Contrasting the Ps of Marketing vs. The Value Approach


Comparing and Contrasting the

Ps of Marketing vs. The Value Approach

The traditional marketing mix is defined as the 4 Ps, including product, price, promotion and place or distribution. These elements of the marketing mix have widely been considered the foundation of marketing strategies, yet lacking in defining how value is delivered is to customers. The value approach that includes the cycle of creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging value is in use with many companies to overcome the limitations of the 4Ps. The intent of this analysis is to compare and contrast the 4 Ps approach to marketing vs. The value approach.

The Marketing of a New Tablet PC

Using the example of tablet PCs, it is clear how different these approaches to marketing can be. Apple chose a value approach in launching their initial iPad product family and continually reinforce this messaging today, concentrating on the customer experience over product and price alone. Many Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) require marketing to deliver on the goals of increasing the customer satisfaction levels of a new product, including the improvement of customer loyalty, all centered on the creating, communicating and delivering of value (Kotler, 2004). Value is what galvanizes the Apple iPad marketing strategy together. While Apple selectively uses each aspect of the 4 Ps to support its value messaging, the 4 Ps are not necessarily the foundational elements of its marketing strategy. They are supporting factors to the main marketing message of delivering and exceptional customer experience, one that is highly valued by the customer.

In contrast, the launch of a tablet PC by Hewlett-Packard and its eventual cancellation as a product shows what happens when a marketer chooses to focus first just on the 4Ps and heavily skews marketing messaging to just features. HP is a very engineering-centric company and prides itself on its analytics expertise. This pervades how they use the 4 Ps to communicate product features and benefits. Rarely will HP break out of the 4Ps and show the customer experience above all, as the product mindset is so strong they concentrate on that.

Apple and HP both rely on the 4 Ps of marketing to get their message across and must rely on these components to successfully launch and sell products. The difference is that Apple has created a more effective value-based message based on a clearer view of what matters most to customers. Their focus is more on transcending the 4Ps to create a uniquely personal value of the customer experience. This approach to marketing shows that the 4Ps may not be enough to fully explain the dynamics of marketing where customer experience matters most (Goi, 2009). For Apple the 4 Ps are executed at the same level of precision as HP, yet Apple chooses to translate the product-centric messaging into a uniquely personal message to customers. Apple has also aligned every aspect of the 4 Ps to the specific needs of the customers, making the entire marketing strategy unified over time. HP uses the same four foundational elements yet does not work to create a unified customer experience as Apple does using value-based marketing.

Marketing Mix

Analysis of Sony Electronics’ Marketing Mix

Identifying and analyzing the marketing mix of a particular organization requires knowledge about its elements, which are the product, pricing, place (channels of distribution) and promotion of the organization’s products and/or services. In this paper, the marketing mix of Sony Electronics is analyzed.

The primary reference used for the analysis of the organization is thru Sony’s online web site, The web site provides complete information about the products and services offered by Sony, whether purchases were made online or ordered and bought personally in Sony stores.

Sony’s range of products demonstrates that the organization fulfills its customers’ needs — that is, as a business company that specializes on electronic products, Sony must create and produce electronic products that are in demand among consumers at present. Thus, the company offers products such as computers (desktop, notebooks, and laptops), digital cameras, camcorders, televisions, as well as portable audio products such as the Walkman and Discman. Apart from these products, Sony offers services or “solutions,” which include offering photo printing of pictures and images taken by a Sony digicam or camcorder, small business packages, educating consumers about electronics and Sony’s products, and wireless solutions, specifically those using Microsoft programs.

The wide range of products from Sony are packaged using colors of silver, white, onyx black, and its latest offering, the burgundy color. These colors are applied to all of Sony’s electronic products, giving them a futuristic yet sophisticated look. This is one of Sony’s strongest points, since the modern look of its products makes them more appealing than the competition. The company’s product strategy clearly centers on product packaging, and Sony uses this important feature to its advantage to entice customers, loyal and potential ones, to buy and patronize their product.

The placement or channels of distribution adopted by Sony to sell their products and services is through the Sony web site and stores, which are located not only in the U.S. And Japan, but across various countries in Europe and Asia-Pacific as well. The accessibility and complete information included in the site makes it a perfect venue for online shopping and business transactions between Sony and customers be conducted.

Promotion used is also effective, primarily because Sony has captured the most accessible forms of media by which to advertise, through print (magazines and newspapers), TV, and online. Sales promotions during holidays and special days serves as additional appeal to consumers, in the form of discounts and rebates on Sony electronic products, paraphernalia, and even shipping costs. It also helps that a 24-hour customer service support is available online, which answers some of the customer’s inquiries that cannot be satisfied or provided by web site information.

Lastly, pricing of the electronic products are well within the range of average prices of the products with similar specifications. If a product is quoted to have a price above the average cost of the product in the market, this price is justified by having special features and specifications that cannot be found from other brands or the competition. In effect, product and service variety, effective media promotions, accessible channels of distribution, and low-to-average pricing makes Sony’s marketing mix more effective and suitable for its target market of young adults to the adult market who are interested in communication and entertainment technology.

Goi, C.L. (2009). A review of marketing mix: 4Ps or more? International Journal of Marketing Studies, 1(1), 2-15.

Kotler, P. (2004). Marketing and the CEO, Why CEOs are fed up with marketing. Strategy,, 14-14.

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