I wrote a piece recently on why I believe that we are now trading in the e-market – advocating that we must reconsider how we define the traditional 4P’s of marketing in an internet-facilitated marketplace. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Brian Fetherstonhaugh of Olgivy has taken the same view but gone down a slightly different route.

Brian suggests that Kotler’s 4P’s should now be replaced with 4E’s (re-published here by Amarach) :

from Product to Experience

from Place to Everyplace

from Price to Exchange

from Promotion to Evangelism

Instead of focusing on product, Brian shifts the focus to the “lifetime experience of the customer with your brand”. Yes we are all more focused on the overall experience we have with a brand, but do we still not want a product at the end of the day? One that works. Does what we expect it to do and doesn’t let us down. Is this experience or just a product that delivers?

We know that the place is now “everyplace”; and we should now focus on the full range of possibilities that exist thanks to digital innovations. The big challenge for all marketers today is to find new ways to connect with consumers in an increasingly complex marketplace. You’re customers are no longer walking past your shop – most of you don’t have shops. Most of you are struggling to keep up with where your customers are. They’ve moved on from Facebook. They’re now on Twitter. God knows where they’ll be next year, by which time you’ll have just figured out Facebook.

Brian asks us to stop thinking about the cost of things. Customers are more concerned about value and wondering what you will give in return for their attention, their engagement and their permission. In the good times yes. But in recession times I guess most of us are starting to count the cost of things. Consumers will expect more from brands in return for their time and their engagement, but don’t think you can charge them more to pay for it. Newly empowered consumers are very much focused on price, because they now have greater control over it. With a couple of clicks they can buy the same product elsewhere and cheaper.

And finally we’re moving from traditional advertising to getting others to become advocates or “evangelists” for our brands, our products and our services. How can we build up enough of a positive relationship with our customers that they will champion our brand for us? This is perhaps the biggest challenge, but ultimately the most effective strategy. Word of mouth will also be more powerful than advertisement. The opportunity presented by social media is one that we should not ignore.