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James Cherkoff

Marketing has always been about product development - it's one of the 4Ps, the fundamental marketing lesson. It's just that the industry has become obsessed with Promotion. More here....

Kevin Dugan

My response to James' post at his site...
James: Great post. Maybe what we're seeing here is less one of the four P's dominating and more of an evolution of the customer's role in, and impact on, the four P's.

Skype *should be* defending the product. They're first to market! They live by different rules. Rules that will change when a real competitor emerges in their space. They should also be engaging their most passionate customers in a dialogue. Is this promotion? Not necessarily. Is it product development? Possibly.

Regardless, I do not think any of the P's are dead...just changing. We'll still have marketing-centric companies (P&G) and product/engineering-centric companies (Skype) they'll just work differently with their customers in an age of participation.

Now for a consumer example of how the marketing spend/promotion CAN make an impact, look at Target vs. Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is the top retailer...their annual revenue makes up more than half of the top 10 retailer's annual revenue. Then there is Target as the fifth largest. Target spends about $100 million more than Wal-Mart on marketing. After a few years of Target making designer products affordable, Wal-Mart is changing its approach to compete with Target.

The product is still crucial in this example, but a very creative approach to marketing, backed by a bigger budget, is making an impact for Target. Why else would Wal-Mart advertise in Vogue?


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