The Forgotten P from the 5P’s

The Forgotten P from the 5P’s

Dependant on how you have been taught marketing, you would have come across the 5P’s or sometimes even 7P’s of marketing. It covers at the very least product, price, promotion, and place. If you are using the 7P’s model, you can add process and physical evidence to the mix. Then it gets a bit hazy, the fifth P for some is people for others its packaging. There is something to say for the latter though; it is great if your product is excellent because of the people involved. Great employees, management and excellent customer service, will undoubtedly make a great product. But is that relevant if consumers don’t buy your product in the first place?

Some would argue that the packaging is the last battle you must win to the war for the consumer’s grace. That said, you can have a great product, reasonable price and even better marketing campaign, if you, at the point of sale, get beaten by a more attractive packaging, it might have been all in vain. In marketing funnel thinking, the packaging is the last effective chance to convince a consumer before they make the choice of which product to buy.

You know the expression “don’t judge a book by its cover”. That expression exists because people usually do. People will weigh the cover of a book into the decision to purchase it. If you have a potential award-winning book, but it’s let down by its cover, consumers might decide not to spend their money on it. That’s why so many white labelled products or cheaper alternatives will mimic the market leader. The packaging instils brand recognition and trust which makes the ‘copycats’ a reasonable alternative in the consumer’s mind. The packaging also has the power to set the mood. Most coffee products will have darker and black colours to reflect the intense flavour and aroma of coffee. Healthy options usually have some sort of green packaging.

Companies that offer services will not have traditional packaging. Their alternative is the way they decorate their offices. For example, accountancy and consulting firms will keep things professional, with modest colours, sharp lines and not too much embellishment. This basically says, we are professionals, and we will not take the responsibility lightly. Creative agencies and new tech start-ups will have more colour in their interior decoration, the odd pinball machine, and a wall of graffiti. It’s all about the ‘we are creative and young’. Companies in the healthcare industry will have calmer colours to reassure clients that feel stressed or anxious. Expertise provided in a medical fitout will ensure that the office interior will have the desired effect of assurance, hygiene, and professionalism.

To succeed in business, you need to have a quality product, backed by a robust marketing machine and a sharp price. Just make sure all that hard work isn’t undone by either poor packaging or office space and a front desk that doesn’t carry on the message and brand you want to convey. Give your product or service the packaging it deserves.


Alison Morgan