This is a post I have drafted several months ago, but didn’t complete until today.
Kotler’s famous Four P’s are so passé.
They belong in a past era of mass marketing of interchangeable consumer products, with dominating producers and uninformed consumers.
Today, with information overflowing and readily accessible for anyone, those days are gone.
Nowadays it’s not about selling. It’s about helping people to buy.
Kotler’s P’s need to be viewed from the buyers perspective. Here’s my take:
- From Product to Offering – we buy composites of products and services
- From Price to Value – the key is what the offering is worth to me the buyer, and I pay not only in money, but perhaps in waiting time or through other sacrifices
- From Place to Availability – it’s not only about where to buy, but how to buy and when. Is the sales process easy and self explanatory? Can I shop online or only physically between 11 and 18?
- From Promotion to Communication – shouting messages in any kind of megaphone won’t get you many customers nowadays. Engaging in dialogue, listening to your customers will, at least if you want them to come back.
The job of marketeers and sales people in combination is to help prospective buyers progress through this process as smoothly as possible – to help them buy.
- It all starts by the customer becoming aware of a need they have, possibly by you making them aware of it
- Next, they need to become aware of you and what you have to offer. You need to make it to their short list, to be eligible
- Once you’re eligible, you need to provide sufficient information and arguments for them to be able to make a decision in your favour
- Finally, they decide. Perhaps since you have managed to strike a chord with some key, well thought-out argument. But it doesn’t end there…
- You need to help them take action on their decision. If your store isn’t open when they have the time to buy, they may well go elsewhere. If your online shop is difficult to manoeuvre or the check-out is complicated, you might lose them too
- Finally, you had better live up to expectations, to deliver on your promises. If you do, they are likely to both progress much faster through the process when it’s time for renewal and they may even spread the word, introducing other customers to you with an initial, positive mind set