Getting Started With Marketing: The 4 Ps
What is Marketing? It's a question Marketing Agencies get asked many times. And it's a question that those of us who work in marketing ask ourselves quite a lot, too. Because so much changes and often so quickly, especially in the realm of digital marketing, that it can feel like definitions and explanations are being continually rewritten.
But one thing that hasn't changed, and probably never will, is the fundamental framework of marketing, which is the 4 Ps. This is a simple way for businesses to understand the key elements of a marketing strategy by offering up four key areas of focus for your business.
It isn't as daunting as it sounds, in the first instance this simply means writing four headlines and thinking about what you know about your business to fill in some blanks. This blog will help you learn about the 4 Ps of marketing, and which questions you need to answer for your business so you can get your foundations in place.
So, what are the 4Ps?
Marketing is about presenting the right message - words that your target audience want to hear, or read, because they are the right person to buy your product or use your service. The marketing framework of the 4 Ps that helps you to get it right are product development, price, place and promotion.
Getting the basics right is time well spent, because when you've spent time and focused on the foundations of knowing your audience, your product and why this audience needs you, the big job of building a cohesive marketing plan that communicates directly to target customers is suddenly really easy.
So, how do we use the 4 Ps to create a Marketing Plan?
Product: This refers to the goods or services a company offers to customers. It includes the design, features, packaging, and branding of the product. Product is the first place to start because as well as thinking about features and design, keeping product top of mind reminds you of what is unique about your business, which when you come to build your marketing plan will help you develop your messaging.
By keeping the product P in mind, you can also check that your product or service matches the needs and preferences of your target audience. And when you review your product with an external, impartial set of eyes - maybe at launch or as part of an annual review - you remind yourself what it is that sets you apart from your competition. And these USPs are a really important part of successful marketing.
Product is a really important part of the Marketing Mix because when you are providing something specific that your customer really needs, it is easier to build brand loyalty, increase customer satisfaction, and ultimately meet your business goals.
Price: refers to the amount of money customers are willing to pay for your product or service. And as part of pricing decisions for your business, you will review what businesses like yours charge, your discounts, and payment terms.
To get the optimal pricing strategy, you need to consider factors such as production costs, competition, customer demand - and what people are already paying for products or services like yours. And, once you are clear about your costs, you need to base prices on this research, not what you 'think' you should charge or what your business 'deserves' because this is what gives you a profit margin, and ultimately a sustainable business.
And if you're launching a business with a price offer or discount, be really clear about who is eligible and for how long you will offer the special price. And most importantly, do your research so you know the cost of the offer, and be sure
Why is Price so important to the Marketing Mix? Successful marketing isn't just about 'doing' marketing, it results in transaction, so pricing is fundamental if you want to meet the financial goals that give you first a viable, then a successful business.
Place: This is where customers can buy your product or service, such as physical stores, online sales channels, and distribution networks. And in digital marketing, place also refers to the digital channels, like social media, online advertising and website where your business and your marketing messages can be discovered.
And Place is about target audience, too because you need to use what you already know about who your target audience is to help you determine the locations where they are most likely to purchase your product or service. And these are the places that you need to concentrate the marketing output part of your strategy on.
Customers need to have a really positive experience of place, or they just won't buy from you. This is why your website is especially important if you are an ecommerce business. Just as you would walk through a retail store and check merchandising, how close to your direct competitor your product is placed and how easy it is to check price and important information, you need to review your online store and take a good look at layout, inventory and design.
Promotion: This refers to the various ways that companies advertise and promote services and products. It includes advertising, sales promotions, personal selling, and public relations (PR). In a nutshell, this is how you're promoting your business and what tactic you're using.
It isn't the first thing on the list of Marketing PS, that doesn't mean it isn't important, rather that you need clarity on your product, price and place (where your audience are and which channels are your priorities) before you can understand what the right promotional tactics for your business are.
Promotion is a really important part of the Marketing Mix because understanding this element of the framework helps you to create a marketing strategy that reaches and engages your target audience by using content to communicate the value and benefits of your product or service to the right people - in the right place and at the right time.
How does it work?
The 4 Ps framework gives businesses four foaundation areas to focus on. And by focusing on these four areas of product, price, place and promotion, businesses can create a unique marketing plan that will deliver the results their business needs because it clearly addresses the needs and preferences of their target customers.
The 4 Ps framework can be used to guide product development, pricing decisions, distribution strategies, and promotional tactics to ultimately drive sales and business success. And the 4 Ps work because they cover all the bases, but are really simple and straightforward to use.
If you're ready to revisit your 4 Ps, access my Marketing 101 course by emailing me here and I'll send you a link so you can nail them in less than 30 minutes. Grab a pen and paper and watch the short video to set up your framework and create the most valuable marketing document that your strategy needs this year.