The Missing Piece in the Four P’s of Marketing

Marketing planning is ostensibly simple and everyone seems to have an opinion about how Marketing should run. If that’s true, then why do so many growth initiatives fail?

Lisa Nirell

Marketing planning is ostensibly simple, and everyone seems to have an opinion about how it should work. If that’s true, then why do so many growth initiatives fail?

I have worked with B2B companies and helped deploy dozens of growth initiatives over the past three decades. I’ve worked with very bright people. And yet, they wasted thousands, often millions, on projects that never achieve the returns they expected.

E.J. McCarthy, a marketing professor at Michigan State University, introduced the concept of the “Four Ps” of marketing in 1960. He promoted it as a way to guide the marketing mix. These Four Ps—Product, Place, Price, and Promotion–remain the blueprint for many marketing organizations.

This model is simply not adequate for today’s growth-oriented companies and
marketing organizations. Here’s why.

A client of mine, the VP of Strategy for a $4 billion software firm,
continued to struggle with implementing new messaging playbooks to their global
sales teams. The VP could not figure out why people did not use these costly, well-designed
tools. And the Four P’s would not help him find the root cause of the

His sales teams–essentially, his internal customers–were simply not
motivated to embrace the new playbooks because they were wildly successful
without them. Their attitude was “why change when things are going so well
and we are number one in our industry?”

This client resistance prompted me to re-examine the traditional “Four P’s”
That is when I realized the Four Ps were missing one element: An organization’s Mindset.

No matter how successful you are, you must have a system for taming the
limiting beliefs that stop your marketing initiatives from succeeding. The best
laid plans fail when leaders ignore the existing beliefs and attitudes that
cause resistance and sabotage. This software company example was not an
anomaly. During my recent webinar, 63% of the participants said they just
ignore these beliefs, hoping they will disappear on their own!

Marketing the right products, in the right place, at the right price, at promoting
them to the right people are still essential disciplines. Managing your mindset
around your marketing planning deserves the same focus.

Now is the time to give your marketing blueprint a facelift.

What’s working with your 2013 marketing
blueprint? Where do you see the greatest challenges? Share your ideas and
experiences here in the COMMENTS section.

copyright 2013, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved

Comments open: True

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