Automotive marketing has changed forever. The 4 Ps of marketing – product, price, place, and promotion – have been reinvented thanks to changing consumer behavior. The new 4Ps of Automotive Marketing™ are product, price, place, and person — reflecting the heightened importance of people in creating relationships that lead to sustained growth as opposed to one-time transactions. To explain the significance of the 4Ps of Automotive Marketing, Cars.com CMO Brooke Skinner Ricketts talked with the CBT Automotive Network. Read on for highlights, and watch the video for the complete conversation.
Why “person” has replaced “promotion” in the 4Ps of Automotive Marketing
Historically the automotive industry has always looked at marketing as product, price, place, and promotion. Those 4 Ps came from a world where the best job marketers could do was to shout our message to consumers and tell them what we wanted them to hear. But consumer behavior is shifting, and with that so are consumers’ expectations. So, it’s ever more important that we connect with people where they are, which is why we have shifted the fourth P from promotion to person.
And while that doesn’t mean that promotion is dead from a marketing perspective, it does mean that as marketers we need to be much more tuned into people – their needs, wants, and desires, and really meet them where they are and differentiate based on the experience that they’re having versus the message that we’re sending them.
The beautiful thing about technology and digital marketing is that we have more tools than ever today, which enable and empower us as marketers to connect and understand people as they come to us to experience what we have to offer.
How the 4Ps are evolving
Product, price, place, and person remain quite important. I think what we are going to see is the emergence of more of that fourth P, person. We’ve already started to see shifts in terms of what consumers are demanding from a price perspective. They’re looking for more transparency than this industry certainly has ever seen. I think a lot of that is driven from industries outside of automotive where consumers’ expectations are being defined.
Place is more than the lot where I’m going to buy a car. Place is about all of the places where a consumer might come before they come to you. It’s about understanding that journey – where they have been and where they are coming from — and about how where they have been is going to influence them when they walk into your showroom.
Products need to be personalized
From a product perspective, the dealer audience knows as well as any how complex the product choice has become. As we think about navigating consumers to the choice that is best for them, I think that product is less about “These are the products we have on offer” and more about “These are the products we think would be right for you.” It’s critical to understand what’s important to the consumer, what assumptions they are coming to the table with, and how we can meet their needs.