Do traditional marketing frameworks still apply?

In the graduate marketing management course that I teach at St. Edwards University I spend a significant amount of time presenting the traditional marketing frameworks.  The Four P’s (Product, Pricing, Placement, Promotion), SWOT analysis (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats), and Michael Porter’s Five Forces analysis (Threats from other Similar, Threats from New Entrants, Threats from Substitutes, Supplier Power, and Buyer Power) are some of the frameworks that we talk about and debate.


These are traditional ways of analyzing a business, product, service, or market area.  These have existed for quite a long time – certainly before the Internet had the incredibly disruptive and seismic impact on traditional market delivery methods such as print advertising, radio, PR, and events.

Additionally, I spend a considerable amount of time talking about market communication goals and execution using the traditional framework of Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion.  These also are very established focus areas for marketing execution.  They were established back when ad agencies were setting metrics and goals for expected performance from different types of marketing communications.

In reviewing these with the students, the question was asked – ‘How relevant are these frameworks given the growth of social media, social marketing, and the changing vehicles/power of traditional communications vehicles such as newspapers, magazines, and events/tradeshows.

My answer is that these frameworks are even more important than ever before!  Frameworks exist to help bring order out of chaos.  The more convoluted and disparate the communications vehicles and methods become, the more profiliferation of user-driven communications and marketing (see Yelp for an example), the more that the traditional frameworks can be used to help organize that marketing efforts and needs.  If you are a restauranteur seeming to lose ground based on LivingSocial, Groupon, Yelp, etc being used by your competitors, then using tools such as a SWOT analysis or a Five Forces analysis may help you organize what the appropriate market response should be.

Using the Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion model can help you determine the most appropriate and cost-effective way of marketing the response.  Maybe offering a promotion through LivingSocial IS the right way to get people to try your products (Conversion), maybe getting a local food reviewer to review the product and posting it on social media sites may be a good approach (Consideration), or maybe sponsoring a local charity will raise the visibility of your business (Awareness).  Understanding this model can sharpen your market response and focus the dollars that you spend.

In this time of social media proliferation, shifting advertising and marketing vehicle power, and constant solicitation of the marketing dollar, it is MORE incumbent on marketing organizations to rely on the traditional frameworks.  Rarely have they had as much relevance as they do now in this state of marketing chaos.

Posted in CEO

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