Social elements aside, one thing I took from my University education was the ‘marketing mix’, a foundation model for businesses, historically centered around product, price, place and promotion, otherwise known as the 4Ps. In services marketing, an extended marketing mix is used, typically comprising 7Ps, extending the original four by process, people and physical evidence. I was recently informed that performance has been added, making it a nice round 8ps. There may be others!

In my early career I used this model as a practical framework for marketing planning, but as a business owner 25 years on, I can honestly say only 2Ps remain critical to the success of the business; product and price. This does not negate the importance of the others, but without a product that people want, at a price they consider good value, the remaining Ps don’t have a chance.

Over a decade ago, Outcider was formed by two subscribers to the ‘marketing mix’, starting a journey into software development with limited experience in technology! Inevitably we made many mistakes and I for one confess that the product was probably not as good as I thought it was at the time. Regarding ‘price’, we did our competitor research, but in a market that starts low then profits from ‘additional extras’, it was never that clear. In truth, we often sought agreement with clients through negotiation, avoiding a more standard approach to pricing.

Today, we have learnt from our mistakes in business and from our experience in the media and stakeholder analysis marketplace. We are about to launch Version 3 of our original product, which I finally believe is as good as I think it is and genuinely differentiated from our competitors. We have also developed a structured pricing model that provides flexibility, fairness and value to all parties. It’s only now that I release a critical P is missing from the marketing mix…passion!

As someone who values simplicity, I sincerely apologise for adding another P, but without passion we would not be in business today. It was passion that gave us the belief to start the business and passion that fuels that belief when failure challenges us to continue. It is passion that puts profits back into product development, even when cashflow is tight. Last, but by no means least, it is passion that our clients value most through a shared purpose (I won’t add another P), namely to embrace change, aim for better and not settle for the status quo.

‘2P or not 2P’? I still believe product and price are the foundation of any successful business, but passion can’t be excluded from the mix.