The Nine P’s of product and marketing success

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Feb 28th, 2010

Whether your product management focus is on bringing new products to market or tending them while they’re in market, there are many aspects to consider to ensure that your products are successful at launch and remain as profitable as possible through their life until you pull them from the market.

You may be familiar with the Marketing Mix, which is a way of describing those elements you need to consider to achieve success in market, commonly simplified to the Four Ps — Product, Price, Place, and Promotion (or some derivation thereof).

There are, however, aspects to consider before you bring your product to market and further aspects to keep in mind as you manage it through its useful life.

Introducing the Nine P’s

For a number of years I have been working with a more fully encompassing model that I like to call the Nine P model.

As mentioned in other articles, a model is only a simplified way of codifying an area of study or business that is broad and deep and can take a lifetime to master, and when the model is based around specific letters (whether they spell out a word or are all the same letter) you know that that simplification has been taken to another level. Nevertheless, such models do help us to more easily recall the breadth.

In this model, we still start with the well-established 4P marketing mix, and add to that a 3P capability mix (People, Process, and Platform), and a 2P delivery management mix (Projects and Portfolio).

4Ps: the Marketing Mix

In 1960 E. Jerome McCarthy coined the Four P break-down of the Marketing Mix concept (introduced earlier in the 1940’s/50’s by James Culliton and Neil Borden).

This model posits that we build our Products; then create Propositions from our Products (how they are priced and bundled for specific markets); then Place those Propositions in our various channels to market (stores, online, call centres, mail order, etc.); and finally Promote these to our customers, so they can find them.

3Ps: the Capability Mix

Booms and Bitner later extended this with the addition of PeopleProcess and Physical. The last of these described the physical environment that supports operation of the product; I prefer the term Platform, as this implies a supporting role which is stronger than the passive physical environment. I term these the ‘Capability Mix‘:

Combining these two models together, we have a layered 5P product model, supported by people and process:

Our Platforms underlie everything, are furthest away from the customer, and typically have the longest lead-time to develop or change. We build our Products on these Platforms, and so on (as above for the 4Ps).

Along with Platforms, our product to market model is also enabled by our People and Processes.

2Ps: the Management Mix

To this, I have added a ‘Management Mix’, covering how we establish and manage these, through Projects and Portfolios.

The base 4P+3P elements are established, changed, and eventually decommissioned through some form of change initiative / Project (or Program).

Finally, we should be actively monitoring, reporting, and prioritising interventions across all our operational and change capabilities (i.e. all the other Ps), which we do through our Portfolio.

This gives rise to the 9P model, covering all operational, change, and strategic capabilities:

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