Philip Kotler applied to The Customer Journey

Jesper Lindgren
5 min readDec 21, 2022

The point of view, that something as old and used as the 4 Ps of Marketing, can hugely enhance the modern Customer Journey for something as simple as a ticket for a concert or football match.

The Customer Journey is not a new phenomenon, neither is strategic awareness on the subject. Business executives across markets, borders, culture and technology, have tuned in on this for decades. One can argue that ever since Philip Kotler defined the “Marketing Mix” as 4 controllable variables determining how companies relate to and influence the customer and market, the customer journey has been the primary strategic focus of most successful companies, just under different names.

The 4 Ps of Kotlers Marketing mix could and should be considered the soil in which the modern interpretation of the customer journey is planted. The reason being, that only then we can be sure that the customer journey delivers value to the customer and the company. Many failed customer journey projects can find its root cause in this detachment from what is the core of a successful market driven company.

Illustrating how the 4 Ps of marketing is the soil in which a fruitful customer journey grows.

A little-known area in the customer journey, that often suffers under the lack of proper business and marketing management, is the product and product development. Defining what is actually the product, is however increasingly becoming an essential part of managing a successful customer journey, and thereby a core business necessity.

Philip Kotler defined the marketing mix back in 1967 but has developed and defined multiple other business models and basically defined how a market driven company should be led and managed in a free market. With that in mind it makes sense to go further with his five product levels, and in this case the underlying drivers of how value is attached to a product by the customers aswell.

Kotlers 5 product levels and underlying drivers

The guest at a venue needs to verify that they are allowed to enter. That is the customers need, the core of the product, it has a function, a solution to a problem, a tool for a task. Paper tickets have over the years copied various generic means from issued banknotes, stamps and other official issued documents relying on their ability to ophold trust, to ensure that the ticket would signal value and credibility.

The customers trust in the value of their ticket, sets the standard for the expected product, which means that paper tickets over time had to adopt unique serial numbers, specific description of the event the ticket was for, and by time also the actual guests name.

The point is that the customers perception of a tickets value continuously develops, but at no time does that mean you can just skip th history, delete how a ticket once was perceived, consider the logic in your smartphone holding an exact digital image of your creditcard, why? Is their any need for that to be able to make a wireless payment? Of course not, it is because the customer needs provenance.

Applied to the venue ticket industry, it clearly illustrates how technology led product development, has provided the world with remarkable and fantastic solutions, but at the same time diminished customer value, by shoehorning guests through the ticketing and access process, forgetting that the ticket in itself, is more than just the token for granting access, it is in fact a vital part of the product, a semantic marker for the entire experience.

Simplified, the most common customer journey approach lack confidence in the “potential product” reducing it to the “core benefit”, and therefore goes directly from the purchase to the retention phase, forgetting what the ticket once was and still could be.

For an entire industry to ignore the technological, and for that matter environmental, benefits of the mobile ticket technology is obviously not an option, instead venues, arenas, stadiums, concert halls, museums, attractions, theatres, exhibitions etc. should focus more on the mobile ticket and its possibilities.

Instead of bending yet another knee for the profound possibilities of modern technology, make it a slave to the deepest emotions and feelings in the human mind.

Instead of just preaching the principles, showing how they could be applied seems advantageous.

In the upcoming preseason Aston Villa and Birmingham City are meeting each other in a friendly match, also known as Second City derby, dating back to 1879, paper tickets from these derbies are sold on ebay for a lot of money. Why that is can be explained in many ways depending from ones psychological perspective. But fact remains that the paper ticket is more than just a receipt. How could this be incorporated into the mobile ticketing ecosystem? First of all by accepting that the ticket is important in itself, and that it represents history, it documents fan devotion, it is unique.

A digital ticket is not unique in the same way as an old school ticket, but it could be. First of all, no ticket should ever be deleted from a guests or fans history. But what if all tickets were NFTs? Then the documentation for them being unique would be indisputable, and they could be sold as collectibles, just as paper tickets are. Just one simple idea that could rekindle the “augmented product” level of the ticket.

Staying true to the basic market-oriented approach, dissecting the ticket in accordance with Kotler’s principles, a quick comparative analysis reveals how the mobile ticket could not only incorporate a lot of the value the old ticket provided, but hugely increase the value for the customer.

The mobile ticket could never be the same as the paper ticket, it could be more, but only by executing the principles of good market driven management.

Several companies follow the marketingpath towards the mobile ticket market, and no doubt that they hold a significant competitive edge on those having a narrow tech or sales focus, where the ticket is nothing but a receipt for the money transfer from the customer to the company.

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Jesper Lindgren
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46 year old father of 3 wonderful children. Holds an MA & CBA degree - CEO, CMO trough various companies over the years.