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July 20, 2011


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I just finished reading a portion of your book (The New Rules of Marketing and PR) that covered this topic. I completely agree with your point here, mainly because the Four Ps (which have already been covered in 2 of my college classes so far) assume that the goal of marketing on the web is to drive consumers to a purchase, while I agree with you that being on the web is more about building a relationship with potential customers and educating them through Thought Leadership so that they will eventually make a purchase when they need to!

Brandi Starr

I completely agree, although I do think the traditional 4P’s have their place in developing a marketing strategy with the web being such a heavy part of a strong marketing strategy relying solely on old tactics will, as you stated, lead to failure.

I won’t attempt to redefine the 4Ps of today but I think you hit on something in regards to “Problems”. I tell people all the time, you aren’t selling a product you are selling a solution to a problem. Customers have a pain point and the product or a service is merely a way to alleviate or eliminate that pain point.

I think when businesses start to market themselves as a “solution” and not a product/service they connect easier with their target market and in turn make more sales. Great post!

Renee Massauro

Great article. It's definitely a different world today and the 4 P's do not fit in. It's definitely about creating informative content that helps your customer decide if you are credible or someone they can trust. When I first started my business I thought the more I posted about the business the better. I learned very quickly this gets you no where. As always, thank you for your sharing great information!

Eufémia Santos

Great post David! I really like people who're not afraid to say the truth even if everybody knows it but nobody verbalize it cause it's too painful! Thxs for the courage to say it! ;)

The 4 P's along with part of traditional marketing are not suitable for the Web! Nevertheless I would prefer to substitute them by: understanding your audience; creating a true community spirit; engaging with them; and creating/adding a great value for them. Missing the P's, I know, but having 4 good starters to a web strategy that can really work.

Thxs David for being always so acute with your posts and comments.

Eufémia Santos

David Meerman Scott

J_Mignano - I had it in the book but had never blogged it in this way. Thanks for reading.

Brandi - I do agree that from the perspective of strategy, the Ps can still inform. But they don't work as a way to think about Web marketing.

Renee -- good for you to make that switch. Congrats on your success.


To me, this doens't ring true. I think all of this matters, but needs to be understood in a new context. In b2b, that new context is the cloud. I've written extensively about this, see my article here: http://cloudcomputing.sys-con.com/node/1909372
The article is entitled, the 4th C, How the Cloud Changes Everything in B2B Marketing


The new 4Ps: Posting, Plus Oneing, Publishing, and Poking.

But seriously, I think the real 4Ps still have their place in an overall marketing strategy. While you may not go through each P, it is good to be thinking "How do I want my target market to view my product?" "Where can I best create conversations and build relationships with brand advocates?", etc. Of course all of those discussions of the real 4Ps should take place within the context of the new relationship marketing era that we find ourselves in. Don't completely discard the 4Ps, just adapt them to a more social setting.


David Meerman Scott

Lawson -- Good one! Love the new Ps. Thanks.

Jeremy VIctor


I don't know, I think if you changed the lens a bit on how you are viewing the 4 P's they still are critical components of marketing. May be if you shared your definition of "web marketing" that would help me.

For instance with "Product"- if you are as a marketer today thinking and caring about who, how, and why your product is used, and not the actually product itself, then your good.

I could go on with the other three, (maybe I do it in a post of my own) but the point is that the terms still work, the definitions need to evolve. Just like all of us do as marketers.

Steve Robins

Great post David! The problem with the 4 P's is that they're all about the vendor and what the vendor wants, rather than being about the customer and what they need.

A while ago, I came across the SIVA model that I've used and have written on extensively, starting with http://solutionmarketingblog.com/2009/02/27/fixing-the-mix/. I modified it as SEVA:
Solution (instead of Price)
Education & Engagement (instead of Promotion)
Value (instead of Price)
Access (instead of Place)

Following are definitions as they apply to software/SaaS:

SOLUTION - Whatever it takes to solve the customer’s problem. The solution might include your product, as well as partners’ products, solution frameworks, integration tools and services, strategic and technical services, solution training, solution-level support and more.

EDUCATION & ENGAGEMENT – The process of sharing information, engaging in a 2-way dialog and educating the market on your solution. Rather than trying to force suspects to see your message, you’ll enable them to find information later on when they have a real problem to solve.

VALUE – A more inclusive equation that takes into account the benefit that the customer will achieve minus the TCO or total cost (e.g., product price plus the cost of service, ongoing maintenance etc) of the solution. Benefit – total cost = value.

ACCESS - The ability for the customer to acquire your solution when and how they want. For example, software companies might have both SaaS and on-premise offerings.

David Meerman Scott

Jeremy - I see marketing on the web as creating valuable information that educates, informs, and entertains, and that people are eager to share. For me, the Ps get in the way of this.

I'd love to hear your take in a post. Thanks for jumping in.


David, this is a very thought-provoking post. I think what you are trying to point out is an or shift in thinking with regard to both marketing strategy and execution. While I do think there is a lot of relevance to web marketing, your points apply more broadly to marketing in general, regardless of the "place."

Product/Price - I agree with Steve that today's marketer should be focused on offering Value. However, I would replace Product and Price together with Value, not just Price. I have heard some offer a fifth P: Problems, referring to customer service. I would assert that this is a part of the Product or the Value.

Promotion - I think it's reasonable to replace this one with People, but I don't mean something different than Steve's Education and Engagement. It just adheres to the tradition if "Ps".

Place - This one was always a stretch, just to fit the device. I do like Access. It implies a self-service element that was less prominent in the sixties. It also implies the ability to select the features you want and upgrade according to need.

Very relevant and smart discussion, folks. Steve Robins, I will definitely be checking out your blog, as well.


Sorry...iPad fat fingers. First sentence should read "a shift in our thinking."

Adele Revella

The problem is the way the 4P's are taught -- too many people conclude that they are a complete way to define the marketing strategy. I can remember when that was true, but it was a long time ago.

I'm not going to say that the 4P's are irrelevant -- but we definitely need a different attitude about their place in our planning. So much more is required.

We need a completely new framework for marketing strategy that matches the company's goals to the way newly informed buyers navigate their decision process.

For me the key question is how to make that framework as pervasive and simple as possible. I'm seeing far too much confusion as consultants and authors jockey to define the terminology. Who cares if we describe the "buyer journey" the "buying process", or the "decision process"?

With your following David, maybe you can help the marketing community sort this out.


The 4 P's are still germane today; perhaps more than ever. It is not really fair to apply the 4 P's to a web site. The web site is only one aspect of the second P, 'Promotion'. The 4 P's are the fundamental points of a total marketing strategy. In many discussions, "marketing" is used interchangeably with "promotion" which is shortchanging the practice of "marketing".

One could rename the 4 P's, or have fun with other words that start with 'P', but no matter what you name them, a go-to-market strategy requires a product (something people will exchange currency for), promotion (you have to tell people about what you want them to buy; yes it includes the web and tradeshows), price (a very important piece of the strategy if you want to make a profit) and place (which refers to where or how you want to distribute the product).

Ignoring any one of the 4 P's will put you out of business or prevent your business from starting.

Great provocative post, for some reason the 4 P's evokes a lot of good conversation.


David, the most important P missing from the traditional mix is "PEOPLE" :)

David Meerman Scott

Steve - you're absolutely right that the Ps are egotistical. You've got some good ideas to get out of the me me me approach.

Digology - As I read your second comment, I wondered is iPad a "P"?

Adele & Bruce - indeed this post ignited some very interesting conversation here and on ,y Facebook and Google+ pages as well. Something is out of whack if this many people care enough to add to what I said.

OMZen - People! No doubt.


I agree with David Meerman Scott and Steve Robins of Solution Marketing Blog. Indeed, Top Social Media Consumers are way too savvy to fall for repetitious Traditional Marketing tactics online.

Quote me on this, "If your offering fails to solve (a problem) or evolve (their positioning), Top Social Media Consumers will not get involved."

Stay tuned into The Light.

Voncelle Volté

T. Reding

Great article David! I have to add a response to Bruce and say the four P's seem to be a very limiting paradigm. The items you list are certainly important; but to classify a web strategy as "promotion" seems far too narrow. The customer exchange is more complex today... far more value-centered and based on good business, good relationships and a quality exchange. The idea of "product", "price", "place" etc. seems to be an antiquated view of today's business model. Before I make a purchase, I can interact with the seller on so many levels, as well as interact with other buyers and non-buyers to share feedback and form my buying decision. The framework for going-to-market needs to evolve into a multi-dimensional, value-centered model.

Thanks for sharing!

TRed @ Spindustry


I'm just thinking whether it is really about 4Ps and not about the USP. If I understood well and by using different words, some of you, including David, wrote that the web marketing should focus to solve real customers problem by education, entertainment and info. So customers could find the solution for their problems/requests easier and faster. Based on my experiences there are more and more companies which don't care about 4Ps and just dealing with one or two Ps in their marketing strategies because they don't see the added value in this model, probably it's outdated :-). As Adele wrote and I agree, we need a different attitude about the place for 4Ps in our planning.
What do you think about it?

P.S.: I really like the article, your comments and especially the SEVA model, it's great Steve and thanks for sharing it.

Neil Edwards

Ah, I see Bruce has got to my point first.

Your analysis is fun David, but it (deliberately) misinterprets the direction provided by the 4p's. The web has revolutionised our lives, but it doesn't invalidate the fundamentals of marketing. The intelligent marketer will simply apply the models to the new world.

I am reminded of McKinseys attack on AIDA! http://www.themarketingeye.com/blog/marketing-discipline/leave-auntie-aida-alone-understanding-consumer-buying-behaviour.html


Some people are teaching SIVA nowadays (Solution, Information, Value Access) instead of the 4 P's. - and for others it appears SEVA.

Personally I think most acronyms are a load of rubbish (no offence Steve or anyone else if you live by them) and things which really aren't practical or utilised in the marketplace. Sure I guess it is a great way though to reinforce core principles of marketing into first year uni students.

My favourite was a recent article on using twitter for events. I agreed with the pre-event, event and post-event approach to a successful campaign (http://t.co/GoXdX4j) but not so much this: "I believe you should use the three F’s — fun, feedback and flexibility."

The problem with acronyms is anyone can make them up and it is just their own personal way of changing things. I think people should never forget ARTIWYF (always remember to interact with your fans/followers)


A bit harsh on the interpretation, David. Well, the translation, anyway.

Successful marketers know that 'product' needs to be communicated with relevant benefits for the user. Unsuccessful marketers will push messages about features and bore the shit out of everyone.

As for promotion, successful marketers know that it's a process of asking questions, gathering information, and offering relevant, valuable responses. In the early stages, it's about the needs, wants, expectations and perceptions of the individual - later, if appropriate, it's about solutions to problems, needs and/or wants.

As for price and place, successful marketers understand that it's value and ease of access. They don't pimp "50% off" every day so customers question quality and are trained to wait for the next 'drop your pants' special. They focus on solutions to problems such as saving time or fast, easy access to the solution you need.

OK, off my soapbox. And in all honesty, a great post because you cut through the clutter, grabbed my attention and interest, and motivated me to rant. ;)

Thanks! Pat

Phil Dunn

Nice balance of comments here. There's room for both views - David's and the 4 P's.

Product/People are always the key (trust, like, utility, etc). If your product and team aren't good, I don't care where you are, what you say, or how much you charge.

Look at Gary Vaynerchuk - he's a good product/personal brand, so he gets lots of social traction. Same for DM Scott, Chris Brogan, Mini Cooper, Freshbooks, Jones Soda, et al.

Steve Johnson

Sadly, i think the new 'P' is really Prayer. We created a product that people ought to want and priced it at whatever our CFO thought was right, and now we're praying that we'll sell some units.


Your advice is timeless. Buyers could not care less about you or your products. They care only about themselves and their problems. They don't need the seller. So sellers must EARN TRUST today.

Jeff Ogden
Find New Customers

Colin Warwick

I never bought into the 4P's even before this new fangled interweb thingy. I agree with Guy Kawasaki (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3755718939216161559 about 20 minutes in) that there are only two dimensions to marketing: 1) Do people value what your are offering? 2) Is what you are offering unique, so you don't have to compete on price alone? If you can answer yes to those two questions, everything else is easy.

Don Walsh

Great discussion within this thread. For a slightly different take, knowledge of the 4P's has actually proven problematic in trying to adopt a digital roadmap / web strategy. Too much effort is spent on trying to create a strategy out of a text book definition, and not enough on the real world.

The reality as I see it: Through social media and online marketing, we have taken an leap forward in how we communicate and interact. Wouldn't it make sense that the model used to market to potential customers in that environment should also take a similar leap forward? At the very least, how can a web site only exist as part of the Promotion when it (or specifically the technology they're based on) is now the standard communication protocol?

I focus on this: Solve problems, publish content, provide value.


I wrote about this on my blog (http://changememe.com/2009/06/01/the-4-ps-of-internet-marketing/) a while ago, more in the context of a physical product that you are selling online.

I think the 4 P's still apply, but have to be re-thought for the online world we live in. Companies, even big reluctant ones, are realising that the first time your potential customer meets you is online and they need a whole new plan for that.

Of course it may be true that it's easier to come up with a new model than to re-think and re-learn an old one.


I disagree David! The 4Ps still have a place if you're benchmarking how digital channels compare to your traditional channels - how does pricing, product range differ and to online competitors.

That said, I like what your're saying and how you say it. How will digimedia transform my brand, how can I offer new forms of digital value to customers is a bigger question.

I think the 4Ps work better if they're turned into the 4Cs as they were way back in 1990!

• Customer needs and wants (from the product);
• Cost to the customer (price);
• Convenience (relative to place);
• Communication (promotion).

Finally, in our Emarketing Excellence book, my co-author PR Smith recommends thinking about "Partnerships" as an Eighth P on the traditional 7Ps. Understanding influencers is key online, but it's just part of Promotion isn't it?!

Felix Wetzel

The 4Ps don't exist anymore and haven't for a long time. They have been replaced with the 4Cs (see comment above). Therefore this entire debate is based on an outdated theory.

James Gurd

Morning all,

Interesting debate going on and to me it just comes down to semantics. I'm with Dave and others that the 4Ps are still alive and well, just that they're not being applied in the traditional way in which they were originally conceived.

To say that nobody cares about your product is an inaccurate sweeping statement. Take Apple as an example, the love for Apple is almost obsessional; what the company has to say about its new products when they launch has a huge influence on the market place.I have friends who are almost obsessional in their following of the Apple machine. Then look at expert reviews which are used both on retailers websites and on independent content sites; I've seen the impact via data analysis. Some people want companies to give them the good news on products, some will even consume every last technical detail you can throw at them; especially true in B2B industries like tech services.

As search still dominates as a traffic source, keyword targeting is important. Intelligent keyword research will reveal the trending search terms relevant to your products as well as wider subject areas you can tackle via content marketing. Therefore, the information you produce on your product goes a long way to influencing how visible you are in search results. The long tail of search is reliant upon product specific information. Yes content should be written to appeal to customers and not read like a robotic keyword list but that doesn't preclude a focus on product, it just requires a more lateral understanding of what adds value to customers. Writing product content that has a focus on the value of the product to customers is still a focus on product.

I would argue that your product and how you position it can be one of your key competitive strengths. Passion for your product can be infectious (fashion retail is a great example), the challenge is to know how to appeal to your customers which demands learning because you can't get it right first time.

This ties nicely into promotion. You have to promote your brand and products/services, whether you are a new or existing company. How you promote and the subtlety of influencing communities via sharing & social tools requires a different mentality to the old school brand push but it still requires promotion. Any activity that distributes content is part of promotion.

So I don't agree that the 4Ps are obsolete; for me they have evolved and there are new techniques for digital, new distribution channels that require a mindset shift from the days of push marketing to a more interactive, engaging relationship with customers.


Barry Harvey

Excellent article. I too am in the middle of 'The new rules..' on the back of 'Duct Tape...' and 'Permission Marketing' none of which need introduction from me, I'm sure. And there are new rules and new ways to think about how we engage.

Internally, though, as a way to order your research and coordinate strategy, I think the 4P's have a place in corporate and marketing strategy. A business has to understand how it's product/service is produced and delivered as well as it's relevance to the market in order to ensure viability.

The difference comes in how we then communicate and, yes, online marketing has created a sea change in how we approach the conversation with the consumer - although arguably people like David Ogilvy and Drayton Bird had already started this by the 70's.

The difference between people on LinkedIn, say, asking provocative questions and giving interesting answers and those who just use the discussion as a (not always even thinly vieled) sales pitch is obvious and immediate.

However, to know your customers, you need a structured approach. I don't know how modern educational texts create this, but McDonald refers to them as part of the marketing audit and I think the CIM still do. Maybe I am too long in the tooth, but they still seem relevant to me.

Nevertheles, thank you for a thought provoking article.


Hi James, yes think everyone is in violent agreement here and it is the semantics. In my Internet Marketing Book we have a whole chapter on the 7Ps since it's a useful framework to think "how do we remix the mix" - asking what is the relevance of the 7Ps for online channels. But equally that chapter covers the value and emotional appeal your online brand can offer. Developing a brand personality online is key now and that's something that isn't suggested at all by the Ps. Anyone who hasn't read http://www.personalitynotincluded.com - strongly recommend that!

Barbara Grace

Phooey! The only real thing missing from this debate is Proper People!!! You know, the reason we're all into marketing. Come on, where's the relationship building, the connectivity, the communication, the getting to know your audience - the whole hoo-ha about community engagement. Seems to me (cause I often get it wrong myself and get bogged down in strategy) that without the people, we only have Puffery - now that's another P. Love a great discourse. Thanks for the challenge. Barbara

David Meerman Scott

With 35 comments in less than a day, this is one of my more popular posts. Thank you all very much for taking the time to jump in. It is so cool to hear all the opinions on this topic!

@patmcgraw - I'm not sure I agree with "Successful marketers know that 'product' needs to be communicated with relevant benefits for the user." As just one example, this blog serves as one form of my marketing - however I almost never talk about my "products" which are my books and my keynote speeches. Yet, I have sold many hundreds of thousands of books and have 300 paid speaking gigs in the last few years.

Steve - "Prayer" -- Absolutely - in reality at many companies I see that is true!

DaveChaffey - Always fun to disagree. In my opinion, Ps, Cs, and whatever box marketers into doing the wrong thing on the web.

James -- Regarding Apple. People may like that owning an Apple makes them cool. Or that an Apple is easier to use. Or it has beautiful design. Or that it can be fixed by the geeks at the genius bar. But it is not really the product itself.

Barry - with due respect to what David Ogilvy did in the old days, I can't see him being much of a success in today's world.

Barbara -- "Phooey" is a terrific "P". Thanks!

Paul Simister

I've made fun of the 4Ps in the past and come up with the 27 Ps of marketing to put over the full remit of marketing.

I completely agree that the 4Ps is very much an internal perspective which appears to be the opposite of what the marketing concept is about.

But it can be useful to go back to the traditional Ps to make sure that what you;re selling is properly grounded.


4P's? personally preventing peoples problems


5 P's? People, Planet, Profit with Passion and Purpose.

Kevin Cesarz

I see now that coming from a non-marketing background is actually an advantage in that I don't have to unlearn the 'Four Ps.'

Greg de Lima

I myself have written about this, but I can't help to think that the 4 P's are almost a standard. If you think of them as strictly what they stand for then you end up with a limited scope and point of view. I'd like to think that when you adapt these four P's to web marketing you do find the way the work well together.

I think the intention of what you're writing is absolutely true, there is a shift in mentality and there needs to be something done about it.
Thanks for the good post, dude.

Joe Cannon

Hi David,

I spent the last couple hours crafting a long response to your post. Unfortunately your blog wouldn't let me post it here -- I assume because of its length. So for anyone with time on their hands, I have posted a reply "Defending the 4 Ps of marketing on the web." (http://teachthe4ps.com/?p=2786).

If anyone has the time and inclination, perhaps you will find my perspective useful.

Daniel Yonts

The habit of discounting marketing concepts has produced little in terms of results. Don't get me wrong...I appreciate competitors who adopt this position and others (like you can't build brands online, advertising doesn't matter, etc). It makes things easy for me. My costs are lower, I'm able to reach more folks, convert more folks and enjoy a warm feeling of professional security.

Indeed, for all my competitors -- please, ignore channels of distribution (place), price competitiveness, promotional messaging, and your product in relation to online markets.

Most business aren't failing because they know and apply marketing concepts. They are failing because they don't know and don't apply marketing concepts.

Joseph Ratliff

The 4 P's of Online Marketing?

Platform and sharing tools selection
Producing and sharing valuable content
Providing discussion and gathering feedback
Presenting solutions

I think the web makes an excellent delivery device for discussion and sharing, as well as presentation and ...well ... delivery.


What a powerful post it is very TRUE and I totally agree with you David. People should learn from this. Thanks for sharing.

Lacey, Social Media Manager for C.A Advertising Solutions

I agree--the 4 P's are still important as part of an overall marketing strategy, but not as the focus of web/social media marketing. That should, in my opinion, be more about informing and connecting with people.

David Meerman Scott

Joe -- sorry about that. I didn't know there was a limitation on word count...

Greg & Daniel. I do believe in marketing strategy. However, in my experience, when everyone thinks something (like the 4Ps) is a standard, than that opens up room for someone to do things better. Web Portals > Google. CDs > iTunes.

Daniel Yonts


Google created a better "place" and "product" for an intention-based marketplace -- and the same could be said for iTunes and web portals in relation to their markets. None of these companies can credit their success to ignoring the 4Ps. Many, however, can credit their failure to ignoring what they offer, when, where, to whom and for how much. Yahoo lost because Google owns that "place" in the consumers mind called "search".

I don't disagree that folks need to think beyond established business concepts. I'd only argue that you can just as easily be inspired to something better by knowing these concepts. The 4Ps don't dictate anything or require some sorta non-creative formula to calculate ideas. Sometimes, marketing concepts provide important points to consider in the creative, analytic and business process.


As long as we are talking of the four P's perhaps we should ask if "Venue" has any meaning on the internet.

Web 2.0 seems to dominate many discussions, so shall we produce and provide products for promotion through social media, or static web pages?

Does the venue actually determine the rest of the marketing model we use?

And, has technology actually changed the way we communicate as buyers and sellers?

A little less than 100 years ago, many buyers and sellers met as friends within their shops, others were more distant in their interpersonal relatedness.

Both styles did well.

Both styles will continue to do well with technology.

Product has always meant benefits for the consumer
Place has always meant where buyer and seller comes together
it is not just on-line or off-line, but Google Places for the combination.
Price has always referred to the value of the offer
Promotion has always changed its shape with differing technologies.

Marketing has always been about people (not simply the target market).

The marketing cycle, itself, has not changed much, just the technology we use to employ it.

Perhaps that indicates we should change the language we use to describe it, for since the whole marketing cycle is actually about people, and what they want, need and desire, then we must use words that transcend any given technology.

New York Birthday

It was so refreshing to see someone write about this subject. It seems as if business schools and marketing books consistently refer to the "4 P's" as if they were the Rosetta Stone, and the key to all success. They are important, but the world has changed. Thanks for the article.

Mary Ellen Miller

David, I actually took the opposite stance in a post I originally penned two years ago; How the Four P's of Marketing Apply in a Social Media World. Your thoughts? http://www.marketingmel.com/2010/10/21/how-the-4-ps-of-marketing-apply-in-a-social-media-world/

Chris Haughey

I think that you should stick to what you do best, writing about things of which you have absolutely no experience. If what you want to do is entertain people, then go to Vegas or Reno. Don't play off your fodder as being applicable.

Demeaning women as "trade-show dollies" from someone who wants everyone to FOCUS on flash and no content, I guess, makes you a living contradiction.

The most comedic part of your entertaining satire comes right near the end where you state "Place and price imply that all that matters in creating content on the web is driving people to purchase." You are such a moron. THE WHOLE PURPOSE OF BUSINESS IS TO MAKE M-O-N-E-Y. You care enough about your customer to take their money and make sure that you deliver on your promises. The idea that you want to have a "relationship with your customer" is just plain creepy.

The reason why the 4Ps STILL apply and will be successful is because they are grounded. Believe it or not, probably no one has every explained it to you, the web is a channel. Hmmm Doesn't that fall into one of the 4 categories? Gee. I think so.


Let's not forget that especially for large corporations, the web isn't everything. It is just a tool.
So, the 4 p's do not apply online, but they definitely apply offline, in their new customer focused form of the 4'c.

jason @ internet marketing

There is a British phrase "Taking the P..." Thankfully this isn't attached to your article which I found very true and relevant.

The only trouble is I am now thinking of replacements for all the Ps - and it's driving me MAD!

Brendan Ziolo

Hi David,

Once again, great post. Agree with your points, especially the ones about creating content that helps educate your audience rather than running advertising campaigns about your product.

The issue is that the 4 Ps of marketing are too limiting and outdated to be the only aspect of your marketing strategy. Any marketing plan that only addresses product, place, price and promotion is doomed to failure today.

However, product, place and price are still concepts that need to be addressed as one piece of your plan. Promotion is the one that has changed or should be removed more than the others. Most importantly though, your marketing strategy is a lot more than the 4 Ps.

Right now I'm working on a blog series about other fundamentals of marketing to see which other ones have changed, should be ignored, or which ones still need to be a key part of your strategy? I'd love any input.

Account Deleted

Hi, David,

Your post actually provoked me to buy and read your book and respond on my own blog. http://wp.me/pl9cc-33

I think you are taking a rather partial interpretation, and throwing a useful device out with bathwater of its prevalent misuse. To quote myself,

First, the 4Ps were always more of a mnemonic tool to understand how to structure and approach marketing, than actual prescriptions for conduct, and as such, they serve the same function in the online environment as in the 1960s markets.

Second, the beauty of concepts is that their content or definition is very user and context specific. Right, justice, morality, love and many other concepts have given rise to sophisticated philosophical constructs that are widely different, although the concept debated is the same.

I propose that that the 4Ps are similar: useful concepts that structure our experience and direct our actions. The mistake is not in the idea of having a concept, or the concepts themselves, but in how they are defined.

So, yes, I agree that we must question our interpretation of the 4 Ps in light of the changes in the marketing environment, but we should not dismiss them out of hand.

Anyway, thank you for opening my eyes to your truly useful book, and spurring my creativity for my own posts. You've won a new reader for sure.


@chris haughey I dunno I don't think I'd say he doesn't know what he's talking about. While it might be true that David isn't maximizing his potential revenue, you cant say the dude doesnt make his bread...his book is sitting next to me. Is yours?

David Meerman Scott

Thanks, @IanSharer for jumping in to my defense here.

@Chris Haughey - I would violently disagree that making money is the whole purpose. If that were the case, then you should be a cocaine dealer and forget about commenting on blogs because you can make more that way.

For me and millions of others, I love my work. I absolutely enjoy writing and travelling the world speaking http://www.davidmeermanscott.com/engagements.htm and engaging with people (such as on this blog). It doesn't feel like work because for me it is pure joy.

And yes, as @Ian suggests, I am doing quite well for myself, thank you.

Web Development

What a great post it is very accurate and I completely agree with you. People should study from this. Thanks for sharing.

David Esslemont

I shook hands with Barack Obama at the Town Hall in Decorah on Monday - I was thrilled, and to be honest very excited at the prospect of meeting him, let alone listening to what he had to say!

And, your post and the comments (in particular "Phooey" from Barbara Grace) are interesting, and entertaining. I would like to add the following observation and pose a question: bringing the President to a small rural community in northeast Iowa seems to me to be an excellent example of a new marketing strategies at work. Engage the community, talk to them, listen to them and inspire them to viral activity via Facebook and Twitter. Do you know who is leading the Whitehouse marketing team?

Your post could not be more timely, having just posted "Marketing and selling your art online" on my own blog, espousing the 4 Ps (people instead of promotion), and citing AIDA. I will now have to address SIVA and SEVA and will explore your suggestion that EIE is now the way to go, at least on the Web. Thank you.

David Meerman Scott

David - that's awesome. I saw the President speak once, but did not meet him.

I don't know anything about their online marketing team. I did like the recent Twitter town hall.

Keep up the great work!

Barry Harvey

I realise this is a late addition - lost thread of this. In response to your comment David, I think Ogilvy and Bird were part of the movement that started relationship marketing and not only would they understand todays media, but would thrive on it.


I would disagree. I've found the Four P's to be an integral part of online marketing strategy. Check out this recent post: http://www.brafton.com/blog/the-four-ps-of-marketing-to-win-leads-through-website-content for an interesting overview.

Jason Rogers

@Jason The P's can replaced with C's. Here is an experpt from a marketing plan I wrote last year:

The Four P's concept is explained in most marketing textbooks and classes and the type of marketing mix you will most likely see in a business plan today. The term was coined in 1948 by James Culliton, and describes the role of the marketing manager as a "mixer of ingredients", who sometimes follows recipes prepared by others, sometimes prepares his own recipe as he goes along, sometimes adapts a recipe from immediately available ingredients, and at other times invents new ingredients no one else has tried.

6.4.1 The “four Cs”
The times have changed since 1948 and so has the marketing landscape. Due mostly to the advent of the internet, modern marketing techniques require a more consumer oriented approach. Products are more readily available than they were 60 years ago and industries need to cater more to the consumer as opposed to just being “in the right place at the right time”. MBT finds it more appropriate to use a more modern adaptation – the Four Cs.

6.4.2 Consumer Value (product)
MBT does not offer just a product. We offer a solution to a growing number of various needs that exist around the world. Mobile Biofuel Refineries™ are industrial grade refining solutions that also happen to be mobile. The fact that they are mobile carries many benefits; here are a few: Mobile refineries can be moved from plantation to plantation or business to business. The ability for a community, business, farmer or co-op to setup a refinery without spending millions of dollars on infrastructure. The luxury of producing biodiesel at a lower cost than going to pump. Farmers in emerging markets can sell a finished product at a higher margin, as opposed to selling seeds or crude oil. The regulations and or laws for mobile units are far less restrictive than those of built-in ones The fact that they are self contained and parked outside mitigates fire hazards.

6.4.3 Convenience (place)
Place is becoming less relevant since many of our customers will be able to find us on the internet. We also intend to sell our units door to door adding convenience to our customer to witnessing a demonstration. During our test marketing phase, MBT Inc. has received inquiries from around the globe, from over 46 countries from Indonesia to Argentina and virtually every state in America.

6.4.4 Communication (promotion)
MBT Inc. will communicate with our customers and form lasting relationships through education, partnerships, strategic alliances and a network of distributors. The nature of the alternative fuel industry requires partnerships and alliances to move forward.

6.4.5 Cost (price)
As opposed to focusing on “price” as something to charge, MBT Inc. will focus on “cost” as something customers will pay. Cost is more relevant since a Mobile Biofuel Refinery™ is actually an investment opportunity being offered to our customers with a relatively short ROI period. For example: Our MBT-610i costs $58,000. When the MBT-610i is used even at 75% capacity, it has a pay-off period of less than 6 months if an oil collection company was to produce biodiesel with their collected WVO and sold for $1 per gallon profit.

6.4.6 Community
We have added a fifth “C” to the mix: Community. The biofuel industry is really a large community that MBT Inc. will play an active role in; in person, though social media, education, trade shows and road shows.

Simon Baier

I largely agree with your approach, but I don't believe it supports your premise that the 4Ps are dead. Promotion - as you rightly define it - should communicate the (customer) value, but yes, not necessarily the features of Product. Placement, web or other channels, and Price (right pricing) are no less critical than they ever were.

iphone psd

I'm in the same kind of data gathering business and would've sooner or later made this misassumption myself. Thanks for

napa wedding dj

This so spoke to me – I constantly oscillate between creating/consuming and feel guilty when my reading pile or my google reader backs up to the point of overload…I feel better after reading your post here. I guess a lot of us are in the same boat…I like your guidance to set aside time EVERY day to create though

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