The 4 Ps of marketing is a widely acknowledge and respected practice and has been since its conception in 1960. It is understood as a foundation of business marketing, focusing on four marketing elements– product, price, place and promotion, in which success is determined. The idea is simple; if you get these 4 fundamentals right, you are satisfying the consumer needs and will ultimately achieve sales.
Since the 1960s there have been iterations of this, firstly extending to the 7 Ps, adding process, people and physical evidence, addressing the more complex rudiments of a consumer journey. This was further adapted in the 1990s when the 4 Cs practice was introduced – consumer, cost, convenience and communication. This highlighted the more consumer-driven marketplace and matched the lifestyle at the time. With the invention of smartphones and internet shopping, the 1990s was when we, as a generation, began to embrace an on-demand lifestyle which has carried through to today. No longer was the key to sales success having products in display cabinets, on offer at your local supermarket. With a smartphone in hand, we, the consumer, were in the driving seat. Able to shop around for the best price, order deliveries to our home or workplace and sign-up to marketing communications from our favourite retailers, this was a time where retailers had to compete for brand loyalty.
To this day we still have a very on-demand consumer lifestyle. This has further evolved to next day or even same day deliveries, online streaming services and connected devices not only for your wrist or your pocket, but also for every room in your home. If a brand has been unable to connect with its consumers on these platforms, they have likely ceased trading which is why the demise of the High Street is widely discussed.
The time is now
However, we are beginning to see another shift in consumer behaviours. The always-on generation has developed signs of disengagement and frustration at the lack of human element in our day-to-day lives. Not only has this contributed to our growing awareness of mental health, but it has resulted in consumers expecting more from the brands they purchase from. We are now shifting towards a new theory, the 4 Es.
First up is experience. Consumers now want to receive an experience from a brand. Experience is the best way to give a memorable impression to a consumer base, which results in brand advocacy.
Next, and linking to the collapse of the High Street, is everyplace. Brands must ensure they are available on the channels their target audience interactives with. They should be active on social media, have an e-commerce website that allows online shopping at all hours and be present with physical stores or pop-ups. By being present on as many channels as possible, it makes the next element, exchange, more achievable.
Consumers want to share their experience and build a connection with a brand. Consumers are moving away from jumping from brand to brand depending on who can get them a product the quickest and cheapest way. We now crave for meaningful connections with the brands we are purchasing from; we seek to exchange our loyalty along with our money. We want to know the brand is worth supporting and feel good about spending our money with them.
Then we move to the last element, evangelism. By being everyplace, giving experience and sharing an exchange, a brand can build evangelism. The brand portrays emotion or allows consumers to feel positive emotion about the brand. This is then shared among peers and word-of-mouth marketing is bred.
The 4 Es practice is still early in conception, but we are seeing these trends more, particularly with FMCG brands. To be competitive in a saturated market, brands must offer consumers more than just a product.
If you would like more information on how experiential marketing would help your brand engage with your target audience and build brand advocacy, please get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org.