4Ps of Marketing Explained for the Age of Market Fragmentation

The Transformation of Marketing from Scaling to Un-Scaling

The Twentieth century was all about mass marketing and marketing to scale wherein marketers were sure that consumers could be broadly categorized into specific patterns according to demographic, income, class, race, gender, and other categories.

This in turn, led to marketing theories that sought to explain how marketing could be accomplished based on the above categorizations and how positioning and marketing strategies were determined according to the 4Ps of marketing.

The 4Ps of marketing is a concept popularized by the famous author and expert, Philip Kotler, who is familiar to all students of business schools and marketing professionals. However, the Twenty First century is witnessing an Un-scaling of markets wherein mass marketing is no longer the norm and instead, niche marketing, targeted marketing, micro-marketing, and trend spotting are the new determinants of marketing strategies.

These developments are being driven by the adoption of cutting edge technologies such as Big Data powered Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and the emergence of social media such as Facebook and Twitter that have been game changers as far as the present times are concerned.

The 4Ps for the Age of Market Segmentation

For the sake of terminology, we can call this the Age of Market Fragmentation wherein niche and specialized marketing is the norm and where marketers can no longer count on the traditional markers of buying behavior and consumer theories.

Hence, we need a new approach to the 4Ps of marketing and therefore, we need to first explain how each element of the Marketing Mix works for the present times.

To start with, the Product or the first element for fragmented markets can be seen in the way marketers are increasingly launching products in such a manner that they combine the earlier era specifics of different features for different markets with the new dimension of completely different products that are tailored to niche segments.

For instance, take the case of the niche Smartphone apps that are so specific to the fragmented consumer segments that there is no resemblance to each other and instead, what we have are very micro level apps catering to the very narrow consumer segments.

Gone are the days of One Size Fits All marketing or the famous slogan of the pioneer of mass production, Henry Ford, who proclaimed that You Can Have Any Color As Long As It Is Black. Indeed, the new norm is to drill down to very niche segments and target such segments through AI powered Algorithms that personalize consumer experience to the extent that marketers can be forgiven for thinking that each consumer is a different market segment.

In other words, mass marketing is over and the high degree of personalization ensures that no two consumer segments have any resemblance to each other.

Dynamic Pricing

Similarly, the Price charged to consumers is no longer a static one where marketers offer their products at the same price to the entire spectrum of consumer segments. Instead, Dynamic Pricing driven by combinations of algorithmic processes determine what price has to be offered to what consumer segment and the price varies according to the seller and the conditions of the market at any given point in time.

For instance, the concept of Surge Pricing that is popularized by Ride Hailing Apps such as Uber bases its price on the real time fluctuations in demand and supply. In addition, online retailers such as Amazon base their price on the determination of consumer segments as well as regional considerations apart from technology driven factors such as purchase history and shipping times.

Omni-Channel Marketing

Turning to the Promotion element of the marketing mix, as can be seen from the discussion so far, marketers now select the marketing channels based on very specific market conditions and each channel has its own marketing strategies.

Thus, we can see the difference in the way the Television Advertising, Print Ads, Online Ads, Mobile Ads, and Outdoor marketing differ to such an extent that to an untrained eye, they look like marketing for very different products rather than the same one. Indeed, the so-called Black Ops Advertising which targets niche and micro markets is done in such a manner that each channel and each segment are differently marketed.

Glocal Approach to Place Marketing

The Fourth P of Marketing which is Place follows the patterns discussed so far and this can be seen in the way marketers not only have to navigate the linguistic and cultural determinants, but also need to tailor their marketing strategies according to niche and micro marketing.

In other words, the choice of place is determined in a Glocal manner where the Global Brand Image is adapted to Local Conditions as can be seen in the way the marketing strategies of multinationals such as Coca Cola and its bestselling soda, Coke, is sold based on the specific place or the region.


What this means is that marketers can no longer rest on having a marketing strategy based on the earlier paradigm and instead, they have to depend on technology to guide them through the marketing process.

Whereas earlier, technology was an adjunct to the marketing process, now it is the reverse where it determines the marketing strategies. While some may be bewildered by this specialized marketing, it is our advice to the readers that they better get acquainted on this new paradigm of Un-Scaled markets where economies of scale are now replaced by diffused marketing strategies.

To conclude, we anticipate that the future would be even more market fragmented and hence, it makes sense for aspiring marketing professionals to learn the new rules of the marketing game.

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Marketing Management