Kelly Odell posted a single-sheet marketing plan template, after being frustrated with the massive templates that others have promoted in the past. John Sviokla recently wrote about how the 4-P’s of marketing are changing to the 5-P’s of marketing. Marcus Ting-A-Kee found John’s essay and wrote about it yesterday. Guy Kawasaki suggested that Kelly adapt his template to John’s new approach. Kelly chose to mix the best of both worlds. We add our own spin at the end.
We’ll try and pull it all together here, starting with some background information.
Classical 4 P’s of Marketing
A quick overview of the 4 Ps can be found at this BBC ‘business school’ post.
- Product – What are we selling?
- Price – For how much will we sell the product?
- Place – From where do we sell (or distribute) the product?
- Promotion – What is the message?
As Markus points out, there is another key P:
- Positioning – How do we address the market with our product to compete effectively?
The Pragmatic P’s
Pragmatic Marketing has a fantastic seminar for product managers, and in it, they present a product-management spin on the 4 P’s. A key strategic element of product management is understanding the market problem that a product is intended to address. Pragmatic Marketing adds a first P of “Problem”, which every product manager should focus on first. Understanding the problem helps us understand why we’re building a product in the first place.
Sviolka’s New-Age P’s
John offers us the following new Ps:
- Presence [replacing place] – Is our product visible wherever and whenever someone decides to buy?
- Persuasion [replacing promotion] – Social networking is driving sales these days. Promotion looks like spam in this medium.
- Preference [replacing positioning] – Using technology to compete with nuanced adjustments to the product.
- Price (dynamic) [replacing static] – Think coupons versus price-cuts to understand the concept. Different prices for different people.
- Personalization [replacing product] – John argues that the future of ‘value creation’ will not be about products and services, but an abstract concept of meeting the needs of individuals directly.
What makes Odell’s combination great is that it keeps the product focus of today, and updates it with the new realities of selling products. You can download his template thru the link in his article (or we’ve linked to it here).
- Product – Absolutely need to keep this. Product is the tangible something we sell.
- Presence – Presence is the perfect replacement for place in today’s multi-channel 24/7 connected world.
- Persuasion – From the idea-virus to the A-listers, this is a great update.
- Preference – Positioning is still relevant. Customization isn’t positioning, its a feature or an efficiency. We would pull this one.
- Price – Pricing is still pricing. Static/Dynamic is just an implementation approach.
Preference can be applied in one of two ways. First, we can use a mass-customization approach to creating our products. This is essentially positioning with hundreds of positions. While we may improve the targeting of individuals, we risk confusing them by presenting too many choices. Choice is good. Choosing is hard. Strike a balance with a good positioning strategy, but don’t overdo it. Second, we can build products that allow users to customize it to do exactly what they want. The problem is that not everyone wants those features. When we offer ten flavors of a feature, each person will be thrilled with one, and uninterested in the other nine. This can overwhelm users, detracting from the appeal of the product.
- Product should be the first bullet. Sequence matters, and product is critical. The what/why/when/how/who columns in Odell’s template capture the problem information. We agree with Pragmatic Marketing that this is essential information
- Persuasion should be the second bullet. Today’s marketing is personal and interactive. Broadcasting is less effective than a conversation.
- Presence is the next element. With all of the mediums by which the message can get out, and all of the ways that customers can find us or our competitors, presence is key. See Aner Ravon’s piece for some execution ideas.
- Positioning is still more important than preference.
- Price is the final element. A price that is too low risks devaluing the product in the customer’s eyes. Too high of a price may dissuade buyers before they consider the value. Reuben Swartz has a blog focused on pricing, where he touches on many pricing issues.