4 ps

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Every business needs a promotion, something to jump start revenue when things are slow. My go-to promotion for the last few years has been a “Free Day of Planning.”   I offer up my services for one day, free of charge.  Try before you buy.

I had an opportunity to do some strategy work on Heineken Light during one of these free days. In ideation, I came up with a very cool “idea” for activation; it was on target, on culture and had mad finesse.

Since moving to Asheville, I’ve been thinking anew about promotions. While the free day of planning tended to target agencies, the new promo will target marketers. I’m thinking of calling the new promo  the “Climb Around,” a reference to climbing all over the product from my B2B days. A 2-dayer, the Climb Around will have me on-premise observing various business practices; understanding the 4 Ps (product, price, promotion and place), while observing organizational structure, management and culture.  

What will make the Climb Around unique will be my quietude. With only 2 days, the time will be best spent watching and listening — much as if undertaken by a cultural anthropologist. Field workers only observe — they never should they insinuate themselves into the cultural tableau. It changes the dynamic.

Using my stock pot/boil down metaphor, the output of the Climb Around will be only three observations. Three for free.

Any Beta testers out there?

Peace.

 

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I read today about a hepatitis C drug that costs $1,000 per pill. It’s called Sovaldi. Don’t get me started on the paucity of pharma names – it seems they are all used up. Marketing consists of 4Ps: Product, Price, Place and Promotion — so I have a question for the marketing director of Sovaldi. Is this a niche product for the very rich? The rich who, by the way, don’t index high for Hep C?

There are three parties involved in this little health care rubric: the drug company, the patient and the insurance company. The drug company (Gilead) is giddy with its 1st quarter earnings. Record earnings. The patients are happy, I suppose, with a drug that presumably is better than what currently exists. And the insurance companies? They must be clearly wondering how this drug got through the FDA.

The pharma marketing director who set the price of Sovaldi must have used a formula to cover R&D, physician detailing, marketing etc., but s/he knew that insurance companies would foot the bill. Very few people can pay $1,000 for a pill.

So who is to blame for approving this non-viable, specialty product? Not to seem cold but someone along the chain must have known this drug price would be a little out of hand. They must also have known insurance companies would pay for it. In what marketing scenario does one price a product so high that nobody but a very few can afford it?  Entire families are going without healthcare in the ACA Age because of the price of one of these pills. Something is broken. And someone from the insurance industry needs to step up and fix it. Peace.

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Many moons ago there was a fairly famous advertising campaign that asked the question “What in the world isn’t chemical?” The question sticks with me and as a marketing consultant, and I often ask myself “What in the business world isn’t marketing?” 

In many companies, marketing is a silo. “Marketing is sales support,” some say. Well it’s that. To others, marketing is “material.” Things to distribute to customers, e.g., collateral, samples. That too. And these days marketing is heavy online – the web, social media, search and data collection. Yes, yes, yes and yes.

Best Buy is tanking.  Until May of this year, its CMO Barry Judge, was famous for his oft-quoted stance “customers own the brand.”  A big early proponent of social media, he advocated ceding control of the brand to customers.   And he was not alone in this belief; in fact, he created a lot of pop marketing fantasies. Though while spreading this nonsense, the rest of his marketing kingdom seemed unattended. 

Marketing is everything. Distribution (Amazon), pricing (Amazon, Wal-Mart), promotion (Target), and product (retail CRM, store experience, data).  I would never suggest listening to customers is a bad thing. It’s not. It’s called research. But customers do not own the brand. Marketing does. Not sales, not finance, not the product managers and certainly not customers.

Mr. Judge has learned an amazing lesson. As the center of gravity for the social media in marketing movement, I suspect no one has learned more about its effects on all the Ps (of marketing).  Now he needs to take that learning and share it with the rest of us.  I smell a book.  This is America and we are all about turn around stories. I’ll buy one. On Amazon. Peace!     

PS. Mr Judge, if you’d like to disabuse me of these observations, please weigh in.

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They used to teach the 4 Ps in marketing classes: product, price, place and promotion.  The web and venture capital money have made place and price less important. Having worked at a start-up company for two years whose monthly revenue was about $8, received in the form of Google Adwords credits, I know.    

But Apple…Apple clearly is gets all 4 Ps and therein lies its success.  Let’s look at the iPazzle.  Apple launched this new technology last year and priced it to move.  By all accounts, the first iPad should have cost $1,199, but it retailed at more than half that. The basic iPad 2 is $499.  Samsung and Moto can’t come close (without carrier discounts). Apple is reported to be making 25% profit on the current price structure, but I suspect it is way less.  They are not only buying market share, they are creating the market and doing so with the low price point. As for place (distribution) they have stores, so margins aren’t shared with  Best Buy. iMarketing? Enough said. And product? First is first and design is king.  Money and a big war chest begets R&D, talent and more money.

The 4P are still relevant today and that is why Apple kicks azz. Google doesn’t get all 4 of the P and  though kids love that brand, but they will be let down by it at some point. The 15-27 year olds who love free operating systems and free software are the same kids being asked to work at internships for $50 a week.  Hope they live close to the office. Were I a twenty-something, I’d make sure “my employer got me some Ps? Peas!

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