As an attending guest at a Social Media marketing course levelled at Senior Marketers and Brand Managers, I was amazed by some of the participants responses when asked by the lecturer what the 4Ps of Marketing were.
Anything from PRACTICE, PERFECTION, PROGRAM, and PROFIT were offered as sacrificial gestures with the lecture coming to a complete and sudden halt.
Surely, this was not what was intended, the question merely being asked rather rhetorically to kick-start the rest of the proceedings. But amazingly, here the lecturer was, at the start of an hour long address stumped by the responses.
So, what are the 4Ps of Marketing and how do they determine the outcome of an effective marketing plan?
The Key Ingredients to the 4Ps of Marketing
The 4Ps of Marketing, commonly known as the Marketing Mix is made up of four crucial elements: Product, Price, Place and Promotion.
Without each one of these in place, you won’t be able to roll out an effective marketing or communication strategy.
Picture the scenario: ‘You have just developed what you perceive to be the world’s greatest widget, something that you think no person can do without. You stand to make millions and look forward to planning your retirement on some tropical island.’
All very well, but let’s back up a bit and take a good look at what each of the 4Ps mean and how they together form the solid foundation to building a successful marketing strategy.
The crucial thing to remember is that each P is an interdependent variable and needs to be planned in conjunction with the other Ps that make up the Marketing Mix.
I’ll explain each a little further:
4Ps of Marketing # 1 – Product
The item in question. What is it that we are selling? Is it a product, a service or an idea?
Whatever it may be, these are goods created for the selling and making of a profit and as such should offer someone a reason to buy. This is known as the USP (Unique Selling proposition) of the product. Without this, you leave yourself open to customer questions such as ‘why should I buy this?’ or ‘how will this product help me?’ or ‘why should I buy your product and not someone else’s?’
4Ps of Marketing # 2 – Price
This is the currency value that you put against the product. However, the important factor here is the perceived value of the product. If the currency value is higher than the perceived value, the product will not sell.
The key point to bear in mind- is your product worth your while to sell and what will your ROI (Return on Investment) be?
No one is in business to make a loss hence the importance of the relationship between the USP and the perceived value of the product.
4Ps of Marketing # 3 – Place
Place is the distribution of your product and how you make your product available to your customer. Factors such as cost of distribution need to be included into the price of the product to see how viable an investment it will be, once again highlighting the correlation between the various elements. If opting for bricks and mortar from which to sell your product, considerations such as location of store, size of store front and opening hours need to be added to the equation.
4Ps of Marketing # 4 – Promotion
‘For he who does not communicate, neither shall his coffers flow’ – an apt saying when it comes to promoting your product and business. You’ll need to consider traditional forms of advertising and online methods. Many marketers opt for a combination of the two preferring the large scale impact and longevity of traditional forms of advertising but the immediacy, cost-effectiveness and measurability of online. In both cases your advertising has to be compelling to your target audience or no amount of advertising spend in traditional or online will make a difference.
4Ps of Marketing # 5 – People
For good measure, I have added an additional P, making it the 5Ps of The Marketing Mix.
This P stands for people or your target market, and plays as vital a role as the other 4Ps. Understanding who your target audience is, their needs and wants, their media usage and buying habits all contribute to creating the right message that is delivered in the right tone, in the right place and at the right time. The importance of understanding who your audience is can never be underestimated.
So, let’s re-picture the scenario with the 4Ps of Marketing …
You have just developed what your target audience perceives to be the world’s greatest widget, at a price they can afford. Your ROI looks healthy and you stand to make millions using the brilliant advertising message your agency has come up with across a range of communication channels that your audience consumes on a daily basis. You look forward to planning your retirement on some tropical island……….
So there you have it.
The elements that make up the 4Ps of Marketing – all working in conjunction with one another like the cogs of a well-oiled machine.
Without each P in place, no matter the type of product, its perceived value, the location or the way you advertise to your target audience, you’ll struggle.
If you have something to add about the 4Ps of Marketing or need some help working them out for your business, contact us today.