The New Ps of Digital Marketing

12 November 2015 708 views

In 1960, E. Jerome McCarthy introduced the 4 Ps of marketing. The Ps, Price, Product, Promotion and Place were a framework to outline the elements required to successfully market a business. As marketing techniques became more sophisticated, new considerations emerged and in 1981, the original Ps were updated by Booms & Bitner to include 3 new elements; people, process, positioning and Physical Evidence.

The 7 Ps are still widely considered to be relevant today and are successfully employed by many marketers in their planning. However, the Digital Age has brought new technologies, growing competition and a more discerning, empowered consumer, and with it, a new set of Ps is emerging.


In the early days of digital media buying, there were only a handful of places you could advertise. As a result, it was easy for brands to reach a broad audience with a limited selection of media buys.

Fast forward 15 years and we see a huge proliferation of online channels. Whilst choice clearly offers opportunity, it has also added complexity to the media selection process. Brands now need to be more strategic than ever in their approach to ensure that their digital mix delivers.

We have also seen the high entry point into advertising disappear with the arrival of 'self-service' options such as the Google MCC and Facebook advertising. This means that digital advertising is now essentially 'open to all' and even the smallest businesses are likely to be active.

With advertising filtering into all corners of our lives, a selective 'advertising blindness' seems to be emerging. With consumer attention spans now shorter than ever, the challenge for advertisers is to break through the noise and be heard.


Advanced personalisation options have forever changed the shape of digital marketing. Whilst a point of contention for some, many publishers now hold detailed information on their users and are able to offer highly targeted solutions for advertisers.

Targeting consumers according to their interests and preferences enables advertisers to ensure that their offering is relevant and significant to individuals. The knock-on effects are normally improved response rates and less wastage, along with a better customer experience.


We are well and truly in the mobile age. People are now constantly consuming media on the go and expect to be able to purchase products and services on their own terms. With this behaviour, a new marketing channel has emerged; proximity marketing or 'hyper-local' marketing.

Proximity Marketing takes advantage of cellular technology to communicate marketing messages to consumers who are in the vicinity and looking to make a purchase. This is often in the form of an offer or incentive to encourage users in-store or in-house.

Whilst location-based marketing is nothing new, digital technology adds a new element to the mix; time sensitivity. As consumers look for instant gratification,

Proximity Marketing can be used to guide them towards a spare of the moment purchase.


These days, digital marketing is all about results. Increasingly marketers need to be able to defend their digital selection to senior management. This means proving ROI, even in areas where measurement is a challenge, such as social media.

Advancements in data and tracking have helped with this aim; attribution modelling is increasingly used by marketers to identify and assign value to the various touchpoints in the consumer journey. What’s more, social media platforms now provide their own analytics data, giving valuable insight into both paid and non-paid activity. When it comes to digital performance, one thing is clear; the days of providing your 'best estimate' have long since passed.

Price Sensitivity

Price, one of the original 4 Ps, has always been a key consideration. Traditionally, the advice was that a product or service didn't necessarily need to be the cheapest, however it did have to be seen as representing good value.

In contrast, these days it is so easy to compare the cost of a product or service online that many consumers have become hyper-price-sensitive. The challenge is to draw the customer's focus away from price and back towards a brand's USPs.

The Takeaway

The evolving digital landscape clearly presents challengers for marketers both in terms of it complexity and competition. These days, the power is in the hand of the consumer and brands have to be ready to adapt to meet their needs.

Meanwhile however, it presents a clear opportunity for brands to get closer to the customers both literally and metaphorically. This gives marketers incredible scope to maximise the effectiveness of their digital activity.