Add a Living Element to the Marketing Mix

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Add a Living Element to the Marketing Mix
Jacob George, Financial Consultant, India

Ask any MBA student on the fundamentals of marketing and he will tell you about the 4Ps, Product, Price, Place and Promotion. As you know it was expanded to 7Ps, 11 Ps and so on … an endless list! But for simplicity we shall confine our discussions here to the traditional 4 Ps. We shall start with a hypothetical case that Jack faced.

--- The Dilemma that Jack Faced ---
Jack, from his childhood on wanted to make money and earn a name for him. He saw his academics as a means for that. Chasing this dream, he was bright in his studies as a child. After completing his primary education he opted for business education as he saw that as a route to his goal. Completing his undergraduate course he wanted to do his masters at the premier college in the country. Though the entry was tough, Jack gained admission. Now came his last hurdle in academics. Jack wanted to pass his MBA with flying colors (Editor: ~cum laude, with honours). Jack worked hard from day one on. He knew very well that he was not too far away from making his dream a reality. His hard work finally paid off! He was the best student in his batch and as a result he was hired as brand manager in the dream company he wished. Jack was happy since he had achieved his dream. But then came the real test.
In his role as brand manager. Jack was given the responsibility of launching a new brand product in a new market. His colleagues were very confident of him being successful as he was a well known superstar during his academics. Jack also was confident of making it big, since he knew he only had to apply the theories learnt in this practical case. He recalled his marketing classes. Crack the 4 Ps , the fundamentals and you are sure to succeed!
Product, Price Place and Promotion the 4 Ps. So, he began his work. He created a very good product, gave it a good price, made it available and gave it a good visibility.
But things didn't work out the way Jack planned and the product failed miserably in the market. It failed to deliver the desired results. He nor Jack's friends could believe it. He flopped.
That night Jack couldn't sleep well. He rolled on his bed trying to catch some sleep. The thought of his failure kept him awake. True, he was a superhero during his studies. But when it mattered he had failed in his first assignment. All his dreams lay shattered. The thought of him being labeled a flopper haunted him. What went wrong? He had really implemented all that he studied. But something was not right. Failures often teach you more than your success. What should be his take from this incident? Jack began thinking in this way and childhood lessons came to his rescue...
Classification between living things and non living things... The 4Ps of marketing... Look at them. All belong to one category. Non living things. Only a living thing can control a non living thing. Take the 4 Ps. They are super heroes themselves or individually. But can they work collectively? Is there any lubrication between them so that they can work towards the organizational goals. Can they work as a team? Jack could not sleep. Had he missed a major P which he failed to crack?

--- The missing link ---
Indeed the 4Ps are individual super stars. But when it comes to a collective or collaborative effort, they fail miserably. The traditional view of marketing is that the 4Ps are enough for a company’s success. The 4Ps form four quadrants. But there seems no interaction between them to attain a given set of goals/objectives. A link seems missing. Yes, the Ps can work towards something and you need them all, but which is the P which coordinates them and ensures their smooth functioning? Have a look at them. The 4Ps. Is there an element of redundancy in them? There seems to be something missing.
A missing link. Something which makes them collaborate. An additional P. Such extra P would coordinate all of them and ensure they work in unison. Well, what would fit there and must satisfy the condition of being a living thing. It can only be People. The major P. People ensure the smooth functioning of all other Ps. Was that the P Jack missed – the missing link? Could this 5th P be at the centre and all other 4 Ps around it in 4 quadrants? It ensures interaction between the other Ps (4Ps) and also it provides a two way link between all the others.

--- What should Jack have done? ---
Jack failed here. To crack the major P, it needs to be addressed before any other P is cracked! He understood that he failed here. His studies failed to teach him that the 4 Ps are not enough, there should be 5 indeed. Jack rolled on his bed. Did he discover something new? Failure teaches a thousand lessons, It helped him identify something lacking. Jack now had a good sleep. The next morning he woke up with tenfold strength to proclaim to the whole world as if he had discovered something new!

Elements of Marketing Mix
Nikandish, Manager, Iran
Thank you Jacob for writing this topic. Although the 4P Model is completely related to the sales and marketing strategy of a company, I am agreeing with your comment.
I would like to add and complete that if the meaning of "People" is "Customer and Seller", we could link the 4Ps by adding "Relation's Level":
- What relation would the seller like to have with the customer?
- What relation would the customer like to have with the seller?
Both of them are looking to get a degree of each other's satisfaction.

The Experiences of People Matters in Further Sales
Jacob George, Financial Consultant, India
@Nikandish: Thanks. As for the questions you asked about the interactions between seller and the customer, there has to be a mutually beneficial relationship for either party.
For one thing, this means that the seller should NOT see the sale as the end of the process… In fact it is just a beginning, the customer may return if he finds the relationship fine and worthy. Then there will also be good chances of cross selling, further leads from the customer, reference sales etc. But all these will depend upon the experience the customer had.
And from the customers angle: he would be looking for a quality product/ service at a good price and with good after sales support.
In short, each closing of a sale in terms of customer experience can be termed as a promise created in the mind of customer.
So people indeed mean both the seller as well as the buyer!

Replace People with Consciousness
srinivas, Test Manager, India
I am firm believer that success cannot elude the person who is ever aware of the consciousness aspect.I think it has a good impact in the business decisions as well...

Consciousness is a Trait of the People
Jacob George, Financial Consultant, India
@Srinivas: Can consciousness not be termed as a trait of the people involved?

People are a Subset in the Superset of Consciousness
srinivas, Test Manager, India
@Jacob: I think aspect of consciousness is more inclusive. Inclusive of all beings (both animate and inanimate (for example the environment in which we live)).

Traits Involved.....?
Jacob George, Financial Consultant, India
@Srinivas: OK... But will that be the only one... Like will that alone ensure sucess?

The Most Important P in the Marketing MIx is People!
James Tian, Manager, Singapore
Hi Jacob, Thank you very much for illustrating the missing P in the regular marketing mix. Which is People. In our highly sophisticated and techno world, people seem to become unimportant. I would just like to add the following:
The most important P in marketing is People because Marketing is for People. Marketing will only work if it is reasonable to People; a product will only sell if it is wanted by the People; and it will be acceptable and known to People only if they are reached through their senses.
Last but not least, we need People to harmonise all the above so that other People will be able to decide to consume the product or services.

The Marketing Mix Problems Arise Due to not Knowing the Customer
S K Bal Palekar, CxO / Board, India
The 4Ps or 7Ps are mere templates. What goes inside these templates is far more important than what format you use. After all, the Marketing Mix is just a list of "What really matters to a customer".
bviously Jack did not do what really mattered to the customer and that is why he failed.
But that is NOT a marketing mix issue. It is an issue of not knowing the customer needs and behavior.

Other Dimensions
srinivas, Test Manager, India
@Jacob, as you have rightly pointed out it is not sufficient to be aware of the consciousness aspect alone. It also means to be conscious of fact like hunger, sleep, reflection which is common to all beings. To me it includes inanimate objects as well.
For example water, the river Kaveri originates in Brahmagiri hills in a land scape full of grass lands.Means water flowing in the river is depended on grass lands, grass lands are depended on number of cattle which gaze on it, the number of number cattle are in turn controlled by number of tigers. It means to say that so called inanimate objects also have life which depend on the bio diversity.
One need to be conscious of this fact also, not only people which we can say a subset of consciousness pervading all over.

On Other Dimensions ...
Jacob George, Financial Consultant, India
@Srinivas: True Srinivas... Our duty in fact to take care of our fellow beings!

Necessity for a Living Element in Marketing Mix
Uduakobong Sunday, Management Consultant, Nigeria
For the first time I have just realised that just as the Factors of Production has 4 Ms- Men, Money, Materials and Land, the marketing mix has been incomplete without the now realised fifth P: People.
No marketing transaction or interaction can be complete or effective without the relationship between the seller and the buyer. By this I support that 'People' be considered as a key factor in the marketing mix; without which it would be incomplete.

People Make the DIfference in Business and in Marketing
rafael angel calvo arguedas, Business Consultant, Costa Rica
The fours P's of marketing, like all other principles in business management, do not act on their own, they respond well or poorly, depending on who applies them and how they are applied.
It is not worth to know all the theories that have been written on how to manage a business, we need to know how to apply them, not independently, but as a part of a whole.
In business everything interacts. In marketing, the way to reach the customers, to communicate with them, the confidence that the seller can inspire, the services provided before and after the sale, and other factors, are important factors to consider. The seller's personal interaction with the customer, beyond the commercial cold relation.
Individuals (People) are the ones who make the difference in business, not the theories that have been written on business.

No Principle Works for Itself, the 4Ps is a MIX
Robinson M. Tenu, Entrepreneur, Cameroon
Management principles worked and are working and peoples are still working on them to get the best as time changes. The question is how did you apply the 4Ps? Did you prepare a groundwork for its application? May be it failed because it was not thoughtfully applied. The 4Ps is a combination of elements, if well mixed will produce desired results; if poorly mixed will produce poor result. Two persons once use same ingredients to produce cake, the 1st cake was very good and the 2nd very bad. This was due to the mix of the ingredients.
It certainly failed you because the mix was not appropriately used or combined.

Add a Living Element to the Marketing Mix
Charles Oriaku, Other, United Kingdom
Dear Jacob George,
Thanks a million for adding the missing link to the marketing mix: "the people", internal and external people needed to be strategically factored into this business equation for it to succeed.
Permit me to call you Prof. Jacob George, your have demystified marketing.
History can never forget you.

Seeking for True Knowledge
Yemi Adegbola, HR Consultant, Nigeria
An interesting piece, an interesting discovery by Jacob!
True knowledge consists in seeking to know what you don't know. As HR practitioners, we cannot afford to rest on our oars. That's the way to prove that we are critical partners to our organizations' businesses.


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