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Article -> Marketing's Fifth P

Date Added: October 2006

Everyone is familiar with the four P’s of marketing: product, price, promotion and place. An important (and missing) P is the fifth P – people. When looking at marketing, people makes sense. People provide the service and information to customers – they are the main contact point and critical to keeping customers happy and engaged.
People represent your organization in multiple ways – their attitude and knowledge, the way they dress, their helpfulness, etc. are all reflections of your organization. It is your role to provide the necessary training and tools for your people to better reflect your organization.
Here are 10 steps that organizations can take to empower the fifth P in marketing:¹
  1. People are number one. It’s important to support and train your people. They need to be treated well and feel like they are treated well if you expect them to provide great customer service.
  2. Train your people. Your people need to be more knowledgeable than your customers and competitors, especially if the product/service has a high involvement decision for customers.
  3. Develop a customer investment philosophy. Obtaining new customers is five times more expensive than retaining existing customers. Train your people to focus on the needs and wants of your existing customers first.
  4. Be customer-friendly. The number one customer complaint is that people are slow to service customers. Sometimes, customers interrupt work duties; however, it’s not an interruption because they are the reason your business is successful.
  5. Respond to customers. Have an A.S.A.P. attitude when getting back to customers. If you are still trying to figure out the problem, simply let them know that you are working on it.
  6. Show empathy. As the old saying goes, “put yourself in their shoes.” What if it was your project deadline that didn’t get met on time?
  7. Research. Find out why you lose customers. Use questionnaires to ask customers “if they would buy from you again, would they recommend you to others, why were they unhappy, etc.”
  8. Become a turnaround specialist. Sometimes, customers are dissatisfied and have complaints. If you resolve their complaint quickly, 95% will do business with you again. This is an opportunity to turn lost customers into continuing customers.
  9. Reward exceptional service. Service is critical for complete customer satisfaction. Rewarding customers with great service can be the difference of retaining current customers versus having to constantly obtain new ones.
  10. It’s O.K. to brag a little. If you’ve won an award – business of the year, service award, etc. – it’s O.K. to promote – just be willing to live up to it!
As employee turnover and retention is a growing concern among organizations, it is worth going the extra mile to incorporate these 10 steps into your strategy. Consider the “fifth P” as a leverage tool to keep your current customers engaged.
¹Bressler, Martin. “Tips Enable People to Better Reflect Firm.” Marketing News. May 1, 2006.
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