Partnerships – The new “P” in the 4 P’s of Marketing

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Executive Summary

The “classic” 4 P's of Marketing – Price, Product, Promotion, and Place was introduced in 1960 and had a long virtuous run. However, Sean MacDonald, Chief Digital Officer at McCann Worldwide argues changing consumer behavior of Millennials and Gen Z (colloquially known as zoomers) is making these 4 P's obsolete. He proposes a new set 4 P's of Marketing: Partnerships, Personalized, Positioning, and Purpose. 

“Partnerships” is one of the new 4 P’s of Marketing. And to no one’s surprise, we whole heartedly agree with Sean! We continue to hear similar and strong sentiments across our customer base. Let’s dive in.

“Classic” 4 P's of Marketing

Original Classic 4Ps of Marketing

The “classic” 4 P's of marketing are place, price, product, and promotion. By carefully integrating all these marketing strategies into a marketing mix, companies can ensure they have a visible, in-demand product or service that is competitively priced and promoted to their customers. 

Losing relevance of 4 P’s

In a world that is dominated by millennials and zoomers, traditional 4 P's of marketing is quickly losing relevance. “Why”, you ask?

  • Price as an indicator of value is insufficient – Millennials and zoomers want brands to mean something and to embody their values and sentiments
  • Promotion – They don’t resonate to “canned” promotions. They create their own stories
  • Place – The web is a pervasive common denominator for learning, finding, and influencing products and services. So, there’s less opportunity for “Place” differentiation
  • Product – Millennials and zoomers aren’t as focused on having things as earlier generations. They prefer new experiences

So, how do we market to millennials and zoomers when the old 4 P's don’t work

Today’s marketers are facing a never-before-seen challenge - How to meet the needs of these cohorts, whose spending power is increasing by the minute? That’s where MacDonald’s argument for the new 4 P's comes in. 

Let’s examine the new 4 P’s – Purpose, Positioning, Personalized, and Partnerships, a bit more closely.

New Classic 4Ps of Marketing

Purpose – Millennials and zoomers are a higher consciousness generation that are very inclusive and look to brands that share their values and sentiments.

For example, companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook have committed to reducing carbon footprint and are big purchasers of clean energy. “Their influence is huge,” says Eduardo Insunza, director of global strategic customers at Iberdrola, the Spanish electric utility company. “These guys have a lot of market power.” Financial Times

Positioning – With such strong experience-oriented mindset, context becomes especially important for a generation more focused on life-changing experiences than on things. 

For example, in April 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown Apple showcased how we can still connect, communicate, and create even if stuck at home. They shared a uniting vision of humankind finding new ways to express themselves and show support for one another during these challenging times.

Personalized – This new generation wants something they can put their stamp on and that feels personal or personized to them.

For example, to mark its 20th anniversary, easyJet launched a data-driven campaign that used customer data to build individual stories, such as when and where they first travelled with easyJet and predicted where they might go next. They E-mailed over 12 million personalized stories. Open rates were over 100% higher than the average easyJet newsletter – with 25% higher click-through rates.

Partnerships – When brands favored by millennials and zoomers work together, there is both a halo effect and potential broadening of the lifestyle story of the brand that can happen.

For example, Uber’s partnership with Spotify lets Uber riders easily stream their Spotify playlists whenever they take a ride. This makes the Uber experience feel more personalized and encourages Uber riders to subscribe to Spotify Premium. Both brands gain access to new, broad audiences in this business alliance.

Why we care about the new 4 P’s?

When we saw “Partnerships” as one of the new 4 P’s we were at once taken in. But what does this mean for Pronto's Ecosystem Management platform and for our customers? As we dug into MacDonald’s article, we saw our characterization of ecosystem relationships and design assumptions align squarely. But, more importantly, we are elated to see how seasoned experts in the industry are recognizing how quickly this market is undergoing a paradigm shift – Partnerships and Ecosystems are critical to building a sustainable competitive advantage and delivering on your value proposition to end customers. 

First, we designed our platform to support any category of partner constituent and goal.

It can be a non-GTM partner relationships such as Technology partners or GTM (Go to market) Resell relationships with channel partners or GTM Co-sell relationships with strategic alliances. The result is to create greater value for all constituents than what can be achieved on their own.

Second, our platform is collaborative and not hierarchical. 

Our platform assumes all ecosystem participants should succeed in both their organizational and shared goals. It is built on fostering a trusting and transparent relationship across the members. The result of this assumption is that all constituents of the ecosystem are treated as equals in this platform. It means all partners have equal access to data and information in a secure environment, while protecting data privacy and adhering to organizational business rules. More importantly, our platform not just focuses on automating the organizations side of the process but also on automating the partners’ side of the processes as well.

Third, our mission is to help companies “Unlock the collaborative ROI of your partner ecosystem.” 

Through the lens of the new 4 P's, the traditional definition of value is evolving from “The benefit that a customer gets by using a product to satisfy their needs” to “The values of the buyer which may serve a high personal, societal, or global purpose is key”. It also ensures that what we say and do is “Personalized” and includes relatable narratives that come from our customers and partners. It is something we can learn and share with our customers.


The new 4 P's supplies insights for companies to survive and thrive as the buying power of millennials and zoomers grows by the day. Recognizing how the power of partnerships and ecosystems address this major paradigm shift, Pronto’s Ecosystem Management platform supplies ecosystem leaders a secure, flexible and scalable system of engagement that can bring immense value to our customers. 

To learn more visit  or contact us at [email protected].