From the 4P’s to the 4E’s
From Product to Experience. Where product features and benefits used to be king, the focus must now expand to the entire experience of interacting with the brand, from the product itself to the experience of buying, trying, living and sharing the brand. Peloton clearly had a comprehensive experience in mind when it created its first bike. Far from the typical piece of exercise equipment that readily becomes the default clothes hanger, the company has successfully cultivated a unique lifestyle brand complete with telegenic instructors who offer guidance through social media, sexy, branded workout gear you can buy to match your favorite coach, individual and team competitions to build “stickiness”, in-person experiences, and more. Of course, the experience translates to a stronger revenue stream: besides the hefty price for the bike, Peloton is able to lock members into a monthly subscription fee, in addition to apparel purchases and fees for other experiences.
From Price to value Equation. When considering the cost of a product or service, the price point itself isn’t the only factor that’s relevant. Consumers are willing to pay for the full experience, as long as the benefits received outweighs the total cost of acquisition, including both money spent and effort required. Factors such as ease, convenience, speed, and social affinity are some of the drivers that impact the value equation and level of price sensitivity. Amazon’s Prime membership provides an interesting case study on the importance of looking at the total value equation. While the service commands a premium price, the bundle of benefits it offers – free shipping with no minimum, lightning-fast delivery, access to exclusive content – has become so popular with shoppers that the company has had to limit new memberships at times during peak holiday seasons. Clearly the value equation works well for members and for Amazon, building highly loyal customers who spend nearly 2.5 times more than non-Prime shoppers.
From Place to Everywhere. Enabled by digital and mobile technology, the new “place” is everywhere the consumer is, online, on-the-go, and yes, still in-stores. Shopping has become a 24/7 activity and the consumer wants it readily available wherever they are, at work, at home, at play, or in the stores. A clever, early example of this was with online grocer Peapod, for whom “everywhere” included the commuter train station. As part of its early launch strategy, the company added virtual billboard “stores” to the list of places where consumers could engage and shop. For the daily commuter, the convenience of ordering needed items from the train station billboards before boarding their train and having them delivered by the time they got home provided a convenience that was truly appreciated.
From Promotion to Engagement. No longer a one-way street where a brand message is broadcast through a handful of media vehicles like TV and print, promoting a brand today must be a two-way process that seeks to build an on-going relationship between the brand and consumer, one that strengthens the bond over time. One heart-warming example is Tide laundry detergent and its Loads of Hope program that offers free laundry services to families during disasters like Hurricane Katrina (when the program started) and helping Texans through the recent winter storm power outages. While not intended as a promotion in the traditional sense, this investment by the company provides not only a much-needed service, but ultimately will help to reinforce the brand relationship with those families and the millions of others who appreciate the unique engagement strategy.
After 50+ years, a makeover for the 4P’s of marketing is long overdue. The new Marketing 101 lesson in strategy mix should focus on the 4E’s of marketing in the digital age: Experience, value Equation, Everywhere, Engagement. Maybe we can get it into the curriculum at Wharton – what do you think, Prof. Lodish?
How Do You Find The Right Connections?
We all have a powerful tool in the palm of our hands, and chances are unless you live under a rock, you are on social media. There are groups, chats, and forums that you can join to find the right people. We have never been more connected even though we are physically distanced. Reach out, and get conversations going, you never know where they will lead. One key that I found early on, is that you may meet some (or a lot) of people that aren’t quite right for your business or needs; however, they may be right for someone else you know or have spoken to. Help be a connector and pay it forward, I guarantee it will come back and then some! Happy connecting!!!
I always wanted to bond with my father, but all of my visits were about working for him. He would arrive at my mom's house and shake my hand to see if I was a hard laborer and had "man hands." I was seven years old and started to take my mom's Emory board and sand my palms before he arrived so that he wouldn't say that I had baby hands. My visits with him usually included digging ditches, trying to dig a tunnel from the home, through sewage until I hit the pipeline fifty feet away. Talk about a shit job. He always assured me I was learning the ropes of life. I now know this was his excuse not to pay me!
In ninth grade, I caught a 100-pound shark and it turned out to be delicious. My father's wheels started churning and he decided to buy World War II landing crafts for pennies on the dollar, patched the bullet holes, and made shark boats out of them. We towed six of them from the Norfolk Virginia shipyard and brought them to a rundown beach area outside Cape Maine, New Jersey where you needed a machete to cut a path from road to shoreline. It looked like the invasion of Normandy. Unfortunately, someone vandalized the boats and not a single shark excursion was launched. I did get an education in how not to develop infrastructure.
After he moved to the Pocono Mountains, Dad bartered for, traded, and purchased 75 gigantic mules to offer or paying customers to saddle up for an adventure ride. As he said, "Recreation is the number one industry in the world." I never researched to see if this claim was true. On weekends I drove up from Philadelphia along with three of my roommates and helped him build Pocono adventures on mules, taking tourists on mule rides up and down ravines. I must admit, Al did grow the business and it lasted for over 25 years, but he never went past scraping by. It's that hand-to-mouth style of living that i always knew wouldn't serve my dreams. A strong foundation is the key, and it's best not to build on hay and manure.
One of my goals in business has always been NOT to follow in my father's footsteps. However, I ended up inheriting that "entrepreneurial" spirit. I've done multi-level marketing several times inviting friends to see the plans for products such as liquid nutritionals, fuel additives, and of course, Amway. I never did become a diamond direct distributor, but I sure enjoyed the spray-on shoe polish. Always find the shiny side.
Mid December 2019 after my standup comedy performance at the Colonial Theatre outside Philly, my old friend from third grade Kent Griswold showed me a pilot he made called Bizz Show. The creative producer mind that has served me well for a thirty five year career in show business kicked in, and we re-imagined the show it is today, Wolf PAC. It appealed to me on many levels, but one selfish bonus I get is to be around brilliant business minds on the Wolf PAC team. Being part of this is mutually beneficial too, since we can combine skill sets and put out an amazing show that teaches, inspires, and entertains. The comedian comes in handy, bringing a lightness to the set and the business itself. Move forward, and have fun doing it.
I do poke at myself and encourage others to by self deprecating too. Now, I have had several successful businesses and produced several TV and film projects, and have a "celebrity net worth" high enough to have my son's fraternity brothers think he's rich enough to have to pay for the beers, but to kick it to another gear takes partners and collaboration, which this solo artist never really had. So happy to have the PAC by my side now.
Now I can put my investments into what the experts advise instead of putting my money into a crazy idea with no defined plan. I have become a bonafide "entrepreneur." And I don't need to dig a ditch or have man hands to succeed!
The Wolf PAC is also to serve as a platform for encouraging businesses to pay it forward by devoting some of their resources to helping local charities and worthwhile causes in their communities. This should be an integral part of everyone’s lives.
Working with stand-up comic and producer, Craig Shoemaker, a rekindled friendship since we went to school together from 3rd to 7th grades, has been a hilarious and exciting roller-coaster all leading to the production of four successful episodes of The Wolf PAC just prior to COVID shutting the world down. It has been a great learning process (e.g. I never knew what a “show-runner” was before), fun and nerve-wracking to be in front of the cameras, and quite surreal that my show which started as what many argued was an impractical idea has morphed into a series on Amazon Prime. The Wolf PAC is just one example of how a dream can become reality, so I encourage you to continue dreaming but to also put pen to paper, talk to your friends and advisors, test the market, and just do it. Life is too short to have regrets. Find a need, find a solution, and make sure you are passionate enough about it to lose sleep over it while your “baby” grows into something beautiful.
Kent C. Griswold, Founder Wolf