You really don’t understand a concept until you know what it’s made of. The taxonomy of marketing (filled with a bazillion tactics) is murky at best. The tactics are so numerous, expensive and sometimes emotional that we easily focus on the urgent instead of the important. Perhaps we could try a different approach:
Never mind the "P"s. Marketing has five elements:
DATA is observational. What do people actually do? Wal-Mart uses data to decide if an end cap is working. Google Adwords advertisers use data to decide which copy delivers clicks and sales. The library can use data to decide which books to buy (and not to buy). Paco Underhill uses data to turbo charge retail. Data is powerful, overlooked and sometimes mistaken for boring. You don’t have to understand the why, you merely need to know the what.
STORIES define everything you say and do. The product has a myth, the service has a legend. Marketing applies to every person, every job, every service and every organization. That’s because all we can work with as humans is stories. I want to argue that data and stories are the two key building blocks of marketing–the other three are built on these two.
PRODUCTS (and services) are physical manifestations of the story. If your story is that you are cutting edge and faster/newer/better, then your products better be. Average products for average people is a common story, but not one that spreads. When in doubt, re-imagine the product. Push it to be the story, to live the story, to create a myth.
INTERACTIONS are all the tactics the marketer uses to actually touch the prospect or customer. Interactions range from spam to billboards, from the way you answer the phone to the approach you take to an overdue bill. Interactions are the hero of marketing, because there are so many and most of them are cheap. Unfortunately, all lazy marketers can do is buy ads or spam people. Which creates an interaction that belies your story, right?
CONNECTION is the highest level of enlightenment, the end goal. Connection between you and the customer, surely, but mostly connection between customers. Great marketers create bands of brothers, tribes of people who wish each other well and want to belong. Get the first four steps right and you may get a shot at this one.
Some questions marketers must ask: Does this interaction lead to connections? Do our products support our story? Is the story pulling in numbers that demonstrate that it’s working?
In that light, what are you working on? If it’s not one of these five, not going to seriously change the dynamic of your marketing, why exactly are you bothering?
My guess is that your organization spends almost all of its time on the interactions. Once you see the world through the prism of the five pieces, you can get in balance. Or, you could be Jack.