Do you know the 4 ‘Ps’ method for powerful marketing?

The 4P formula… veeeery interesting.

The 4 ‘Ps’ formula… veeeery interesting.

If there’s one thing that nearly every marketer on the planet struggles with, it’s information overload. There are product details for you to know; customer surveys; demographics; production knowledge; and on and on. And in this tornado of info (Torninfo?) comes the all-too-often new thing to do… like launching a new product, reinventing an old one or promoting something to someone, somewhere, NOW.

It’s easy to lose focus in the swirl of it all, because there’s a lot to think about.

But basically, starting a new marketing effort comes down to two, basic components: deciding what exactly you’re going to say, and then organizing it in a way that communicates it clearly to your staff or agency.

Trying to state something very clearly and simply can, ironically, be mind-numbingly hard. But, we’re here to solve that today, with an easy little formula created by advertising copywriters of yesteryear.

It’s called the “4 Ps” approach, based, as we’ve hoped you’ve guessed, on four words beginning with that famous 16th letter of the alphabet: Promise, picture, proof and push. It’s a powerful prescription for promotion-induced panic attacks and palpitations. Here’s how it breaks down…

Promise – What will your product or offering do for your customer? What’s the big promise we can make to him or her? Think in terms of benefits, not just features—for example, not just selling a car (feature) but luxury, speed, prestige, value, good gas mileage, etc. (benefits). A good place to start is to think of a pain point your customer may be having and showing him or her how your offering can relieve that.

Remember what cosmetic kingpin and founder of Revlon Charles Revson said: “In the factory we make cosmetics; in the store, we sell hope.”

Picture – This encompasses all the visual aspects to our marketing message… everything from your company’s brand standards to product photography. But it’s also really important to think about what messages these visuals convey. Does your imagery do your product justice? Does it oversell it? Ideally, your imagery should match or enhance the promise you’re making. We live in a visual age, where people often look at pictures before words—so this aspect of your message is key.

Celebrated architectural and furniture designer Charles Eames once said, “Design is … arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose.”

Proof – OK, you’ve made a compelling promise and you’ve dressed it up nicely. Now, your prospect needs to know that what you’re saying is true. Use testimonials, studies, charts, comparisons, facts and more to make your case bulletproof! Keep in mind that, in this step, you’re establishing credibility and earning your prospect’s trust. Having a nice promise and picture just won’t cut it, especially with more expensive or technical-type products.

Some wise words from news legend Edward R. Murrow: “To be persuasive, we must be believable; to be believable, we must be credible; to be credible, we must be truthful.”

Push – This is actually the part of the formula far too many marketers forget. After the prospect has taken in your promise, enjoyed its visual presentation and considered the proof you’ve given, what do we want him or her to do? The answers range from placing an order, to signing up for a webinar, to giving up their email or any number of other things. But you need to guide them in some way.

Marketer Shane Gibson reminds us: “Always be closing.”

So, your thoughts? Is the “4 Ps” method profound or poppycock? Powerful or paltry? A pleasure or painful?

– Andy Badalamenti is the creative director for CI-Group.

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