What we’ve come to know today as the Marketing Mix, or four Ps, was introduced sixty five years ago.  It basically encompassed price, product, promotion, and place – a laundry list of sorts that every marketer paid attention to in order to successfully introduce a product into the market.

Years later came the concept of positioning, an answer to product saturation in the market. Unlike the four Ps, positioning was not something marketers did to the product. Positioning was all about what they did to the “mind of the prospect.” The key to positioning was to find a hole or niche in the marketplace that a brand could claim and own – not creating something new and different, but repurposing and manipulating what was already out there.

Although the principles in the marketing mix and in positioning remain relevant and useful today, the digital revolution gives consumers infinite control. Choices abound, holes disappear, and niches are harder to find. Market dominance has been redefined right before our eyes, but marketing’s definition of it and the formula to achieve it haven’t.

Should the marketing mix add a few new Ps?

How about adding a P for people? How about focusing more on the people your product or service caters to? On who you serve, not what you sell. What difference does your brand make in people’s lives? How does it resonate with their personalities, moods or attitudes?

Shouldn’t there also be a new P for perception? After all, as Marty Neumeier states in his book, The Brand Gap, “Your brand is not what you say it is. It’s what they say it is.” It’d be useful to know what people are saying about brand and with what sentiment.

What about adding a P for taking things to a personal level? If we’re no longer just seeking to find holes in the market or to gain mind share, then we must set out to fill a void in people’s lives. To get up close and personal with the consumer’s priorities, desires and emotions.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The original four Ps are still key determinants to consumer buying behavior. Perhaps the original four Ps simply need a little refreshing to keep up with the times. Perhaps they are the tactical part of the marketing mix and we just need to work on a more strategic one.

Food for thought.