20 years ago, I (like most entry level pros) learned the 5 Ps of Marketing: Product, Price, Place, Promotion and People. These, I was told, were the five marketing levers that satisfy customers and build market share.
Over time, the five Ps have become commoditized….like just about everything else in the marketing mix. Blockbuster Products and Pricing provide short-term advantage. But blockbusters are few and far between – and life cycles are short. The same holds true for Promotions, Place (i.e., distribution) and People (i.e. service). Stand-out performance is scarce and, unless there are strong barriers to entry, most business and distribution models can be copied quickly.
What competitors can’t copy is a company’s Perspective – i.e., the way employees think about issues, anticipate trends and synthesize information. Perspective (or issues ownership) has always been an important marketing tool for professional services firms (management consultants, lawyers, accountants, architects) – firms that market themselves on the strength of their ideas. Today, however, most financial firms, healthcare organizations and manufacturers compete on the basis of intangibles (ideas, values, insights, partnerships/affiliations). Their success is based as much on who they are as on what they sell.
Perspective, then, is the sixth marketing P. It is one part intelligence (ideas, trends, insights), one part emotion (values, ideals). It’s the discussion that happens alongside the product. If you want to create a lasting marketing edge, the first step is to define your company’s Perspective. Then, communicate that Perspective to the people that matter.
What’s your Perspective?
(photo by kalmanzita)
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