The 4p’s of Marketing: Still Relevant in Today’s Digital Economy?

With the evolution of technology, consumer buying patterns have changed and shifted. The 4P’s of marketing have been a benchmark for marketers in order to bring a product successfully to market for decades. But are the 4P’s of Marketing still relevant in today’s supercharged digital economy?

Traditional Strategies and understandings…

The 4P’s of Marketing have been part of a fundamental process in getting the right product in front of a specific group of people so they can decide to buy. Although this is still used in Marketing today, even in the digital age. The 4P’s of Marketing were invented long before the internet ever existed with ‘brick and mortar’ stores in-mind, so how do they fit into today’s modern customer journey?


Where do they lie within the Digital Economy.

1. Product: No matter what you sell your product must have value, it must solve a problem and/or make the buyer feel the need to have it. Traditional products and services were sold as either physical packages or services like cosmetics products or accountancy and cleaning services. These still exist but more commonly sold online along with other new digital products like software and other media services. Also most businesses that provided 1-2-1 consultancy services in the past now offer them virtually allowing for greater reach and cost efficiency. 

You can have the best digital strategy and communication mix on the planet but without a decent product……there’s no chance of it being successful, it just won’t sell! As mentioned your product must satisfy a need or an emotion of a specific group of customers.

2. Place:Brick and Mortar’ stores are no longer where business is being done. Online platforms like websites are the norm for B2B and B2C transactions. The development of communication technology in the digital economy has rapidly closed the gap in global connection points. Many organisations do business virtually, legal and other confidential documentation can all be signed off securely by electronic signature. Cloud storage has greatly improved a business’s ability to store confidential data and access it remotely. Business networking is now conducted online, virtual communities allow like minded people to connect and exchange information on products and services they offer.

Some online brands have embraced a new culture of doing business by ‘going to the customer’ providing more immersive experiences for their advocates. Developing offline temporary retail outlets or popup shops where they can connect closer and understand their customers needs and preferences. 

The world has become a digital community allowing unprecedented growth in foreign market opportunities. So ‘Place’ as a marketing element can mean anywhere which makes it sort of less relevant. izest Marketing operates from Dublin and have clients in the US, Europe and the Middle East, so the only barrier as regards our place of business is the time difference in which our clients operate. 

However, there is a counter argument for ‘Place’ and it why it still has great value in todays modern marketing mix. If operating online 24/7 your website experience is at the cornerstone of driving conversions and sales, it’s your virtual shop front or ‘place’ of business. Design, Development and Marketing strategies integrated on your web platform will contribute to the experience users have and how they interact with your brand. 

Local search strategies for business listings are now a major factor in driving location based searches and traffic to local businesses. So much that Facebook developed an option for international and indigenous companies to develop their business profile using Facebook Local Business pages where they can display their products and services and also integrate an eCommerce feature

Google also developed a free Business listing called Google My Business’ that businesses can utilise to gain more search visibility. There are great features and advantages of leveraging this system to promote your business products and physical location whether you operate both on and offline.

Download Our Local SEO Guide to Dominate Local Search. 

The 4p’s of Marketing: Are They Still Relevant in Today’s Supercharged Digital Economy? izest Marketing

3. Price: Traditionally pricing was based on the best you saw at the time and you bought there and then, browsing shops on the high-street for a product for the best price was regular consumer behaviour. Business services were different you might lookup a service using a business directory like the Golden Pages, search for suitable providers and narrow your choice based on the quote your got over the phone and some advert content placed in the directory ad. 

Pricing of products and services has changed significantly since then with the evolution of digital, products like computer software and streaming services have no need for a physical shop front. Many businesses have adapted new pricing strategies alongside the demand and growth for these products and services. Subscriptions have become the new pricing structure in the age of digital, with many companies offering ‘try before you buy’  experiences or free subscriptions with limited features, whilst offering more for fully paid premium levels. 

HERES A FACT: Amazon changes product prices 2.5 million times a day, that means that the average product cost will change every ten minutes. What allows them to do this is data! and large chunks of it, providing their technical teams with consumer buying patterns, inventory, competitor offers and other information that is critical. Their pricing strategy is clever (adapting to offline retail pricing strategies), they increase the price of some unpopular items allowing similar more popular items to seem cheaper and a better deal! in the eyes of their customers. 

Subscriptions are not a new marketing concept, mail order subscriptions date back to the 17th century and have many advantages over single sale pricing models. They promote reliability to a customer, knowing they are getting a continued service or product on a monthly basis. Subscriptions have a strong impact on the customer LifeTime Value, dramatically extending it and allowing for future forecasting on customer spend.

Building loyalty with customers can only lead to brand advocacy, with subscription services brands can connect closer with their customers, understanding their preferences and behaviours. Another key advantage is rewarding those with longer subscriptions greater discounts, providing a better reason to stay with a brands subscription service. In the digital economy this messaging has been leveraged through email marketing campaigns highlighting what extended memberships can offer to encourage brand loyalty.  

Delivering intuitive personalised experiences is a key marketing tactic. Online subscription services lend well to personalisation, especially streaming services where advanced software algorithms present viewers with similar options from their historical search preferences. 

4. Promotion: All marketing activities and collateral are there to drive awareness about your brand and its benefits. More traditional types of promotion were hard copy promotional materials like flyers, brochures, traditional media & newspaper ads and lets not forget ‘word of mouth’ referrals. Although most drove large scale awareness they did not really deliver tangible results in audience engagement and interaction.

In the digital economy ‘Promotion’ still plays a major part within the marketing strategy. Most traditional forms have now evolved into online formats. Brochures can be downloaded directly from websites, more targeted advertising is conducted online by businesses wishing to yield higher return on advertising spend. 

Brand ‘Promotion’ has become more digital. With website search engine optimisation techniques developing better online visibility, social media working to create a buzz and awareness about a brand, email, video marketing, podcasts and blogging also being widely used as tried and tested platforms for brand engagement. Promotion is still present in all of these, it’s the primary objective it’s just shifted in its form of strategy and execution. 

What really matters.

What’s most important and what really matters is that you implement the Marketing Mix in a way that aligns with your brand, target audience and commercial goals. The Digital Economy has changed how businesses engage with their customers. The 4P’s Marketing Mix although still vital has changed in adaptation in many ways. However, to ignore and not utilise them as a benchmark for bringing a brand to market will only increase the chances of failure.

At izest we realise the importance of the ’4P’s Marketing Mix’ and love to execute commercially focused marketing strategies that provide clarity and deliver transformational results. Why not reach out and contact us to discuss what new and exciting commercial opportunities are out there for your brand and business.