How to Expand Your Vision to Include the New 4 Ps of Marketing:
Pearls, Pumps, Purses, and Power
by : Gerry Myers

Published on, December 4, 2007

While working on my MBA, I learned that the essentials of the marketing mix focused on the 4 Ps—Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. The Marketing Mix has been instrumental in forming the core positioning for products in the marketplace for more than half a century.

Marketers, however, need to expand their vision to include the new 4 Ps—Pearls, Pumps, Purses, and Power. To capture the $0.85 that women spend out of every dollar spent, it is time to rethink not only what marketing departments are doing but also what business schools are teaching.


To ensure that current marketing strategies are providing the best results possible, it is essential that they be continually evaluated and analyzed.

Consumers, especially women, aren't static, and marketing efforts shouldn't be, either. Even though large amounts of money are frequently spent on research, development, and advertising, companies often miss the boat. Their ship has come in, but they don't know it...

One of the worst marketing strategies that surfaced in the mid-50s—and, unfortunately, is still around—is Pink.

Pink is not a marketing tactic, it is a color. While everything from automobiles to typewriters to tools and guns have turned pink in pursuit of women, most have been extremely unsuccessful in their efforts. In fact, many have lost the very customers they were seeking.

Misguided strategies die hard. Even today, as sports teams realized they could greatly increase their merchandise sales by making team apparel in sizes that fit women—an excellent discovery and one that should be incredibly lucrative—many are making the apparel in pink rather than the team colors. That makes no sense to me.

Understanding and Marketing Utilizing the New 4 Ps

To be successful in the marketplace today, CMOs, other marketing and advertising executives, and companies must understand the importance of the New 4 Ps—Pearls, Pumps, Purses, and Power:

·         Pearls signify the prosperity the female customer represents to businesses. Her increasing discretionary dollars can make or break even large corporations, and will in the years to come. The woman consumer is truly a precious gem and should be treated as one.

·         The Purse holds trillions of dollars that women will spend in the next decade. In many sports, the prize is referred to as the Purse. Think of the woman consumer as a valuable prize you need and want to secure. Without winning her Purse, you will lose not only this race but also the prospect of success in the future.

·         Pumps represent the force women propel in the marketplace. She isn't afraid to put on those pumps and walk out the door if she doesn't get respect, fair prices, and professional treatment. Women today wear these pumps when shopping, climbing the corporate ladder, running their own businesses, or managing their households.

·         Her Power is endless. Women have the money and the power to purchase. She should be sought after by you not because she makes up 51 percent of the population but because she spends 85 percent of the money. She is the buying agent for herself, her family, her business, and often her corporate purchasing department. She is both the inheritor of great wealth and the maker of it.

Businesses must comprehend the strength and potential that women have and devote the resources necessary to create marketing programs that incorporate the concepts of the new 4 Ps. As corporations spend money on conducting focus groups, generating research studies, redesigning products, revamping stores, and rethinking strategies, they should question whether these activities are the best ROI on the dollars.

To get more of the Purse, they might want to consider spending money on a more timely and innovative approach—an external women's advisory board (WAB).

A WAB will...

·         Provide honest answers, insightful recommendations, and innovative concepts that will have a positive impact on your bottom line

·         Develop a relationship with the company, giving it credibility in many different market segments and locations

·         Furnish referrals of potential clients and employees

·         Supply continuous long-term feedback on products, Web sites, shopping experiences, product designs, advertising, and much more

·         Serve as goodwill ambassadors for your business's services and products in the community

In learning what women really want, companies will also discover what they don't want, thus avoiding costly mistakes. Having a WAB shouldn't be something you think you cannot afford; it is something that in today's fast-changing market companies wishing to stay ahead of their competition must have.

Women Worldwide

Women's controlling wealth is not an American phenomenon, it's worldwide:

·         A phrase initially coined by The Economist, womenomics refers to the amplified purchasing power of women on the economic and cultural front. The womenomics effect it described last year argued that the future of the world economy lies increasingly in female hands. The report further stated that over the past decade or so increased female participation in the paid labor force has contributed more to the growth of the world economy than either China or technology. "Women are becoming more important in the global marketplace not just as workers, but also as consumers, entrepreneurs, managers and investors," the report said.

·         Today women make up 47 percent of the workforce in France. Credit Agricole Asset Management Japan Ltd., a French-affiliated asset management company, has formed an all-women project team responsible for developing investment products for women. It offers various programs, including marketing plans, education, and seminars for companies that sell these products.

·         In the UK, women started 38,100 businesses in the first six months of last year, up nine percent from the same period the previous year, according to the latest small business research from Barclays. Almost 40 percent of full-time female employees earn more than their partners.

·         Holding Up Half of the Sky: The New Women Consumers of Asia is a gold mine of information and insights demonstrating the increasingly important role of women as a driving force of consumption and market development in Asian countries. This book estimates that female consumers will have $500 billion of spending power by 2014.

·         Southeast Asia's economic success is due primarily to women, who hold two-thirds of the jobs in the export industry, the region's most dynamic sector. There were 337 million female employees in China by the end of 2004, accounting for 44.8 percent of the total workforce.

·         In New Delhi, India, developers recognizing women's purchasing power and decision-making authority are creating malls that cater only to women. The North Square, with the tagline "Here, woman is a queen," carries all the popular brands. There is a children's play area with caretakers so women can browse and shop without the hassle of children.

Companies need to realize that they must include marketing strategies that incorporate the new 4 Ps, not just in the United States but worldwide.

In Conclusion

Price, product, place, and promotion are still important components of getting a product to market successfully. But even more critical is recognizing the needs of female customers, catering to them, talking to them, and listening carefully to what they are saying.

The new 4 Ps—Pearls, Pumps, Purses, and Power—should provide food for thought as you create strategies to address the largest single group of consumers anywhere: women. Invest in programs and products that appeal to women. They determine your future.


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