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The modern marketplace is crowded, noisy and unpredictable.

Promotional ads, emails and robocalls attack our senses and psyches like a swarm of locusts.

We’re bombarded with benefits. We’re overwhelmed by choices. We’re demoralized by soulless greed.

For decades, the Four P’s of Product, Price, Promotion and Place were the essential elements of good sales and marketing campaigns. Cover off on those properly and you can dominate the field.

Jeff Fromm, EVP of local ad agency, Barkley, says the Four P’s are no longer enough. Consumers require more for their hard-earned dollars. They want to feel better about their purchases. They need reasons to believe in and care for brands who want their business.

Fromm says the way to gain a real competitive advantage today is through careful cultivation of a Fifth P: Purpose.

In his latest book, “The Purpose Advantage: How to Unlock New Ways of Doing Business,” Fromm lays out a compelling case for building a business around purpose.

Purpose is plainly defined as “an end to be attained.” But what does that mean in business?

As Fromm discovered through his research and interviews, purpose is about being a force for positive change, putting people first, and building relationships among customers, employees, communities – and even the world.

He found purposed being practiced at MOD Pizza, Glossier beauty products, and Seventh Generation cleaning products.

He also found traditional key performance indicators like faster growth rates, higher profits, and lower turnover, that were way above industry averages.

Purpose is the key to a sustainable competitive advantage and all the business benefits that come with it. Fromm lays out a series of frameworks and exercises that help you develop more purpose in your life and business.

According to Fromm, purpose is more than a simple set of words and sentences, and it’s easier said than done. Purpose must be:

Foundational – It’s not a gimmick. It’s clearly defined, deeply held, and imbues every part of the business, from product development to innovation to customer experience.
Action – Principles must be put in motion and acted upon. There should be tangible activities that reflect it.
Societal – It must be concerned about the well-being of others, the planet, and the future.

To be fair, purpose is not a product development or marketing corrective for everything. Purpose is only a valid differentiator when all else is equal.

Brands who do purpose well understand a purpose advantage is simultaneously functional (meets their needs as a consumer), emotional (evokes an emotional response), and societal (contains a deeper purpose).

But when purpose is clearly defined not only does it help businesses grow, but it makes pizza taste better, brings beauty to all, and creates cleaning products that preserve our world.

Have a great week.

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