When Product is the King

jorge / 18 January, 2019/

“The best marketing doesn't feel like marketing”

Tom Fishburne

Although marketing has been a part of our lives since remote times, it is with the spread of the Internet and the eruption of social media that the idea of digital marketing was originated.

The first steps of the Internet were characterised by the rigid and static webs 1.0: the Web´s grannies. The World Wide Web could be defined as the systems of archives interrelated by hypertexts links, available online. It flourished in the 90's, and rapidly became a source of revolutionary consultancy that fascinated millions of people.

The only purpose of this primitive version was to inform the user through a code, offering written content. Also, websites were rarely updated and there was no interaction with the person behind the screen. In fact, only the webmaster was able to upload and administrate the contents.

The Web 1.0 used a HTML (HyperText Markup Language) format that enabled users to keep and build websites. Curiously, at that time the number of sites were not excessively large, so it was possible to keep them track and register the websites that were uploaded online.

Marketing 1.0 is mainly promoted through traditional channels that most people are familiar with; billboards, newspapers, flyers, TV, magazines… By these means, the potential client receives information and the option of acquiring the product if he likes. Furthermore, the customer is incapable to participate in the process and consequently, it is only possible to measure the impact of his business on the market by evaluating sales, without any feedback from the customer.

On the one hand, Marketing 1.0 is focused on the quality and convenience of the product and on the other hand, on smarter ways to finally sell it to the customer. This type of marketing operates by employing methods that capture the attention of the customer's mind, aiming to imprint the brand in his memory. It started in the middle of the industrial development, where the demand was higher than what was on offer. Needless to say, Henry Ford, famous for adopting chain production methods, was the most emblematic exponent of this period. His famous quote “any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants, so long as it is black” illustrates not only his view, but an epoch.

In the midst of the 1940s, marketing ideas were in a boiling state. The discipline was experiencing a transition while setting down its foundations. For a period of time, Professor Neil Borden had an idea fluttering in his mind while lecturing at Harvard University: was it possible to apply a colorful terminology to synthesize and understand an approach that, to that day, had not been formulated in captivating expressions?

On a certain day, Borden was reading a bulletin authored by his colleague, Professor James Culliton. In this article, Culliton described the activity developed by a business executive as a “mixer of ingredients”, as if the core of his activity was to decide how to mix the ingredients at hand. Then the image took shape, and during his lectures at Harvard University, Professor Borden established the idea of Marketing Mix, which became a classic concept in the field.

In other words, Marketing Mix is a formula that rests on a series of key tools and strategies to capture the attention of the client, enabling you to personalize the technological devices according to target specific profiles. Still, from the many variables that could be quantified, which are the main focus points to obtain the desirable results? Borden´s work can be boiled down to twelve elements that every business must combine in their marketing mixture, namely advertising, branding, channels of distribution, display, packaging, personal selling, physical handling, fact finding and analysis, pricing, product planning, promotion and servicing.

However, when referring to traditional marketing, the work developed by another outstanding Professor, Jeromy McCarthy, comes to mind: the golden rule of the 4 P´s: product, price, placement and promotion. The analysis of these four elements has been widely adopted since: the product, designed to satisfy specific expectations from the client; the price, to establish a reasonable economic quantity for the sale of the product; the place, so the company is situated logistically, easily accessible to potential customers; and finally promotion, also known as the visible “P”, which covers the areas of advertising, sales and public relations among others. This system is more practical than its predecessors, although we cannot forget that the 4 P´s is just another example in the world of Marketing Mix.

As shown above, the objective of marketing 1.0 is to sell the product to the masses without considering personal needs, by standardizing the means of production, applying scaled economy and reducing costs. Thus, products can be sold at more economic prices and a larger number of people may access them.

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