Why should packaging be the fifth P in the marketing mix?

The world today looks a lot different to what came before. And yet, while a lot has changed, so much remains the same. The “4Ps of the marketing mix” is a theory that helped shape the global marketing industry, and is still being taught in marketing classes today.

To summarise, the 4Ps are: product, price, place and promotion. While this may sound obvious, a promising product can fail – and lead to substantial losses – if one of these key elements is not right.

Over the last few decades, people have added to and expanded on the 4Ps but it remains a widely accepted and credible marketing tool.

Adding packaging to the marketing mix

We recently unveiled our new pan-European marketing campaign “Keep on Questioning” – a series of thought provoking questions that seek to challenge the status quo and encourage the business community to see packaging in a new light. One of the questions we posed was “why should packaging be the fifth P in the marketing mix?” We ask this question because we believe, passionately, that packaging is as important as product, price, place and promotion.

But why do we feel this way?

Well, the reality is that packaging has always been more than just a means of protecting a product - it is a key weapon in a marketer’s armoury, helping products stand out in a challenging retail environment.

Creating visual disruption

It’s vital that marketers understand that it’s not just about primary packaging. Retail ready packaging (RRP) is fundamental for brands to sell products. With 82% of buying decisions made at the point of purchase where products are displayed, it’s vital that your RRP is as sophisticated as your primary packaging. Strong RRP enables brands to integrate a marketing campaign into their packaging.

At DS Smith, we collaborate with marketers at the early stages of product development and encourage them to think about how RRP can effectively tie in with other promotional activity and achieve greater results with shoppers.

It’s easy to overlook packaging, but the right packaging can enhance your brand values and make a tangible difference to sales performance. For savvy marketers, it should be one of the first elements considered when launching or promoting a product.

If we’ve convinced you that it should be the fifth P in the marketing mix, why not get in touch with us to discuss how to get the most from your corrugated packaging.