Forget Your Ps; Mind the Four Ms of Marketing
It’s All About Merchandise, Market, Media and Message
Fifty-six years ago, E. Jerome McCarthy conceived the 4Ps of marketing: Product, price, place and promotion.
Today, product is still the starting point for most marketing programs but the other three Ps are not particular helpful. Price would seem to be part of product. And Place and Promotion are fuzzy concepts.
Instead of the 4Ps, a marketing mix for the 21st century might include the 4Ms: merchandise, market, media and message.
Step 1: Merchandise
In the five decades since McCarthy first proposed the 4Ps, the concept of marketing has broadened to include many other things besides products: Services, people, ideas, movements, organizations, cities, states, countries and countless other conceptual ideas. All of which could benefit from marketing thinking and execution.
Instead of product, perhaps a better term to describe the identity to be marketed is merchandise, which could include almost anything.
So the first step in any marketing program is to identify your merchandise in great detail. Its name, its price, its competition, its size, its weight, its position in consumers’ minds.
Step 2: Market
One of the major reasons to use a marketing-mix approach is the order of the steps. As most marketing people would agree, Step 1 is a thorough study of the product, service, person or conceptual idea to be marketed.
Step 2 is to identify the market to be conquered. Yet too many marketing people skip this and quickly move to Step 4: Message.
Earlier this year Automotive News and Advertising Age recently reported on the story behind Nissan’s new advertising efforts. Christian Meunier, the new U.S. sales chief, criticized the Nissan brand as “vague” despite billions of dollars spent on ads.
So he locked a group of 35 to 40 marketing and advertising professionals from four agencies in a room for about two weeks to generate new ideas.
The idea they developed? Commercials that show how Nissan cars and trucks can help consumers overcome everyday challenges ranging from potholes and bad weather to running late in dropping children off at school.
The new campaign is called “Take on,” but still includes Nissan’s slogan, “Innovation that excites.”
But what’s the market for Nissan vehicles? A brand that includes sedans, sports cars, SUVs, vans, minivans, trucks and commercial vehicles. And, of course, electric cars. That’s typical thinking: Moving from Step 1 to Step 4 without first figuring out what the Step (2) Market should be.
Marketing is like warfare. No military general would attack on all fronts. Rather the point of attack is crucial to an army’s long-term success. And so it is in marketing.
Quite often a company needs to change its product line in order to zero in on a specific market. Subaru dropped all two-wheel-drive vehicles in order to focus on four-wheel drive.
Why is Starbucks so successful? (With domestic sales of $16 billion last year, Starbucks is second only to McDonald’s in restaurant revenues.)
You might assume that Starbucks is winning the coffee wars with better coffee. But that’s only part of the answer. Starbucks focused on the high-end coffee market, with a price to match and an environment that enhanced the high-end idea.
“Fourbucks,” a derogatory nickname used by many customers and prospects, only reinforced the position of the brand at the high end of the market.
As long as there is competition in the marketplace, you can’t effectively appeal to everybody like Nissan is trying to do. That’s not marketing. Step 2: Market is absolutely critical. Pick a segment of the market to appeal to.
Step 3: Media
The next most-important decision to make is media. And if you are launching a new brand, your obvious choice is PR.
That’s exactly how Howard Schultz built the Starbucks brand. “It is difficult to launch a product through consumer advertising,” said Schultz, “because customers don’t really pay attention as they did in the past.”
In its first 10 years, Starbucks spent just $10 million (total) on advertising. And the company didn’t launch its first TV campaign until 26 years after its founding.
Many marketing managers believe a campaign should spread its advertising resources over a range of media. I think that’s wrong.
Every medium has its advantages and disadvantages. For maximum efficiency, I believe a marketing campaign should focus on the one medium that works best for its product or service.
Five years ago, the average marketing department spent 38% of its advertising budget on TV. Last year, the average marketing department spent exactly the same percentage on TV, 38%.
Is the trend to digital a good trend or not? It depends on the product. No one medium is best for every product or service.
TV is best for mass-market brands, especially brands that can use product demonstrations to differentiate their brands from competition.
Print is best for luxury brands like watches and jewelry.
Radio is best for brands with a strong verbal message, especially if that message can be expressed in rhyme or alliteration.
The Internet is best for brands that have news value. For example, brands that pioneer new categories. Furthermore, brands launched on the Internet do best with video campaigns, not just type messages.
Step 4: Message
The marketing mix ends with the selection of the message. Hopefully, a singular idea expressed in one medium with one target market.
How often does that happen? Not very often. For four reasons.
Merchandise is a mixture of many products and services. Take the four leading automobile brands: Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota and Honda. They all make virtually all types of vehicles.
Market. When you make everything under one brand name, you have no target market to appeal to. You have to appeal to everybody.
Media. A broad line of products designed for everybody doesn’t lend itself to any specific medium. To cover a wide range of products requires a wide range of media. That’s woefully inefficient.
Message. No wonder the slogans of the four largest automobile brands are nothing but mush.
- Ford: “Go further.”
- Chevrolet: “Find new roads.”
- Toyota: “Let’s go places.”
- Honda: “The power of dreams.”
Last year, these four brands spent a total of $2.4 billion on advertising. Perhaps these four brands could use a little marketing-mix thinking.
There are free seminars
being put up by the SBDC this August. See below:
Small Business Focus
Current or potential small business owners will benefit from this five week seminar series designed to present concepts and best practices of owning, opening and operating a business. Register today for the entire series of seminars or individual classes that fit your needs. For more visit:
Social Media Marketing + What’s new on Facebook and what it means for your Business
August 6, 2015
Pasadena Community Education
3035 E. Foothill Blvd.,
Pasadena CA 91107.
Date: August 6 2015
Time: 1:00pm – 3:00pm
In this introductory session, we will review best practices, strategies, real world examples and offer ideas to show you how Social Media Marketing is a cost effective marketing tool. We will discuss: + What social media marketing really is and why use it
+ Introduction to social media channels and how to evaluate
+ what’s right for your business or organization + How small businesses are using these low-cost tools to gain visibility, develop relationships and drive sales and response
+ How to create valuable content for your social media marketing campaigns and time management + How to balance social media marketing with email marketing
and your other marketing efforts. Plus we will look at Facebook and how the game is changing for Business Pages REGISTRATION & MORE INFO,Click here
Presented by: MJ Finstrom & David Finstrom, HUTdogs
SBIR/STTR Intro Workshop August 11, 2015,
The Pasadena SBDC and TriTech SBDC are working together to bring you a complimentary workshop that provides a detailed overview of the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
Presented by: Molly B. Schmid, Ph.D., TriTech Senior Consultant and Martin Kleckner III, Ph.D., TriTech Senior Consultant
Location: Playa Vista
This event is for innovative companies who are or will be using virtual/augmented reality as part of their growth and delivery strategy. Funded tech companies interested in online learning, artificial intelligence, gaming and wearable technology. Also startups looking for mentors and guidance.
Importing and Exporting
August 20, 2015,
180To RSVP or for more information
please call (562) 860-5050
Everything you need to know about maximizing your profits. The topics included for this seminar are:
- How do I import and/or export?
- Learn how to expand your market
- Strategies for a global economy
- Access the resources you need to succeed
18025 Bloomfield Ave. Cerritos, CA 90703
Making the Next Step:
How to Grow Your Company
August 28, 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Most businesses plateau at different stages of development. Business owners looking to make the next step in growth will want to be aware of potential roadblocks holding them back: issues like legal compliance, accounting practices, or how business decisions are made. Learn about common impediments to growth and how to overcome them. This speaker engagement features Bixel advisor and friend, Douglas Korte. Visit the event site for more information.
LACI Cleantech Global Showcase
October 21-22, 2015
Location: Los Angeles
LACI’s Cleantech Global Showcase (GloSho) is an annual summit held in downtown Los Angeles where cleantech thought leaders and stakeholders from around the world meet to exchange ideas, facilitate trade and investment, and celebrate entrepreneurship and innovation. GloSho is the signature event of the Network for Global Innovation (NGIN) and furthers NGIN’s mission of opening world markets and connecting cleantech innovators wherever they reside.
Here’s the Money!
September 12, 2015
Location: Universal City
Join us in bringing education, resources, and business development opportunities to new, existing and
growing businesses throughout Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley & San Francisco.
At “Here’s the Money!”
Access to Capital Business Expo you will learn about the different sources for funding, how to grow your business capital, how to expand and/or improve your existing business, and much more!
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GROWING up in Miami in the 1990s, Carlos Escanilla was a lot more interested in hanging out with friends and playing music than in school. The son of immigrants from Chile, he slogged through high school with a C+ average and scored about 900 out of 1,600 on the SAT. “I was convinced I was going to be a famous rock star,” Mr. Escanilla, now 36, said.
When people talk about four-year colleges not being for everyone, the teenage Carlos Escanilla is the sort of student they have in mind. He seemed to be a much better fit for a job, a vocational program or a community college.