The Marketing Mix Evolution: From 4P’s to 4C’s to 4V’s and Now… O’s and A’s?

Back in 2008, I commented here on the way we conceptualize the 4Ps of marketing mix. I predicted then that we will see more letters of the alphabet being used to re-define the 4Ps.

Since then, we saw the Cs and Vs. Now in 2013, I have come across As and Os: acceptability, affordability, accessibility, awareness and objects, objectives, organizations, operations. When will it ever end?

For more discussion, see:

We have even added additional Ps. From as far back as 1999, in her book “Hands-on Social Marketing” Nedra Klein Weinreich posited publics, partnership, policy, purse-strings. Others have proposed people, process, presence, physical evidence (never mind the intrusion of the E).

Our field is indeed creative and I love this level of activity in theorizing useful frameworks to help understand what we do better. However, no amount of re-branding and repositioning of the traditional 4Ps will make the social marketer’s job any easier. As I said back in 2008,

ultimately we are trying to achieve behavior change and whichever mix of Ps, Cs, Vs help you to get there, it shouldn’t really matter as long as you can maintain your market share and beat the competition…After all that’s what marketing is all about.

Of course our job in social marketing is highly challenging because the behaviors we target are hard to maintain and have some tough competing behaviors that social marketing alone cannot address. The strategic application of the 4 marketing mix letters (whichever you choose to use to design your strategy) is a good place to start your planning.

But we can’t stop there alone, increasingly we are now expected to think of upstream and midstream influential others that can help us in achieving social and behaviour change.