The 13 P’s of Marketing

Ken CookData-Driven, Small Business

Survey any number of business owners about the 5 P’s of marketing and they will tell you, “promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion, promotion.” This mantra is devoid of the standard 5 P’s of marketing which are Product, Price, Position, Placement and Promotion. Some propose others like People, Physical Evidence {aka Packaging}, Process, and even newer P’s like Personalization. There seems to be a big disconnect between the knowledge of a small business and the overall strategy of marketing that other larger companies use. In our mind, the concept or lack of marketing might be summed up in one other significant P – Preparation.

What Are The 13 P’s of Marketing

  • Product This first P in the marketing mix could also be considered service as a product. In marketing strategy, you would take into account the elements of design, color, benefits or needs your customers have for it. Take as an example a T-shirts color and fabric type as well as size. For service consider chiropractic adjustment as relief from pain, a doctor’s expertise, and the healing from injury.
  • Position focuses much on the brand of the company. This specifically considers how your brand is portrayed in the mind of consumers. Is it the premium brand or not the cream of the crop. The easiest way to understand this is to consider premium brands versus knockoff brands. What makes a Louis Vuitton bag better than a small bag manufacturer? This is often defined by the product but also in the image that the company  portrays. For premium brands, this might be in the way it communicates to its consumers in style, function, perception (Maslow Hierarchy of Needs), price, etc.
  • Price is often defined by the product and position. Consider the product that the cost of goods (COGs), labor, research and development, brand image, and distribution all factor into the price. Other considerations may be as to whether the market can sustain the product. Some businesses fail because the cost of production outweighs the revenue. One issue we commonly see in this area is that small business owners rarely know why their product is priced the way it is, or its price is simply determined by the competitions pricing.
  • Placement considers where your product or service is distributed. Do customers buy online, in-store, over the phone, at home, etc? This might help define how you will promote your product or what kind of environment you need for your product. For example, if it is in person you may need a vehicle to deliver to or open a store front. If it is virtual, you may need an e-commerce website to allow for digital downloads. Understanding the distribution piece can help you better define your promotion.
  • Promotion is the understanding of your products and services that communicate with your customers about your products and services. Understanding your business, product, position, price, and place help define promotion. Promotional strategies consist of either a Push or Pull strategy. In short, a pull strategy is moving your products to your customers, while the customer is looking for a product. An example of this is having a sales force that brings the product to its potential customers. SEO could also be considered a Pull strategy.  Push, on the other hand, drives its customers to the product, when they are not seeking your product. For example, advertising is often used as a way to execute this a push strategy by promoting the product through various marketing channels (tv, internet, etc.). How many times have you been watching TV and see an ad for something you would have never thought about waiting, and now it is on your radar for purchase?
  • People is about having the right “human resources” either inside your company or contracted via service contract, or other agreement. From a marketing perspective, people are essential because they are as much a part of your business offering as the products/services you are offering
  • Process is later added as a piece of the marketing mix. Process considers in part the service and operations of the company to improve the product. This idea can take into account feedback and the customer experience as means to improve the products. A store has barcodes that deliver value to its customers, new flavor suggestions as a feedback tool or even customization of product can all be a part that fits into the process.
  • Physical Evidence as a part of the marketing mix takes into account that consumers observe physical cues before buying. The Ambiance of where the product is sold and the packaging or paper used for the product are examples of physical evidence. Even the branding might be considered a part of the physical evidence as a cue for what they are looking.

The Last 5 p’s vary based on with whom you’re talking. They are often branded “The New 5 P’s of Marketing” and they tend to universally focus on the digital transformation that has occurred, and begin with a digital-first focus, as well as take a multi-channel approach. The following is a sample list, and there are many examples of such lists:

  • Procurement 
  • Purpose
  • Presence
  • Pivot
  • Personalization


When it comes to important concepts like promotion, the question is Are You Prepared? I guess I’m asking – are you actually prepared to know when the chosen channel of promotion is working or prepared with a plan of action for when it isn’t?

These issues are critical when it comes to generating a P we all love: Profit.
Preparation Leads to Profit

At Prepared Marketing, it is our central belief that Preparation leads to Profit. So to illustrate this I will tell you a story that I am shamelessly stealing from Allan Dib, author of “The 1-Page Marketing Plan”.


If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign that says, “Circus Coming to the Showground Saturday,” that’s advertising.

If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion.

If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed and the local newspaper writes a story about it, that’s publicity.

And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.

If the town’s citizens go to the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that’s sales.

And if you planned the whole thing, that’s marketing.

Marketing is fundamentally not the actions of promotion, physical evidence, price, or whatever P you want to talk about, rather, marketing is Preparation. You can not have repeatable, ongoing success in marketing without preparation.