The 4Ps are alive and well. But perhaps not the way we think about it. In a sense, 4Ps have always been rather firm centric - its about the price the FIRM charges, the place the FIRM sells its offerings, the product that the FIRM offers, the promotion that the FIRM has to undertake. So I thought I'll have some fun and turn things on its head..... in a co-creation sense of course. (if you need to understand value co-creation, check here).
Yes, there is still money to be charged, but increasingly, 'price' is no longer a consequence of a sequential activity. Its not what I get for what I pay for anymore. I mean, how do pay for google, or facebook? or how do I really 'pay' for getting the nutritional attributes of food in the supermarket when i scan the barcode and read it off an app? There is money floating around somewhere but increasingly, the revenue is being distributed, just as value creation is distributed within the system. Also, it's not what the 'price' we give firms now, it's what we get back, as SDLogic will always say, we are resource integrators, we integrate resources and money is just another resource. But I actually argue further - that we are getting multiple outcomes for one 'price' - e.g. paying for broadband and a computer and then getting so many different types of outcome from social networking, surfing the net etc. so I would argue that the monetary system is becoming less and less relevant in achieving outcomes through systemic collaboration and distributed intelligence and information. My favourite theory is that money, because it is so generic a resource, is increasingly 'devalued' - so an outcome for outcome exchange (I walk your dog, you cook me a meal) has greater 'goodness' or 'value' than if it went through a market which is why as technology increases efficiency matching needs from connectivity, money may be increasingly irrelevant for societal happiness. Very far fetched, I know, but as a business economist, its currently my pet theory. I'll model it if I just had some time :(
oo.... let's get a little creative here. Companies still promote - a lot. The ads on google, proximity marketing through foursquare; groupons etc. they are all there - just using a lot of technology. But there is a subtlety that many have not noticed. Instead of taking their products as given and 'promoting' their offerings, companies are starting to change their offerings too.... drug companies realise they are not just about medicine, there is nutrition, well being etc. so they are co-creating value in constellations that are not just about the physical, but about their meanings. From music (bands), to perfumes, firms are dematerialising their 'products' (see blog post on dematerialisation), co-creating value through identity, culture and families. the new world of promotion is not just about firms influencing customers, but customers influencing firms' offerings' design, and customers influencing customers through social networks and creating systems of shared values.
You know where I am going with this from the previous promotion bit. Place is not just physical space of course, but virtual space. and its not about channels of purchase, its about channels of influences, experiences, meanings, symbols, and again, the firm dematerialising the product so that it can be in multiple 'places' in different forms, creating new and interesting business models. this is beyond plurality in channels or buying channels. this is the firm being the true organiser of value co-creation, and understanding what resource or information is needed for different channels.
I am starting to sound like a broken record. but to quote previous posts, technology liberates us world from the constraints of time (when things can be done), place (where things can be done), actor (who can do what) and constellation (with whom it can be done). The PRODUCT, in ALL of that, can be better designed to allow when it can be used, where it can be used, who uses it, and with whom it is shared with. Requirements of the future is looking at technologies from quantum information to artificial intelligence, composite materials that are light to nano technology that create multiple forms of use value, we will start making things that connect better, that can be mobilised differently, can be sent differently and can be used across time and space.
So that's my quick take on the Marketing 4Ps.
And I can't wait for the future. Oh wait. it's here. :D