product/service and those who won't".
- Product/Service: Describe the major features of the product or service. Note that I include both products and services because more product companies are getting service components in their business (e.g., warranty and maintenance support) and more service companies are getting into hard products (e.g., telephone companies with DSL modems).
- Price: This one is still important, and it is becoming increasingly important to look at all the "terms" elements of price as part of the equation. For example, with cellular companies, the set-up charge, phone cost, phone-upgrade flexibility, cancellation charges, etc. are all part of the price equation.
- Proposition: With the first three elements defined, it is essential to define the compelling value proposition for why a target customer will want to buy this products/service versus other options, including doing nothing. At the planning stage it is critical to push the envelope on the proposition, to apply superlatives as much as possible (fastest, cheapest, easiest, only, etc.)
- Place: The distribution channels are still important, and it is as important to think about the value proposition for the channel partners as it is for the end consumers.
- Promotion: There are more options for promotions today than there were 10 years ago, and wise companies get creative about exploring those. Seth Godin offers some of the most interesting and compelling ideas on new-age promotion that I have seen.
- Process: It is essential to define the end-to-end, lifetime experience you want your customers to enjoy. Some marketers leave that to others in the organization, such as the shipping department or the customer service team, but it is up to marketers to define this completely.
- Profits: Marketers are primarily responsible for revenue growth and customer growth, but must also understand the economic levers of the business and demonstrate how they are building the profits of the business over the long run.