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The Most Significant P of Marketing

Harvard professor Neil Borden developed the marketing mix concept, more famously known as the four Ps. This idea birthed during the 1950s is still being utilized by organizations today to advertise their goods and services. The initial goal of the four Ps was to help companies overcome barriers that impede widespread adoption of their offerings.

The marketing mix includes a range of factors every marketer should consider when promoting and positioning their goods. The first P deemed the launch pad of the mix is always product. The theory goes like this; you can't market a product or service if you don't understand it. Before any marketing development can occur, you must first apprehend what you are offering, how it stands apart from the competition, and why your audience wants it from you. Defining your product is a must as it informs how you highlight its significance and value to the world. Also, we can't overlook how the product is characterized directly influences two other aspects of the marketing mix—the price and place.

These two Ps contemplate your audience's perception of and access to your offering. They look to answer two very vital questions. How much is your target customer willing to pay for what you are selling, and where are they most likely to find it for the sake of buying it? Obviously, you want a return on your investment. However, that ROI must take into account how much value your audience places on your product or service. Worth is in the eyes of the beholder, and you are required to know what those eyes see. Once that price is locked and loaded, now you can make it available in the most convenient way possible.

That leads us to the final P of the mix—promotion. The fun part, right? This is where we get to message, position, and advertise the mess out of our product or service. Emails, social media, AdWords, retargeting, and more! Promotion is that moment we all anticipate when we hear the words marketing. It's the thrill of pushing our offerings and convincing our audience that they gotta have it!

And there you have it! Your marketing work is complete!

Yeah, right—if it was only that easy. Marketing has evolved and changed so drastically since the 1950s. We're not saying that Professor Borden's marketing mix is obsolete, but we are saying that it has to be viewed quite differently in today's market. Today, the job of forging and creating the product, price, and placement is usually housed and managed by business development teams (i.e., education development, product development, program development, etc.). Though these departments presently own a majority of the mix, their decisions and outcomes should be influenced by research, data, analytics, and insights provided by marketing.

Hear us out. External factors have lavishly altered marketing's role. We must keep our eyes on the prize if we are going to win the battle of acquisition and retention. Our present sphere freely delivers information into the hands of our target audience, and they are savvier than ever. Their requirements are heightened, and demands have intensified. So, although the four Ps have brought us this far, we must include a fifth to the mix and argue that all the others revolve around this one P.


It's the fifth and most significant P. It carries the entire marketing mix. Every decision that must be made to define and identify the product, price, placement, and promotion can not be done without the utmost and intricate understanding of the audience. They should have the loudest voice in the room. Yes, there is no hero like Marketing, but even her power can not supersede her audience's immense force embedded within their screams. They house the ability to emit a highly enhanced shout of high amplitude, better known as the Sonic Scream.

Though loud and bolsters through the atmosphere, it is only heard by ears positioned and postured to hear. The sound of the audience's voice is only received when listened for and to. It isn't meant for all to interpret. Only a select few will be ready for the blaring echo. For some, it sounds like noise. For others, it's a chiming melody tantalizing and soothing the soul.

Marketing prefers to be the latter. Combining the Sonic Scream of her audience with her incredible powers makes for one unstoppable and indisputable warrior. If you really want to put the P back in your punch, focus on PEOPLE first and let the other four Ps follow. Do that, and Marketing becomes invincible, annihilating every barrier that would try to keep your offering out of targeted hands!

Reach out to THuS Marketing to learn how you can ensure your marketing efforts revolve around the PEOPLE of your marketing mix!


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