OLD Marketing is Dead, via @davidmerzel’s BLOG

Yesterday, I’ve given a presentation to STIMA (Stichting Marketing) at Microsoft Office in Balgium.

Coming from an FMCG company (11 years at Unilever) and working now at Microsoft for 5 years, I’ve a good feeling of what’s important for the consumers (their needs) while I observe how the consumers are consuming new technologies & media now and how it could change in the Future.

In 1960, a concept was introduced by E. Jerome McCarthy that identified the four basic tenants of marketing as Product, Price, Place, and Promotion or, as it is more commonly known, the 4 Ps.

Based on that, I can confirm you that the world is changing fast and that the world won’t never been the same.

While the 4 P’s offer a good basic framework for understanding the all encompassing nature of marketing, They are missing one key ingredient that has been made apparent by the consumer revolution – the consumer’s involvement in the process.

So, Old Marketing is dead.

While the way consumers adopt new technologies and consume media, is changing, I can personally observe that many marketers have not changed. The consumer is now in the driving seat ! This has a huge impact on the way we should interact with them as the consumer becomes a medium itself.

There are some decision takers and marketers who are declaring the 4 P’s dead, or at least no longer relevant. They, and I’m part of them Smile, dare to say that the four P’s are DEAD ! There are other marketers who don’t change and continue to apply old principles.

But what are the main drivers for change ?

The age of interactive information has turned the four P’s on its head. Indeed, the adoption of new technologies has never been so fast : 38 years to get the first 50 Millions users of TV while it took only 9 months for the first 100 Millions users on Facebook. See following slides showing how fast is the adoption of new technologies.

This adoption of new technologies is driven by the digitalization of everything (music, picture, movie,…) The consumers want to consume this content on every devices (PC, TV, Smart Phone, Slate, …) while the content in is the CLOUD. This is the vision of Microsoft.


The speed of transactions is faster, more dynamic and happening real time. The world is moving into a more demand-based view. Customers are exposed to large amounts of ads every day. So how do you make your product stand out and above the rest?

On-top of that, as you can see here-below, the world of advertising has changed since advertising’s glory days in E. Jerome McCarthy’s 1960s, in the way we should interact / dialogue with the consumers. We can observe following evolution (from broadcast / mass marketing to interactive / targeted marketing) as you can see on my slide here-below.

As Seith Godin would say, there is an evolution from interruption marketing to permission marketing.

What’s interruption marketing ? Imagine it’s later in the day at the same airport. You’re late for your flight, and someone asks you the same question. Will you give him the same attention? Finally, a third scenario: You’re late for the flight, the airport is crowded, and this is the fourth person to ask you the same question. What are the chances you will pay any attention at all? You’re probably going to even develop a strategy for avoiding further interruptions –not making eye contact, brushing them off, refusing to help.

What’s permission marketing ? Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.

It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.

Real permission works like this: if you stop showing up, people complain, they ask where you went.

So, it’s time to review the 4P’s

There are many marketers who have even added more P’s to the mix, such as people, process, physical presence, or (as the word-of-mouth/social media crowd like to say) participation.

So, Long Live to New Marketing.

I personally like the 4 C’s concept that I found HERE

The principle is that you need to customize your product and/or your story telling to suit each customer’s needs. As the consumer is the MEDIUM thru social Media, your value proposition and your story telling should be Unique & Simple so that they will be your best Ambassadors.

So what are the 4 C’s:

  • From Product to Co-created solutions and experiences. Work with the customer to captivate and engage them.
  • From Promotion to Communication with communities. Customers want interconnected. interactions with like-minded people not just information. Social communities are the new-age promotion channel.
  • From Price to Customisable personal value. Give each individual customer something that they want and suits them.
  • From Place to Choice and convenience. Make sure your product can reach your customers. Use the internet and be online 24/7.

Here-below, great tips from on how to apply these 4 C’s

  • Work with customers to create products that they want.
  • Go online and create a group on a social network site about your product or business.
  • Give the customer more choices of your product whether it be colour, shape or size.
  • Get you business operating 24/7 worldwide – make a website where customers can buy your products.
  • Build your products so customers can customise it to suit their budget.

The customer is no longer the object of a sale, selling a service, or the subject of some department loyalty scheme. You as a business owner must capture what is important to the customer and understand the shift from the 4 P’s to the 4 C’s.

I also believe you have to dare to create something unique and remarkable. In his book called “Purple Cow”, Seth Godin explains how Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable.

In this book, Godin urges you to emulate companies that are consistently remarkable in everything they do, which drives explosive word of mouth.

Some take-away of this book :

  • Every day, consumers ignore a lot of brown cows (if you are on the highway) but you can bet they won’t ignore a purple cow.
  • If you were driving down a road and saw a purple cow in a field, would you stop to take a look? Most likely you would, as spotting a purple cow would be pretty rare and unique. In fact, you would probably not notice most of the other cows grazing in the field, as you would be fixated on the purple cow.
  • So how does this apply to the business world ? To be a purple cow makes you stand out, and if you have a business or service to offer, potential customers and clients would take notice, and if you are looking for a job, being a purple cow would cause potential employers to take another look. You have to be inherently purple or no one will talk about you.
  • In the old days, marketers targeted consumers. Today, the opposite is true. It’s the consumers who choose. They choose whether you are listened to or ignored. So, you need to invest in the Purple Cow. So, you need to develop products, services that the market will actually seek out.
  • We have always the choice between distinct and extinct. The only route to healthy grow is a remarkable product.
  • It’s not bout being weird. It’s about being irresistible to a tiny group of easily reached people (sneezers =early adopters) who will communicate on this and will convince larger group to adopt the product. Irresistible isn’t the same as ridiculous. Irresistible (for the right niche) is just remarkable.
  • “Being safe is risky, and being risky is safe.” And if you’re out there creating something on the edge, someone’s going to hate it. If someone doesn’t really hate your product, it’s mediocre.” And mediocre is where you SO do not want to go.
  • A slogan that accurately conveys the essence of your Purple Cow is a script. A script for a sneezer to use when she / he talks to her/his friends. The script guarantees that the word of mouth is passed on properly.
  • The leaning tower of Pisa sees 6 millions of visitors every year. The positioning and message are simple and unique. Put a picture on a T-shirt and the message is easily send a received. The purity of the message makes it even more remarkable.
  • The power of storytelling shouldn’t be underestimated! I’ve heard it said that great entrepreneurs are also often great storytellers. Both Seth Godin and Brad Sugars told many great Entrepreneurial stories at their recent talks. A good story allows the teller to effectively capture the attention of an audience and leaves a memorable underlying message. Of course, storytelling is nothing new. That’s what probably makes it so powerful. But what makes a great entrepreneurial story?
  • Seth Godin believes that a ‘Wow’ product and great story is vital for a business to succeed. However real stories can’t simply be made up, they have to be lived. Only then can the storyteller be passionate and real. To have an great story an entrepreneur most embark on a difficult and challenging business adventure.

Here-below, the first video explains this purple cow concept.



4 thoughts on “OLD Marketing is Dead, via @davidmerzel’s BLOG

  1. Thanks very useful info, but for creating a Purple Cow it’s need additional budget. That might be a problem foe middle- or small -scale business.

  2. Dear David,

    A lot of nice tips, and I appreciate the new reading you are making of the 4 P’s. However, I believe that somehow the 4 P’s concept as a framework remains valid from my point of view, in the sense that it gives you the 4 dimensions you have to think about when you define your value proposition. Your C approach is absolutely true, but is just a more internet and web oriented approach of defining your Product, Price, Promotion and Positionning isn’t it?

  3. Thanks David for very interesting and useful information. Creating a Purple Cow is vital to every business to survive and succeed; however, it’s not easy to be purple in a herd of brown cows 🙂

  4. Thanks for these helpful info but I think the 4Cs have to be looked at with different perspectives due to the industry they shall be implemented in.

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