If you want to supercharge your marketing skills, you have to master the four Ps of marketing. The four P marketing mix is a surefire way to optimize your marketing efforts and drive sales. Marketing is both an art and a science. By applying the various elements of the four P marketing mix to your audience and customizing them for your business, organization, or clients, you can build a marketing campaign that’s bound to be successful. Today, we’ll explain the elements of marketing mixed with examples that will show you exactly how to use the four Ps of marketing.
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The 4 Ps of marketing
First, we need to explain what the four Ps of marketing actually are.
Product refers to the goods or services that you offer your customers. This includes design, features, quality, brand, packaging, and labeling for marketing purposes. A business must determine all of these aspects of a product to meet the needs of its target customers.
Your product is your bottom line– if you don’t have a solid product and a solid marketing plan for that product, it doesn’t matter how good your other marketing elements are. You can’t make sales if you don’t have something worth buying.
Price refers to the amount of money a customer pays for the product. It involves considerations such as cost of production, profit margins, and competition. A business must set a price that allows it to make money while still appealing to customers. There is a fine balance between what the product is worth and what the customer is willing to pay; a smart marketing strategy will carefully toe this line.
Place refers to where the customer needs to go to get the product. This can mean physical stores, or it can be a virtual place like an online marketplace, e-commerce shop front, or direct sales through social media. The primary consideration here is to ensure that the product is easily accessible to target customers.
If your place is virtual, part of your marketing plan should focus on website design. You will need to choose a good platform to host your business, and you will need to optimize for mobile. In 2023, this is absolutely necessary.
Promotion is what many people traditionally think of as the end-all, be-all of marketing. In this context, promotion refers to the various communication and advertising techniques that a company uses to reach and persuade its target customers. This includes advertising, sales and deals, public relations, direct marketing, personal selling, and inbound marketing campaigns. Promotion today looks very different than it did even ten years ago, thanks to the ever-present juggernaut that is social media and audiences’ increased resistance to interruptive advertising.
Mastering marketing with the 4 Ps
Now that you understand what the four Ps are, it’s time to consider what you can do to take your marketing to the next level. It’s one thing to say that you should be concerned with the four Ps, but what can a business or marketer actually do with them?
Every product that you sell or service that you offer needs to be carefully considered, not just for what it is, but for what it can offer. Today’s audiences respond best to products that can solve their problems or offer them a solution they hadn’t thought of before. Here are a few key elements of the product that can help you sell more and market more effectively:
- Product design: This involves considering the features, aesthetics, and functionality of the product. The product should be designed to meet the customer base's needs, but it is better if the product can somehow anticipate those needs. Selling your product as a solution to a problem your customer doesn’t even know they have yet can be very effective, so design your product or service with that in mind.
- Product quality: The product should meet the standards of quality that customers expect. This includes aspects such as durability, reliability, and performance. Today’s consumers also want their products to be sustainable and will pay a premium for eco-friendly products.
- Packaging and labeling: The packaging and labeling of the product should be eye-catching and appealing to customers while also providing important information such as ingredients, usage instructions, product benefits, and lifestyle appeal.
- Positioning: The company should position its product in the market in a way that appeals to target customers. This involves considering aspects such as price, features, and brand image. (Remember, the four Ps are interconnected. You will have to use all of them to position your product correctly!)
Price is a critical factor in the marketing mix and can have a significant impact on a company's profitability and competitiveness. There are some elements of price that are often somewhat out of a company’s control; for example, companies can’t do much about supply chain issues, raw materials costs that factor into the price of the final product or additional costs incurred by the manufacturer during production. However, there are many things that a company control, including:
- Cost of production: The company should consider the cost of producing the product, including materials, labor, and overhead expenses.
- Profit margins: The company should set a price that allows it to make a reasonable profit while remaining competitive.
- Competition: The company should consider the prices of similar products offered by competitors and adjust its price accordingly. Undercutting is not always a good strategy!
- Customer economics: The company should consider the economics of its target customers and set a price that is affordable for them. For example, if you’re marketing a product to college students, your price will need to be lower than if you were marketing to their established, settled parents.
In the world of e-commerce, the place has very different considerations than brick-and-mortar retail. For many online businesses, place means an online storefront… but did you know that 90% of those close within their first 120 days? Giving proper consideration to place is one of the most important things that a business can do and that a marketer can recommend. Some of the key elements to mastering place include:
- Availability: If your customers can’t access the product, they can’t buy it. It’s as easy as that. Make sure your website is easy to navigate, and your checkout process is smooth.
- Convenience: Modern consumers want convenience; they want access to the products they want at the push of a button. Without online ordering and speedy delivery,
- Reach: The company should choose distribution channels that reach its target customers effectively and efficiently. For example, if you’re trying to reach a younger audience, you should meet them where they are and use apps with integrated storefronts.
- Customer service: What kind of customer service channels do you have access to? Are your distribution channels effectively staffed and equipped to handle customer inquiries and orders? You need to make sure that you have the ability to manage your storefront effectively.
Promotion is often seen as the primary job of marketing– it’s how people find out about your product or service, after all! But without a good product, a good price, and a good place, even the best promotion won’t sell your product. It’s only one of the four Ps of marketing! Examples of elements needed to master promotion include
- Defining the audience: Identifying the target audience is crucial to creating an effective promotion. A smart marketer researches the demographic characteristics and preferences of its target customers to develop promotional strategies that catch and hold their attention. For example, if you’re marketing to younger customers, you should know that they are almost twice as likely to buy something recommended by an influencer as other demographics.
- Brand messaging: Branding isn’t just about the design language attached to products! A business should have a consistent brand message across all its marketing to create a strong brand identity and build brand recognition. Everything from visual elements to the tone of voice is important for building a brand message.
- Channel variety: Very few successful marketing campaigns rely on only one marketing channel. Marketers can combine inbound and outbound campaigns, sales promotions like discounts, email marketing, social media marketing, and more to create a wide net that brings in more interest and attention.
- Tracking: If you don’t know what’s happening with your marketing, you can’t fix it when things go wrong. Examples of metrics to track include reach, engagement, conversion rates, and return on investment. And once that data is collected, a smart business or marketer will pay attention to what it reveals and use that to make adjustments as necessary.
The four Ps are all part of the marketing mix– that is, they are variables that a company can have some control over and impact each other. A change in one can affect others. For example, if a company lowers its price, it may also need to increase the number of places the product is offered and improve its promotion to reach higher sales targets. That way, the company can still make the most important P of all: profit. Without mastering the four Ps of marketing, it’s much harder for a company to grow.