July 30, 2014
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The 5 Ps of Marketing: How Sony beat Microsoft using this Basic Marketing Mix Business Tool

The 5 Ps of Marketing can easily be forgotten or taken for granted by marketers. What was once called the 4 Ps of marketing: Product, Price, Place (distribution) and Promotion is now considered the 5 Ps of Marketing – adding People. Sony knows this. Microsoft should have known this – more about this in a minute.

Many small and medium sized businesses build good (or even great) products and services. What often comes later is figuring out how to use marketing to generate leads for sales. What is lost, is the 5th P of the 5 Ps of marketing – the People. Seems basic, but, know your target audience.

Use this gathered knowledge about who will use your product/service, while you design or build your next offering. You can get the most out of using the 5 Ps of Marketing business tool by always keeping your buyers (customers, members, stakeholders, etc…) in mind and work within your set limits and resources (e.g. staff, budget).

Want to know how Sony beat Microsoft using this basic marketing mix business tool? Here it is in a nutshell:

The 5 Ps of Marketing:

PRODUCT:
Microsoft announces details of next release for Xbox One. Sony announces details of next release for PlayStation 4. Both new product descriptions had some unique features and benefits.  [Xbox will seem to appeal to a more broad audience with more entertainment options; PS4 will seem to be more powerful and more gamer-centric but will also include movie, music and video services that can stream across its platforms. Both console products are similar looking with Sony winning with an edge on its slightly more sleek, appealing design.]

   Marketing Tip: Know your target audience. If your target audience is mostly gamers, design and build your product for gamers.

PRICE:
Price can be a deciding factor. The release of the price for each console is a large component in how these companies’ target audiences reacted.

Xbox: $499
PS4:  $399

   Marketing Tip: Know your target audience (it’s worth repeating). Ask yourself: Is the price point important to them? What stage of life or lifestyle do they live that might affect your costing strategies? What is the lifespan of your product before its next release?

PLACE:
Both products will be sold through similar distribution channels (entertainment-related outlets) and available in time for the 2013 year-end (Christmas) holiday shopping.

PROMOTION:
This is where it gets interesting. Last February, Sony promoted a teaser of information letting people know the PS4 is forthcoming.  In May, Microsoft promotes more than just a teaser, offering product details (with news about limiting game usage) that create negative rumours and press. This simmers for a month, without any meaningful Microsoft response, then people later find out the rumours are true. Both companies officially released their new product details at a key industry event (E3 press conferences in Los Angeles, CA). By the way, Sony held its press conference nine hours following the Microsoft press conference.

Xbox: New games and features with limited usage. [Users will need to connect to the internet every 24 hours for games to work (limits offline gaming time). User accounts can be used on other consoles to access libraries, though only with an hourly internet check. Also, new limits in how users can share games with friends and, responding to privacy concerns, its Kinect sensor will limit how it records conversations during play.]

PS4: Sony played the waiting game, and did not offer similar information about its new release. [In fact, it remained silent until yesterday, when it was revealed, after its competitor's announcement, there would be no used game limitations or mandatory online authentication.]

   Marketing Tip: Strategy is your friend. Listen and watch your competition. Their misstep can be your opportunity. Play it to your advantage but adhere to your target audiences’ needs. 

PEOPLE:
Xbox: Microsoft has a foothold in the gaming industry.Potential buyers were eagerly awaiting the news about the new Xbox One, dreaming of what the new console would offer. Did research suggest they wanted one console to serve so many entertainment needs (gaming, tool to access Skype over the TV and view TV programming). The details of the release have outlined these features but at the cost of usage limits. Potential buyers swarmed to blogs and online communities to express dismay about this.

PS4:  Potential buyers did not know how Sony would address these usage issues, and were wondering if these changes would become an industry standard. To everyone’s surprise, Sony proudly announced it would not be so restrictive. Online conversations are on fire, praising Sony and pouncing on Microsoft.

   Marketing Tip: Understanding your target audience and their needs are important but there are other people to consider. Your staff and team play a role in customer service and how your brand is presented through them.

Remember the 5 Ps of Marketing. It is a fundamental business tool that can help grow your business. Build on existing successes. Find new opportunities to interact and customize your products/services to meet your customer needs. Nurture your staff to project the attitude of your brand. Learn about and leverage their unique skills.

Be profitable in your marketing,
Sandra Hamway

-Sandra M. Hamway
marketing strategist and founder of Infuse Five

Infuse Five, based in Ottawa, Canada, helps associations and small and medium sized businesses with innovative marketing communications strategies. Our main goal is to grow your business.

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