It takes a lot of planning and development to create a high-quality marketing strategy. The right product must be put in the right place, at the right price, and at the right time. Companies usually create marketing strategies to help in the process of buying and selling goods or services. There are specific elements that should be present in order for a marketing strategy to work as well as possible. These are referred to as the 4 P’s of marketing.
Get to Know the 4 P’s of Marketing
The 4 P’s of marketing are a basic blueprint for helping to grow your marketing strategy. They can also impact the way in which you present a new product, or service, to your target market.
Neil Borden first popularized the 4 P’s of marketing in 1964. His 4 P’s help to guide marketing teams in figuring out what is stopping the widespread usage of products, or services. It is best to see the 4 P’s of marketing as tools that can help your company increase sales. This includes: what customers are asking for, what the primary strengths of a product or service are, how the product, or service, is seen by the public, and how the product, or service, differs from the competition.
The following questions should be able to help you better understand each of the 4 P’s. They can also help you define your marketing strategy.
- What is the target audience asking for in a product, or service?
- What needs does a product, or service, satisfy?
- Which features meet the needs of the customer or client and which features are missing?
- How and where can the customer use this product, or service?
- What does the product, or service, look like? Will it have different sizes and colors?
- What is the name of the product, or service?
- How will you brand the product, or service?
- What are the differences between your products, or services, and those of your competitors?
- What is the maximum cost? Can it still be sold at a price point that generates a profit?
Functions of the 4 P’s
A product, or service, is a good that your company offers to customers. It’s main goal is to fulfill an existing ‘customer demand’. A product can encourage customers to buy it because they believe they need it. This can create a new kind of demand. The lifespan of a product should be monitored and understood; a business plan should be created to deal with the products at every part of their lifespan. How much a business charges for a product, or service, can depend on what it is. This is also true for where the product is placed, and how it should be promoted in the marketplace.
Before you start selling a product, or service, you should be able to describe to customers what it is and what it does. Without a purpose the product would be meaningless, and there would be no reason for customers to buy it.
The location where a product, or service, is sold is known as its “place” in the marketing mix. Wherever you end up selling your product can play an important role in your marketing strategy; your target customers should be in that location. There is no logic in selling to people who are not interested in what you are offering. When it comes to the positioning of a product, this can mean either the stores it is sold in, or where in the store it is sold.
Keep track of what your competitions does when it comes to their product placements. Do they attend trade fairs or use a sales force? Are they selling their products in a store you may have never previously considered?
The amount of money that customers are willing to pay can be a big factor in the success (or failure) of your marketing strategy. The price of a product, or service, can impact the survival of that product, or service, and, in the end, the survival of the company. List price, competitor’s price, terms of sales, and discounts are some of the many things you may want to consider before determining the price of a product, or service. Changes in the price of a good can have a big impact in the market’s demand for it. Even small changes can result in a big impact in the demand. To better understand the changes in purchasing relating to price changes (or sensitivity of demand against price changes), we recommend looking at the Price Elasticity of Demand.
Advertising, public relations, and promotional strategy all make up the promotions of a product, or service. When you promote a product, the goal should be to show customers why they need it and why it is worth paying for. Properly communicating this is helpful when trying to generate leads and drive sales. Promotion can do more than just increase sales. It can also help with strengthening the reputation of your brand.
How will you go about reaching your target audience? Don’t just jump into promotions without first answering this question. Will you promote using the internet, TV, radio or billboards? Would you consider direct email marketing?
Always check the timing of your promotions. When is it best to promote a certain product? Is there seasonality in your target market? Is the timing of your market launch dictate by outside events?
Why the 4 P’s are Important
Once you have the marketing mix of the 4 P’s properly identified, your marketing team can be better coordinated. You can offer a professional pitch of your product,0r service, to customers. Together, as a team, your company can more easily achieve your intended goals.
Increases Value and Brand Loyalty
If you have your main focus on the needs of your target audience, and can ensure their satisfaction with the product or service you are offering, you can end up gaining their loyalty and trust. When you develop a loyal following for your product or service, its value increases.
Improves Decision Making
You can be better prepared to make smart marketing decisions by using the 4 P’s. For example, if your product is intended for a specific location (let’s say urban communities), then the promotion of that product should make sense in that location. Accordingly, the product’s price and quality can also be determined.
Larger Volume of Sales
If customer satisfaction grows, the market scale can improve. The more production that comes from these two factors, the more product sales you can have with the help of the 4 P’s.
Bridge the Gap Between Customer and Company
If your product, or service, is able to satisfy a customer, all of the promotional aspects can help improve the positioning of the product. If the features, place, and pricing of the product, or service, are clearly defined, the end result can be happy customers and a profitable company.
Strengthen Awareness of the Competition
Before you put a product, or service, on the market, you should know what the competition are doing with their similar products. By implementing the 4 P’s of marketing, you can not only learn more about your own product, but also more about the competitors products and what works for them.
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The Additional 3 P’s of Marketing
The general marketing mix consists of the 4 P’s discussed above. However, in 1981 Bernard H. Booms and Mary J. Bitner both added to this concept by including three more P’s of marketing. Those P’s are people, process, and physical evidence. These extra elements in the marketing mix can provide more of an insight on how, and why, products or services are developed.
People who have direct involvement in selling the product, or service, can play a role in marketing. In most cases these people are store employees, management, and customers.
Employees are the main representatives of a company, whatever qualities they have are translated into a service. Service providers can be people like coaches, trainers, lawyers, and gardeners. The delivery of services often takes place when customers and employees start interacting. The attitude and behavior of an employee can paint a picture of the service through the customer’s experience. Whether that experience turns out to be a positive or negative one depends on how the employee interacts with the customer.
Any activities, procedures, or protocols that a company performs make up the process of the marketing mix. How the product, or service, in question is ultimately delivered to the customer is important in determining whether or not the company will secure a sale. Services are the results of actions taken either for or with customers and they change drastically depending on the service. It is important to consider a waiting period for multiple different activities as they all make up a chain of service.
When your company offers a service make sure you know the timeframe that service is valid for. This means that services cannot be returned, stored for future use or inventoried. For example, tickets to a music concert cannot be reclaimed past the date of the concert.
You will likely want some type of physical (or digital) representation of your services. This is considered a form of physical evidence. Examples of this would include business cards, brochures, company stationery, reports, and the official website of your company.
One good example of physical evidence is a car dealership. The appearance of the dealership’s main office, as well as the new and used cars it sells on its lot, can tell customers a lot about the dealership. Design, furnishing, lighting and decoration can all influence a customer’s experience.
The environment where the service takes place is important in terms of communication and maintaining a positive influence on customers. The following three physical environment dimensions should be considered:
- Conditions of the environment including temperature, smell, sound, etc.
- How much space the service requires, and its functions like equipment, maps, decorations, etc.
- Recognizable signs and symbols like signature, logos, personal touch, and decoration style
Breakdown of Using the 4 P’s
If you put your focus on the original 4 P’s of marketing, you can use those elements as a guide to determine how to bring something new to the marketplace. Additionally, you can use these elements to help give your current marketing strategy a challenge. Breaking down the elements in a nutshell, you can follow these steps to create or improve your marketing mix.
- Choose a product or service you want to evaluate.
- Review the questions related to the 4 P’s and answer them (in other words; What is the product? Where will you be selling the product? What is the price of the product? How will you promote the product?).
- Test the offer of the product, or service, from the customer’s point of view. Ask yourself these questions:
- Does it satisfy the needs of target customers?
- Will the price of the product, or service, be reasonable?
- Where can customers find this product or service?
- Has the target audience been catered to appropriately and reached by your company’s marketing communications?
- Study and understand your competition, both current and potential. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of a competitor, and then plan on how your company can improve its position in the marketplace by comparison.
- Continue asking key questions about your company’s marketing mix, and make changes accordingly.
- Submit all reviews of your marketing mix on a regular schedule to make adjustments in a constantly changing marketplace.
Edmund Jerome McCarthy introduced the concept of the 4 P’s of marketing in 1960 with his publication Basic Marketing. He was the first visionary to propose a marketing mix concept that was accepted by both practitioners and academics. It is safe to say that not only have we come a long way in marketing since then, but as marketers we have also strengthened the importance of the 4 P’s.
If you are developing a marketing plan, you probably have a simple foundation in place to make that plan work. The marketing mix is a good candidate for being part of that foundation; because of how practical the 4 P’s are in the business world and in everyday life. If you have the wrong product, in the wrong place, at an unreasonable price with questionable promotions, then the 4 P’s of marketing can’t come together properly.
The 4 P’s of marketing put you on the right track, allowing you to stay focused on your marketing goals so your company can grow.
If you are looking for more help in creating your marketing strategy, or how to implement the 4 P’s, please don’t hesitate to contact us here or through the form below.
Joshua Lyons Marketing, LLC was established in 2015. Since that time we have provided digital marketing services to business and professionals. We help our clients increase their online exposure as a means to increase sales and revenue. Our core services include search engine optimization (SEO), website development and content creation. We also provide other online marketing services, such as email marketing, marketing consultations and various types of advertising. Our team is based in the Milton, Pace and Pensacola, Florida area. However, we work with clients throughout the United States. Read More