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Nirmalya Kumar is the author of “Marketing as Strategy: Understanding the CEO’s Agenda for Driving Growth and Innovation,” published by the Harvard Business School Press. The four Ps are an essential part of marketing, but it’s not enough to differentiate products based on the four Ps. Product, price, place and promotion can easily be copied by competition. By focusing on the three Vs, a company can sustain differentiation.

Customer Value


The 3Vs of marketing mix

The 3V marketing mix represents an alternative approach to the marketing mix concept. It is a method which aids in determining a company´s product strategy as well as product portfolio.  In contrast to the traditional 4P mix, Mr. Kumar defined his marketing mix with the help of 3 Vs:

Valued customer– seeking the answer to the question – Who to serve?
Value proposition – seeking the answer to the question – What to offer?
Value network– seeking the answer to the question – How to offer?
The three mentioned question roughly correspond to the traditional economics questions: „What, how, for whom?“ To determine the individual “Vs”, professor Kumar recommends the following sets of questions:

Valued customers:

Who are the customers?
Are there customers who are dissatisfied with the current offer of the branches on the market?
Are there customers who are not served by the branches of the market?
How to address customers who do not feel the need for the products of the organisation?
Who uses, buys, pays and influences? What are their selection criteria?
Is the target segment broad enough to achieve profit?


Value proposition (offer):

Which main needs does the proposition of the organisation fulfil?
Does the company´s value proposition fulfil the needs of the valued customers?
What benefits does the organisation really offer to the customers?
Is the value proposition of the organisation sufficiently different from that of the competition?
Do the value pronouncements of the company have real support from the company´s products?
Is the positioning of the organisation based on attributes which will bear comparison with the competition?
Is the positioning too highly branched to appear trustworthy?

Value network:

Is the organization capable to serve valued customers with the valued proposition with profit?
Does the organisation have the abilities which correspond and are essential to the valued proposition?
If not, where or with whom can it obtain them? With whom can it cooperate?
Can the servicing of new customers have a negative effect on the existing customers?
If yes, can the effect be eliminated?
Which items of the valued proposition which are too costly can be eliminated, limited or outsourced?
What is the revenue from the scope of the value network?
Is the scope of the value network sustainable without a loss of flexibility?
How does the value network differ from the rest of the branch?
What is the break even point of the organisation?
Is it possible to lower it through a slight limitation of the scope of the value network?
What is the 3V Marketing Mix in practice for?

The 3V model may be used as an independent alternative or, ideally, as a supplement of the traditional 4P or 4C mix. In this way, the organisation will gather a better and a more complex picture of its marketing activities.

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