Edward deBono and his 'surpetition' concept - worth thinking about!

Marketing and 4 p’s (or is it the magic‘20)?
- Time to expand our thinking

Quotation - Marketing - Marketing Mix    


The Marketing Mix(The 4 P'sof Marketing)


Marketing decisionsgenerally fall into the following four controllable categories: (notnecessarily in any order)

      (1) Product

      (2) Price – theone that’s gets far too much attention by everyone

      (3) Place (distributionand geographic location)

      (4) Promotion


The term "marketingmix" became popularized after Neil H. Borden published his 1964 article, TheConcept of the Marketing Mix. Borden began using the term in his teachingin the late 1940's after James Culliton had described the marketing manager asa "mixer of ingredients". The ingredients in Borden's marketing mixincluded product planning, pricing, branding, distribution channels, personalselling, advertising, promotions, packaging, display, servicing, physicalhandling, and fact finding and analysis. E. Jerome McCarthy later grouped theseingredients into the four categories that today are known as the 4 P's ofmarketing, depicted below.

Whata shame a wonderful ‘road map’ of even thjs limited (as above), stated vision,was so truncated by reducing it to 4 p’s alone! A bit like giving a road map toBrisbane that didn’t include such important identifiers as ‘check when you getto ‘Whyalla’ that you have made the right directional decisions. A hint thatBrisbane via Whaylla was a long way around and bound to cause problems! Betterlook for ‘Mildura’ to know you are on the right track (if getting there fastestwas the objective– otherwise if the purpose was retirement and just wonderingwas the objective, then Whyalla may be a great way to go? A ‘road map’, acomplete check list!

Thisanalogy might confuse but is given as an example of a check list with morereferences than collecting everything under ‘4’ and hoping you know enough todevelop a ‘drop down list’ of more identifiers.

So,the concept of only 4 p’s at the very least, misses the such important andunavoidable ‘p’ of ‘position! How can any of the p’s be considered without the‘p’ of ‘position’! What place to distribute, what channel to distributethrough, what actual product to produce, what price to charge without the ‘p;of position, what target audience to promote to?

Howdoes an ‘product matrix’ get developed without going through that importantconsideration of (5) ‘position’(price, quality, size, value, etc?)

A product matrix is astructure for analysing product information based on comparisons of variouscharacteristics such as color, size, material, quality, price, distribution, orany combination therein with the view of identifying opportunity or threat. Thecurrent offering and the ‘opportunity gap’ in the current or developing marketplace. The deBono (6) ‘po’!

Whenthe original ‘4 p’s are considered alone, the majority of effort is about‘price and product innovation’. And ‘product innovation too often is boughtback to price alone and what someone thinksthe market can bear. Obviously true marketers look past this but the majorityof focus and conversation is about price; intimes of ‘global crisis’ there is the defending call to ‘meet price of fail’!

Whatthe ‘market’ really needs is innovation and invention across the entire rangeof thinking and so to that effect lets consider the ‘stated 4’ and the  ‘secret ‘4’ of current thinking and theadditional ‘12’ listed here that bring the marketing mix to ‘23’! A usefulcheck list of potentially exceptionally important paradigm breaking, surpetitous thinking!

Price’, ‘product’, ‘promotion’ and theoddly named ‘place’ are important.Adding to those, to consider along side or even before are 

  • ‘Position’ – where the above somewhat ‘sacred 4’ and the new and energised 17 happily find their place and fit – are defined
  • (7) Pool Resources – collaborate, understand each others needs, ‘big pictures’, goals and work to achieve synergies where you can – look for surpetitious solutions using the power f ‘1+#...’
  • The already named but hidden(above)
    • (8) ‘People’ – do we need as many, doing the same job as eons ago or do we go to market using other methodologies and use people in other ways? Level of experience / product knowledge / ability to train clients to help support their own needs ….
      • From ‘people’ we need (9) ‘Performance management’ or we do not harness and maintain the effect and value of ‘people’ in fact they can become more a liability than an asset
      • (10) Participation is about ‘buy-in’ and development of ideas past the value of the initiator – people undertaking work they believe in –
        maybe (11) Passion should also be ‘p’ word? Have you ever encountered a ‘seller’ lacking passion and if so, how hard did that make it to buy?

o   (12) ‘Packaging’ – this isn’t just aboutputting less in and making it bigger, making it more colourful, adding oningredients or ‘fat content’ but about collecting purchase potential intogroups and associate selling, selling the product and after sales service asone, training and product, – some ofthese are done but usually just pale copies of another’s offer so much morecould be done

o   (13) ‘Physical handling’ – not just how theproduct gets to market but qualities, ease of access, need to purchasepersonally or not and again ‘so much more’

o   (14)‘Planning’ – strategy isn’t soimportant if implementation isn’t right. If channel training and appropriatepromotion (reach & frequency and target marketing) isn’t spot o, thebudgets run out the right people never get to know

Thereare the original ‘4’ ps brought into some perspective –as well as the somewhathidden ‘4’ with the associated ‘3’ mentioned within those ‘4’

How about if it was 24p’s?

Let’sget our minds off of the ‘original 4 p’s and consider the 23p’s including inaddition to those above

  • (15) Purpose – the very essence of the organization – is it just about pure profit, market domination or are there internal drivers of another nature – the raison d’être
  • (16) Paradigm recognition and then outside the paradigm, the box, thinking to find new ways, new opportunities?
  • (17)‘Process’ – getting the 95% picked right first time up to acceptable, the credits processed in the same month, invoices and statements that are reconcilable! Many an organisation has triumphed with less product differentiation and even higher prices because they were much easier to deal with. Web enabled ordering, stock availability, after hours access, stock tracking, correctness of price files etc etc etc If there was an order to the ‘ps’, then this would be far higher up!
  • (18) ‘Pre-negotiation’ – deBono talks about the concept of ‘with the benefit of hind sight’! In many if not most cases, we know what / how our client / customer (different terms for different psychographics / demographics) are going to react to our ‘offer’ and yet so often / too often we go into this thing mistakenly called ‘negotiation’ ‘or lamb to the slaughter’ just to be controlled by our client and our own lack of preparedness. Confidence. Market research. Why not anticipate the discussion and lead into a more controlled environment where we effectively ld that conversation to a point we want to achieve – and that is not about giving away margin but establishing a true win-win – one that allows the seller to maintain enough margin to service the ‘tomorrows’ and the buyer to prosper – much more than just dollars and cents!
  • (6) ‘Po’ - A "Po" is an idea which moves thinking forward to a new place from where new ideas or solutions may be found. The term was created by Edward de Bono as part of a lateral thinking technique to suggest forward movement, that is, making a statement and seeing where it leads to. It is an extraction from words such as hypothesis, suppose, possible and poetry, all of which indicate forward movement and contain the syllable "po." Po can be taken to refer to any of the following - provoking operation, provocative operation or provocation operation.
  • (19) ‘Potential’ – awareness of the business to grow particular clients and for clients to understand what other services are available ….
  • (12) ‘Providores’  - relationship with suppliers – quid pro quo etc / pricing / delivery / availability …..
  • (13) ‘Public Relations’ – 3rd party recommendation / testimonials / articles / journals / talks at clubs ….. sure these things can be include no ‘promotion’ but also easily lost
  • (14) ‘Purchasers’ – target markets, target audiences, influencers, decision makers, authorisers, uses – a different message, different features and benefits to each group – get it wrong, miss a market, spend the budget and not make the connection!
  • (15) ‘Persuasion’ – this ‘p’ attracts to so many of the ‘p’sis about conception and implementation and sustainability
  • (16) ‘Perception’ – different people will have different perceptions of you, the sale person, your organisation, the product, the competition, their market etc and so you need to recognize this as the same offer need not be made to everyone
  • (17) ‘Politics’ – the politics of the organization (or at least the perceived politics) can so alter thinking patterns that it is difficult to find new ways – pre-emptive thinking getting in the ay – "they wouldn’t allow that’, etc
  • (18)‘Pre-emptive’ – this ids where a new thought is high jacked by the insecurity of daring to think of a new way believing that the decision not to allow is already made, maybe through past experience or just lack of confidence to put up a new idea
  • (19) Personality – it is great dealing with you! You are friendly, a good listener, an open communicator, fun!

Go on, argue about thiswhy don’t you.

Arguethat knowing that ‘Whyalla’ isn’t on your route to Brisbane and how that wasn’timportant to know! How ever you slice it, a useful checklist to help define theoffer and to give courage to find new ways to connect to your purchaser is ifever now, imperative. Margins are tight and so finding alternatives whilealways important is now ever so much more.

Knowingthat even want to go to Brisbane and that you didn’t need to go via Whyalla inorder to make the best of the opportunity in Brisbane or, that the realopportunity wasn’t the trip itself.

Ifone uses these ‘21’ as a check list then the focus will rightly move from theconcentration on price that seems to over power so much of all discussion inmarketing. There is so much more to ‘getting it right’ and the hiddenopportunity is on the more abstract such as ‘getting the process right, makingsure the people are fully on-board and passionate.


Putyour offering to the test – where can you expand your communication, yourconcepts, your overall ‘offering’ so that your differentiation stand up and youcan define your market to suit you!

RexBuckingham, Principal
6th June, 2009

The ‘24’ p’s -Product; Price; Place; Promotion; Position; People; Performance Management;Participation; Passion; Packaging; Physical Handling; Planning; Purpose;Process; Pre-Negotiation; Po; Potential; Providore; Public relations;Purchasers; Persuasion, Pool Resources, Perceptions!

The marketing‘check-list’ to put you in an advanced sustainable situation.

‘P’ to consider


















Pool Resources






Performance Management












Physical Handling Planning





















Public relations



















Othercomments / considerations

Fartoo much attention is placed on ‘price’ – the customer talks about it a singledimension, the sales person talks about it too often in a single dimension.

A(20) project for $800,000 which takes 8 weeks longer than planned has cost thebuyer 2 months loss of interest, dislocation between accommodation, confusionto any marketing plans etc etc – a partial hand over, imperfect work, badneighbor relations all of these things impact on the buyer and can add up tomany thousands of dollars.

Ifthe project doesn’t come within the expected scope, then either the currentsale will suffer or referral and repeat business will.

Peoplewant certainty and in place of that clear and prompt communications.