In my 38 years of practicing marketing and my 25 years of teaching it, I am amazed at the ineffectiveness of much of the marketing that is practiced. Of course, after thinking about why this might be, the reasons seem obvious. Most receive their marketing education from negative portrayals of marketing in movies and television or from professors that recycle the outdated concepts they have been taught using textbooks written by those that have little or no experience practicing marketing in the real world. In fact, there is a famous John Wannamaker quote in which he said, “Half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” One important reason why half of it doesn’t work is that most marketers learn the 4P’s of Marketing. In my view, the Marketing Periodic Table of Elements has 7 fundamental building blocks. This means that most marketers are missing some of the essential tools they need to create effective marketing.
The 4P’s of Marketing
I have taught for business schools at six different universities around the world — four in the US (USC, UCLA, CSUN, and Pepperdine) and two from Europe (Aalto University in Finland and the Copenhagen Business School). Most marketing professors I know teach the 4P’s of Marketing because this is what they learned when they went to school. The marketing they teach is stuck in the 1940’s when the 4P’s were invented. It is no wonder that too many marketers are unable to do effective branding, have trouble determining if their marketing strategies are working, and are finding it difficult to incorporate social media into their marketing strategies. The 4P’s, which include product, price, place (distribution) and promotion, are essential. However, there are 3 important fundamental concepts that are missing from this list – corporate image (P&G calls this projection to make it a P), positioning, and the marketing information system.
To do branding properly, it is critical to understand corporate image and positioning and how these two building blocks interact with each other in order to develop effective branding strategies. Furthermore, running a company without an effective marketing information system is similar to flying a plane or driving a car blindfolded and in handcuffs.
The Seven Building Blocks of Marketing.
I contend that to do marketing properly, marketers need to expand their fundamental elements to the following seven building blocks. I present them in the typical order in which they should be conceived.
- Marketing Information System. A system to research, monitor, collect, analyze, report, and take action on information from the marketplace. This system should be on 24/7, collect and report information in real time, and be able to distinguish legitimate information, or signal, from propaganda, or noise. The starting point for effective marketing is to research the market.
- Corporate Image. This is the image of the organization, division, or inventor that develops the products (goods and services) to be sold. Key CI strategies involve Creating, Protecting, and Enhancing this Image.
- Positioning. Positioning is comprised of two sub components that I call the lock and key. (1) Lock: Identifying the market segment with an unfilled need, and (2) Key: Creating an image of the product to fill that need better than competitors.
- Product. Products are goods and services you develop to meet the needs of your market targets and to achieve the goals of your marketing plan.
- Price. Price is the amount of money buyers are willing to pay and for which sellers are willing to sell their products. Once your product is defined, you can determine the cost to make and distribute it and use this information to devise your pricing strategy.
- Distribution (aka Place). Distribution is the process of making it convenient for market targets to find, buy and use your products. Organizations distribute products via well-defined channels that may or may not include resellers known as Distributors (Wholesalers) or Dealers (Retailers).
- Promotion. Promotion is the process of communicating the benefits of your “complete” product to the marketplace to generate a buying action. A complete product is one that incorporates elements of the other building blocks.
Good marketers use these building blocks (and their sub-components) to create marketing strategies to achieve the goals of their marketing plans.
Effectively using the 7 Building Blocks.
To create effective marketing that works, good marketers need to understand these building blocks and how they interact in the marketing mix much the same way that a good chef knows how ingredients interact to make customers happy.
Future posts will delve into more detail and apply these building blocks to creating effective marketing strategies that work to achieve the goals set forth in the marketing plan.
Ira Kalb is president of Kalb & Associates, an international consulting and training firm, and professor of marketing at the Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California (USC). He has won numerous awards for marketing and teaching, authored ten books and over 70 published articles, created marketing inventions that have made clients and students more successful. Various media frequently interview him for his expertise in branding, crisis management and strategic marketing. Follow him on Twitter.
image courtesy of Ira S. Kalb’s book Nuts & Bolts Marketing.