The concept of 4Ps in Marketing was introduced by E. Jerome McCarthy in 1960. Since then all marketing professionals have been taught about the 4Ps in their Business schools. The Marketing mix, which includes Product, Price, Place & Promotion have served most of the marketing executives well and have yielded them results. However it’s been almost 6 decades since its introduction and marketing has evolved and requires changing the model to fit the modern marketing challenges. Additionally the 4Ps model was more company focused than the customer.

Many marketing experts have since then provided new frameworks like Dr. Jagadish Sheth’s 4As and Robert Lauterborn ‘s 4Cs. Also there have been variants of the 4P model extending it 7Ps and 8Ps. However modern commerce and globalization has thrown a very grave challenge for Marketers which if not addressed could potentially destroy their brand. A problem that has killed brands in spite of the marketers having ensured that the 4Ps , 4As or the 4Cs are in place. A problem, which is as big as $2 Trillion and growing at 14% annually. A problem that is global and affects all verticals.

What we are talking about here is counterfeiting viz fake products. Counterfeiting is highly prevalent globally but in Asia it has taken the shape of a monster that needs to be addressed by companies and marketers urgently.

Marketers who have spent hard effort and time in ensuring that their brands are priced correctly, promoted well, distributed at right places and has all the features, fall prey to the counterfeiter who has simply introduced fake products but with the same brand & packaging.

A Company that does not have a brand protection strategy is bound to face brand value erosion sooner or later and could potentially end up killing the brand and the company. The Brand protection strategy might see resistance from other departments as it forces them to rethink the status quo however its important that the strategy sees the light of the day else very soon the product and company might bite the dust. Another common reason for receiving pushback to brand protection from other folks in a company has been their concern for increase in cost. However it is important that they realize that band protection is an investment and not an expense as the ROI on this has been evident in multiple cases.

While brands need to adopt technology and new packaging, they need not spend their effort on building technology to implement their strategy. What they need is just the will, the right leader and team to ensure that the implementation happens. There have been some really good solutions brought out by different companies(in pic) that have helped brands in giving a unique non-reproducible and non-copyable identification to each unit of their products. Brand protection which was not only expensive but futile is now proving to be cost effective and potent against counterfeits thanks to new technologies and improvement in mobile penetration.

Companies that have invested in brand protection have seen dis-proportional return on investment to the tunes of 200x. Besides the improvement is revenues the most important thing a strong protection strategy helps achieve is a happy and a loyal customer which is what the new models and frameworks had sought to achieve. So next time you come up with a marketing plan don’t just limit it to 4Ps, 4Cs or 4As, make sure it is 5Ps, 5Cs or 5As.

20% of most products sold are fake which means companies are leaking 20% of their revenues. Also the revenue degradation is not limited to 20% as eventually consumers start losing faith in brands due to the substandard quality of products they receive which albeit are fake but unknown to the consumer.

Hence it is imperative that the marketer now doesn’t limit herself to 4Ps but adds another P to her arsenal for Protection against counterfeits or if she is following 4Cs then another C for Counterfeit Protection and if 4A then another A for Anti-Counterfeiting.