Numero P

In 1960 Marketing Professor Edmund Jerome McCarthy proposed the concept of the 4 Ps marketing in his book ‘Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach’. The book went on to become one of the top selling textbooks to support university marketing courses, convincing many senior marketers and business owners today that addressing ‘product’, ‘price’, ‘place’ and ‘promotion’ were fundamental to achieving marketing success.

Unfortunately for McCarthy it wasn’t long before some smart arse added ‘people’ to the mix. Then came ‘performance’, ‘process’ and ‘productivity’. Fast forward 60 years and we are now up to 44 Ps according to Peter Sandeen. How typical of a marketing consultant to overcomplicate things?! But this did get me thinking. P stands for many things, but which P is considered more important than the other 43? Surely, by nature of definition it would be the word ‘priority’?

I have worked with many different clients throughout my career. On reflection most of them didn’t have a clue what they wanted when they briefed us. They thought they did, but rarely did anyone share what they wanted to achieve beyond the brief that was on the table. And very few considered what effect the decisions and actions they were making today would have on their business tomorrow. Long-term business objectives were often clouded by an individual’s priority – their immediate need for ‘a quick solution, a convenient fix’. Tomorrow was always someone else’s problem.

But who is accountable, the client or the agency? I have seen first-hand how poorly agencies are briefed. It’s embarrassing. Agencies can be blamed for a lot of things, but never their brief. But agencies don’t help themselves either. There is a new breed of Business Director that is so commercially driven they will secure ‘any brief’ just to hit their revenue targets. Few agencies are asking the right questions. If they did, the value of the brief would increase with each answer.

Despite being more connected than ever before (thanks to technology), we have never been so disconnected. We have become increasingly isolated by our own individual priorities fuelled by the ability to obtain and share information at a click of a button. The world, let alone business, would be a much better place if we focused on a collective priority.

A collective priority is a shared interest that complement’s an individual priority. Put simply, my wife will always be my number one (and vice-versa) but our daughter will forever be our collective priority – or what we like to call our ‘Numero P’.

In business, your Numero P is the root of the problem you are trying to solve. It’s the collective business priority that is often hidden amongst the priorities of other individuals and or departments. The key to business success is identifying your ‘P’.

Copyright © Matthew Parkes 2020

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