the matrix of 49 stories

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process. Opinions expressed by Contractor the contributors are theirs.

  • Marketing strategies are a “mix” of decisions about products, price, place , promotion, people, processes and physical evidence.
  • The best storytelling companies use ONLY seven priority story families
  • The combination of the “marketing mix” with the seven stories gives you a matrix of 49 possibilities. Almost a story for every week of the year.

As you well know, all businesses, regardless of their size or market, use marketing to sell. However, not everyone knows that marketing is more than just “promotion” or “propaganda”. There are at least six other levers that can be activated. And if you add storytelling techniques to that, the impact can be multiplied many times over. In this article, I’ll tell you more about these settings, stories, and how to relate them.

Four pes

Sixty years ago, when the economy was predominantly industrial, Professor E. Jerome McCarthy pioneered the study of marketing. I wanted to understand the discipline and improve how it works. So, after years of study, he found that the companies that did the best marketing made more or less conscious decisions in (only) four relevant areas:

  • Product : that is, the company voluntarily decides on the product it sells. Imagine you are Coca-Cola… Are you going to sell 2 liter bottles or individual cans? Aluminum or glass containers? … Each modality you offer meets a specific need.
  • Price : that is, how much do you sell each of your products. Or, also, what discounts will you apply, or what offers will you make (2×1?), Or if you accept payment in installments or in cash …
  • Distribution (Where place in English): that is, where will you sell your product (s)? In super exclusive stores (like Apple, for example) or in any corner (like Budweiser, for example)? On the internet or in a physical store? Or both?
  • Promotion : that is, how will you communicate to your customers that your product exists? Through what channels? How many times? With what message? With what tone?

In English, these four parameters begin with the letter “P”. Therefore, the combination of tools is called “Marketing Mix” or, also, “4P Model”.

From product to service

In the 1970s and 1980s, other researchers began to find limits to McCarthy’s model. For example: if 4Ps worked for the industrial world, were they still valid in a world where added value was generated in the service sector? Or, even more: would it still be valid for e-commerce? The answer was no. Or not at all.

In 1981, (then) young professors Mary Jo Bitner and Bernard H. Booms announced to the American Marketing Association a new perspective: McCarthy’s model was to be expanded with at least 3 other “Ps”, which are as follows:

  • People (or “human factor”), which are crucial in the marketing of services. For example: if you have to decide which barber to go to, would you prefer a rude and rude barber, or someone who is kind and caring? And if you have to go to a store, do you prefer someone with little or no knowledge of the catalog, or an expert person?
  • Process , that is, the way in which the company organizes its work. If one day you need the services of lawyers or architects, you will surely choose those that offer you the best guarantees of punctuality, accuracy, precision, professional thoroughness, communication and continuous attention. Or do you prefer them to be chaotic and unpredictable?
  • Physical proof (English: Physical proof). That is: unlike what happens when buying a product, services are generally intangible and not always standardizable. If you want to know what you are buying before you pay, you will want to receive a sample (or as close to the real thing as possible) to understand what you are buying. When you go to a website or a travel agency for sightseeing, you will surely want to see photos of the hotel where you will be staying, so as not to have any surprises.

“People”, “Process” and ” Physical Evidence” are three concepts that also begin with “P”, so that since 1981 the “Improved Marketing Mix” model is called the “7P”.

It’s still valid

Perhaps in a few years other scientists will emerge who will come up with new “Pes”, but, for now, the 7P Marketing Mix continues to function well.

Think about the e-business (or face-to-face) you want and see how brands strive to excel (or not) in each of these levers. Organizations such as Netflix, M & M’s, or one of the world’s most beloved brands last year, are characterized by offering products (or services) that adapt to people’s needs and wants, to prices that suit the target they are. targeting. directed, which are promoted in many ways (in person, online, virally …) and which are distributed through all kinds of modalities, whether electronic or physical.

In addition, these organizations maintain a reputation for excellence in all their processes, they try to provide excellent treatment and service to the customer (people), and generally they manage to pass sufficient physical evidence to their future customers, i.e. through exhibition halls. , demos, workshops, or even recommendations and testimonials from other users.

Seven types of story

I make a point. A few years ago, I made sure that there are seven major types of storytelling that all (good) businesses use and combine consciously or unconsciously. I have generically called them “repositories” because they are buried in the foundations of all organizations and sometimes go unnoticed.

I promise I’ll describe them better in my next post, but for now, think about these seven types of stories:

  • Company or brand
  • Product or service
  • Eminent people within the organization (for example, founders)
  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Other stakeholders
  • Case studies

Of all, stories can be told. In fact, the best companies do it every day., for example, runs campaigns featuring its employees. Nike, for its part, has always put forward stories driven by its customers (as well as sports stars). Mercedes Benz takes inspiration from Bertha Benz (19th century) to support its brand, and Vodafone tells real and interesting and illustrative case studies for new customers.


If you look closely, by combining the 7Ps of the Marketing Mix with the seven types of stories I just touched on, you can get up to 49 different combinations that can fuel, say, 49 weeks of content on your social media. . I show it to you in the following matrix:

Following the matrix, you could, for example:

  • Create stories of any type (or column) that help you understand why your product has a high or low price (tables 8 to 14 of the matrix). Take a look at this video of VOSS mineral water, for example, which explains the characteristics of the product and justifies a price difference of sometimes 4000% compared to a liter of ordinary water.
  • Promote your product via any platform, as in the case of British Airways (tables 22 to 28 of the matrix).
  • Talk about the people that are part of your company and the excellent treatment that your employees provide to the customer, as in the case of Balay Appliances (Table 32 of the matrix).
  • Tell it quality process used in your organization to differentiate itself from the rest (this Chipotle video is masterful, for example, and we would find it in table 36 of the matrix).
  • To give physical proof what you offer through employee testimonials, customer reviews, or product descriptions. An example is that of the employee management platform Niikiis, which explains a story that would fit well in boxes 44, 46 and 47, for example.
  • Explain, through stories, why your product or service is as is and comes in certain sizes or features (boxes 1 to 7). For example, the iPhone 12 and this funny story of the cook who mistreats him.
  • Tell why you distribute in some places and not in others, such as when Apple explains how the Apple Card works (boxes 15 to 21).

In summary…

Do not confuse marketing with promotion, as there are other factors (price, people, product, place , process and physical evidence) that are also part of your marketing strategy.

Don’t confuse storytelling with marketing, because stories tell a lot more, in addition to the benefits and characteristics of products and services.

Finally, organize your marketing knowledge and combine it systematically with your narrative ideas. You will see how you increase your reach all over the place.

About Florence L. Silvia

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