How Many P’s in Marketing?

This article was published more than 1 year ago. Some information may no longer be current.

Just about everyone knows about the 4 P’s of Marketing. Heck, being able to recite the 4 elements of the marketing mix is half-way to having an MBA! (in case you’re in need of a refresher, that’s: Product, Price, Promotion and ….Place, meaning distribution or how you sell your product). But just like everything else these days, there has been inflation in the P’s of Marketing.

Pundits add at least two, sometimes three more P’s to the list, along the way changing the scope to include not just the “marketing mix” but other elements in the marketing domain. Some examples:

• Planning (alignment between marketing and corporate strategy)

• Process (business intelligence, lead management, etc.)

• People (resource levels, skill sets, leadership, etc.)

So, depending on who you’re talking to, you might have anywhere from 4 to 7 P’s in Marketing. I personally like to include the extra P’s when I’m working with clients to assess the performance (gulp . . . another P) of their marketing functions. Building a checklist or scorecard around these performance dimensions really helps focus the mind on areas for improvement. A quick marketing assessment is a good illustration of their effectiveness.

It’s important to recognize that when it comes to Planning, Process and People (as well as some of the traditional P’s), the responsibility for effectiveness rests not just with the marketing department but with the entire senior management team. Loose corporate planning, poor IT infrastructure or weak HR practices all have an enormous impact on the effectiveness of marketing activities.