Is marketing now plagued by short-termism?

Iain McInnes, founder of webuildbrands, considers whether marketing is now plagued by short-termism, and if the traditional discipline of the 4P’s has become increasingly under challenge.  

Are we too engrossed in monthly Google stats and social media feeds to consider the strategic role of marketing, including the 4P’s of price, product, promotion and place?

It’s a question that marketeers across the globe have been considering in recent years as the new marketing channels that have come to the fore are more easily measurable through analytical metrics.

For many of us that have studied at business school or through the extensive programmes with the CIM, marketing has been promoted as an all-encompassing discipline, based on the fundamentals of the 4P’s and underpinned by strategic principles. Objectives are distilled down in strategies, which in turn are actioned through tactical campaigns.

Yet marketing is facing a challenge in that marketeers are becoming increasingly focused on the short-term results of Google statistics and social media returns – but is it really a case of taking one hand off the wheel whilst looking back into the mirror of past results? Back in February 2017, a Marketing Week poll returned a resounding result in that 77% of marketeers suggested that the 4P’s were still relevant today, but in a career sector with a high proportion of under 30’s, these people are highly conversant with social media to begin with.

More recently Jeremy Lowenstein, the CMO of underwear brand MeUndies – contrasted the 4Ps of product, price, promotion and place that are taught to marketers with the ‘real’ 4Ps of marketing, namely purpose, performance, personalisation and pride. Others have also gone on to suggest that there are indeed 5P’s, namely ‘people’ as they execute the other 4P’s and as many businesses imply today, that they are indeed people-driven businesses.

While we challenge the traditional views of marketing it’s also important to consider its role within a business environment and also the way in which marketeers engage with external agencies. Is marketing strategy part of their remit and the long-term values of the business or are they more concerned in producing short-term content with little structure or vision?

It would be interesting to analyse how long companies engage with their respective marketing agencies in this industry – maybe 2-3 years on average is my best estimate. But the longer you engage an external resource, the better they should know your business and the industry at large. At webuildbrands we’ve been operating in the glazing and fenestration industries for 16 years and for the most part under the McInnes Communications name.

During this time, we’ve worked with some of the most trusted and respected brands, helping several to sale over a period of rapid growth – Solidor, which was sold to Masonite International in January 2018, being a prime example of this.

These clients work with us for the long-term and in the case of Kömmerling for over 10 years as their trusted marketing partner, a company that understands the very principles of the 4P’s effecting marketing communications and with a long-term understanding of the group’s brands and overall strategy.

The role of marketing in a business environment is a moving feast and that’s why it attracts so many creative people. But it’s at its most effective when considered as a long-term and fundamental organisational discipline that engages with all other corporate functions.

The 4P’s have been challenged in the past and will continue to be so in the future, but ultimately, they should be part of the strategic planning process for clients and agencies alike for the long-term to help realise the best commercial returns and overall brand positioning.