Rewrite the Ps of marketing – The five Ps of marketing

Rewrite the Ps of marketing – The five Ps of marketing

The marketing mix - rewrite the Ps of marketing

The 4 Ps – Product, Price, Place and Promotion – of Marketing – time for a rewrite

Product, placement, price and promotion – these are the four Ps of marketing. The 4Ps of marketing, also known as the producer-oriented model, have been used by marketers around the world for decades.

The growing influence of the internet has made these classic principles look a bit archaic in light of the new relationship that businesses have with customers. In a day where customers seem to know everything about your business, the old marketing mix that the 4Ps offers is increasingly at odds with how business is done today. Has the time come to rewrite the Ps of marketing?

Rewrite the Ps of marketing - The marketing mix

Place – It’s not about place, it’s about any place

In an age where many businesses operate around always-on, high speed Internet access, “place” is irrelevant. When you can dip into almost the entirety of the world’s knowledge from the phone in your pocket, you’re always able to research, buy and advocate. It’s not about place any longer. Now, it’s about access.

The information consumers need before buying must now be available everywhere. Consumers bounce between what used to be well-defined channels while shopping and buying.

They research a product on their PC at home, head to a store to handle it, scan its barcode with their smartphone, and start reading reviews and checking competitors’ prices in the aisle. There are no more channels – there is only the omnichannel. The physical and digital worlds are now coming together. So it’s not about place; it’s about any place.

Promotion – From control to conversation

In the past, promotion consisted of brand-created messages, with every brand claiming its products were the best. But today, a brand is what consumers say about it.

Consumers can find opinions from real product owners online at any time, and no amount of marketing can cover up this first-person transparency. Instead of merely promoting a message, the most successful brands today get consumers to promote it for them by first delivering great experiences, then encouraging and enabling consumers to talk about them.

Price – From price to value

A brand is defined by every experience around it, not just by products. Absent alternatives, consumers have traditionally settled for products and brands that don’t fully meet their needs. But “good enough” products are no longer good enough, because consumers have more choice than ever before. In the transparency created by consumer usurpation of promotion, only truly valuable brands (as defined by consumers) can charge a premium.

Product – Focus on solution instead of product

Customers don’t care about product features or usability if a product fails to solve their problem. It’s not about the features you want your product to have, it’s about the problems that customers need to solve.

People – Two components to people

There are two components to People. The people who help you spread the word about the business. People who love your brand will introduce you to your new customers. 50% of advocates recommend a brand because they had a good experience with a product or service. Building strong and engaging relationships with your customers is key to the successful communication of your product or service offering.

And than there is your staff – engaged employees help make happy customers. While many studies show there is a direct correlation between a healthy, productive culture and a company’s bottom line, the majority of companies spend little time thinking, let alone doing anything about, this topic – even when they’re spending lots of time thinking about their four Ps.

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About The Author

Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement, development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and United Kingdom

Blog Comments

Hi Torben
Thanks for sharing. Love the Way you condense and clarify !

Thanks Kim


Great way to reframe the 4 P’s.

I have thought about them being behind the times and you do a wonderful job of modernizing them.

Thank you.

I think you are taking the four Ps too seriously: they are just a way of remembering the main elements of marketing that need to be considered! ACVS isn’t very memorable. So of course price=value and product =solution or benefits (it is a pretty standard rule of marketing to sell benefits not features). And promotion doesn’t always have to be a conversation, much as we digital people might like it to be (for a start you can’t have a conversation with millions of people if you are trying to sell washing powder!)

But I do think the addition of People is very valuable – because each of the 4 Ps is affected by the target audience, and there may be several different target audiences for any product.

Good article covering the necessities in today’s market. Business is still about serving the customer with value.

The four Ps are reflective of traditional marketing and therefore out of context in a digital marketing setting. Any business with an online presence and committed to effective customer engagement would be better advised to consider Petersen’s 4 Cs: “connection, choice, convenience and conversation” than thinking of ways to re-inventing the four Ps of traditional marketing.

I concur with your perspectives. As a psych and marketing major, my marketing mix consists of a 5th ‘p’ – psychology, and now I’ll add a 6th – people.

I’ve been using the 8Ps of 21st Century Brand Building ever since brands like I-pod and Google changed all the rules.

Here’s what I use after getting my clients to discover the obvious emotional truth that their brand should be based on.

I try to help my clients formulate these P’s because each of these can contribute to making the consumer the brand’s strongest medium:

Product Policy
Pricing Policy
Packaging Policy
Placement Policy
Purchase Experience (as well as Post Purchase Experience)
Promotion Policy (the more this is about listening, the better)
Prosumer Policy (Prosumers are people who recommend the brand without being paid to do so. They could be consumers or opinion leaders.)
Profit Policy (how the brand uses it’s revenue to make the world a better place)

Because it is about ‘Any Place’ it is also a matter of the right time to present your products or brands. If you refer to places like twitter and Facebook, there are certain hours in a day people wille read your text more carefully or notice you sooner.
I love the diagram btw, they make it visual that marketing is all about people, not brands.

I like how you showed us a condensed way of looking at the marketplace. The internet allows our products and services to solve the problems of people that we don’t know because there is information available on the web about what we do.
In your section about people this statement means a lot to me. “Building strong and engaging relationships with your customers is key to the successful communication of your product or service offering.” Online video is helping in the engagement process.


I have been practicing the 4 P’s since grad school and have always wondered why there aren’t six P’s. The Product, Place, Promotion, and Price are the basics but the other two seem to be lost. I agree People is the 5th P of marketing but what about the reason we are in business? My 6th P of marketing is Profit.

In this day and age, it has become a must to put the consumer at the heart of your operations. The tools that consumers have, allow them to make more well-informed decisions rather than being fed the information we as marketers (in training) want them to have. This is the birth place of consumer-centrism. So, from this article, I ask “Why has the 4 Ps not been transformed into the 5 Ps?” There is no separation of marketing and digital marketing, it is all marketing, and consumers must continually be the driving force behind not only why, but HOW organizations are ran.

Great article and great thinking!

I agree we should be more generally shifting marketing strategies from a top-down approach to a more conversational, agile approach to market, which I think is in line with your 5Ps approach. The issue we still face, as some of the comments highlight, is the 4P predominance with a focus on performance and profits. It supports our business, organisation, financial models. We’d need a trigger, perhaps a disruptive business model, that would showcase the benefits of 5Ps, not only for companies and shareholders, but also for markets, consumers, and their global environment. That’s a big task, but I believe there are interesting intents taking place already.

Definitely! While the fundamentals still have their place, the traditional “4Ps” do feel outdated. In terms of start-ups and small businesses, I think Partnerships, PR and Publishing (content/conversation/platforms – there’s another ‘p’) are really important. Great article, thanks Torben

Thanks Vivre

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