The 4 Ps of Marketing Applied to T&D/ Learning/ Knowledge Management

Running your Training & Development/ Learning/ Knowledge Management shop “as a business” requires thinking about Marketing – not marketing with the small “m” – but Marketing with the big “M” – where the small “m” is too often thought of as advertising/ promotions, etc.

In my past working with Marketing organizations in F500 firms – for the individual contributor roles in Product Management and Brand Management – and for the management of those types of functions – it became apparent that big M Marketing functions were pretty sure that they were in control of the reason-for-being for their Enterprise.

Auto companies were not in the typewriter business they were in the horizontal and/or vertical businesses of auto-making and selling. What they were involved in and what they were not involved in directly they partnered with others for control or to spread the risk.

A well-known model for Marketing is the “4 Ps of Marketing” – Product, Place, Price and Promotions. I became familiar with this model when working for AT&T-Network Systems in the mid-1980s.

The 4 P’s provide a simple framework – much as ADDIE provides a framework used after the 4 P’s are decided – for thinking through, planning, organizing and resourcing “to make it happen.”

In the context of a Training/ Learning/ Knowledge Management function – it can provide guidance – as well as a framework that will be better known and understood by your internal customers (minimally those in Marketing and the top executives) as to what you are thinking and trying to convey. Using their models versus Training/ Learning/ Knowledge Management models and language.

It’s their jargon – use it! This jargon of Marketing is going to be better known than our jargon!!!

The 1st P: Product

Product refers to both Products and Services. Given, most likely, more opportunities that you can shake a stick at – or reasonably resource – where should you focus, and what should you not do? And who should decide?

If you think that the Marketing organization in a modern Enterprise makes these make-or-break decisions on their own and then simply implements and informs management – you’ve got that proverbial “another think” coming. In other words – think again.

Important in this thinking – are what are the alternatives for the Customers? And where do you have some advantage, or disadvantage – and where do you have parity with those competitive sources?

The 2nd P: Place

Place (often refered to as Distribution) is where can the customer “get it?” Do you deliver the Products/Services to their doorstep – or do they have to come to you – or both? How exactly is that being envisioned? What are the resources needed to make it happen – and at what cost?

The 3rd P: Price

What are your prices – or costs to the customers – for the P/Ss at the various Places? And how does that compare with the Customers’ realistic alternatives?

The 4th P: Promotions

Advertising/ promotions gets the word out about the other 3 P’s. How you do this depends on the situational context of your Enterprise.

Need more – talk to your Marketing leaders about their version of the 4 P’s and use that – not the 4 P’s if they are not using this model.

Use what is more familiar to your internal customers and stakeholders even if it means that you and your organization need to climb some learning curve!

And may the Pforce be with you!

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5 comments on “The 4 Ps of Marketing Applied to T&D/ Learning/ Knowledge Management

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