The Three “M”s of Marketing


It seems that marketing has been defined is such ridiculous and out-of-date terms lately that I thought a mini guide to what marketing is and is not was in order. (This little tirade was prompted by a marketing graduate student I recently encountered who seemed to have no clue what marketing actually was.)

Let’s start with that classic marketing definition  … the Four Ps – product, place, promotion and price. This well worn definition worked well in the dominant days when a product manager (PM) at a large packaged goods company had total responsibility for a product  – from development to marketing. The PM at Gillette or P&G had total life cycle management for that razor or fruit juice and the four Ps worked well in that model.

Today though that model is wholly inadequate for many businesses particularly technology companies. Product development in technology is not about buying pineapple juice concentrate or manufacturing packaging. The products are often complex technology platforms requiring a level of expertise beyond a typical product manager. 

Or let’s take marketing in an online world. A marketing plan for an online business would look nothing like a marketing plan for a traditional packaged goods product. It would include sections outlining viral marketing and SEO plans and it would spend a lot of time analyzing site statistics.

So you see why it does not work. Let me, therefore, put forward a definition of marketing that is broad enough and relevant enough to apply to virtually any business model out there.

I call it the three Ms of Marketing.

It breaks down into the following –

M #1 = Magic

M #2 = Muscle

M #3 = Method

#1 – Magic

Marketing requires a sense intuition, imagination, insight and ability to see the world through your prospects eyes. Traditionally, marketing spent a lot of time researching these questions but in the fast paced almost real time business environment of today, by the time the research is done – the market has moved.


It is sometimes hard for people not very intuitive to be willing to let go of research to guide their decisions. These people either are not intuitive or don’t have faith in their intuition. Either way, they need research and facts to shape their ideas. This to me seems too inefficient. If you start from a reasonably well grounded theory based your intuition, there are free and quick validation tools out there (e.g. free survey tool give you some feedback.

In the end, M #1 is the sizzle behind the product or brand. It is what people react to when deciding if they will purchase your product.

#2 – Muscle

This is the personal leadership skills to get people to believe in you and how you imagine a product’s positioning, plans and tactics. This is where M #1 is first tested. Can you convince your peer group that your intuition and insight are right.  

This is not as easy to accomplish as one might think. First, this M needs time, 6 months maybe more. And you gain their trust by being true to yourself. Not always easy in some environments. But if you are consistent and proven over time to be right – then they will follow where you lead.

Patience and persistent.

#3 – Method

This is the executional nuts and bolts of marketing, a.k.a. marketing operations. In today’s complex marketing that has a lot of technological tactics and programs built in, marketing operations is the engine for the marketing organization’s success.

No ideas – no matter how brilliant – is not worth much if it never sees the light of day. The marketing operations of marketing is not what one typically thinks of as a marketing requirement – but it is nevertheless one of the pillars of marketing.

So that dear friends is what I believe the new marketing model looks like. A good marketing leader understands this model and populates a marketing department with people who collectively have the three Ms covered.

Forget the four Ps – this new model is how to win in the marketing wars.      


Judy Shapiro


4 Responses

  1. I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

    – Sue.

  2. A very good approach I must say. Still, you second M (muscle) includes Ps (promotions, planning) 🙂

    BTW, all links from lead to BAD REQUEST page.

  3. hh. love it )

  4. A small offtopic comment on this, Im using the google chrome webbrowser, but it looks like your blog is not displaying correctly… Just to let you know. Regards.

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