4 Ps Marketing Mix
The 4 ps, known as the marketing mix, became widely accepted in the 1950’s. Niel Gordon, a professor in the field of advertising at Harvard University, is considered to be the father of the 4 ps. This model then evolved in the hands of E. Jerome McCarthy, a professor of marketing at Michigan State University. It was actually Jerome McCarthy who consolidated the concept and created the 4 ps marketing mix that we still know and use today.
The 4 ps framework are the 4 key elements of marketing and are viewed as the guiding principle behind nearly all marketing activities. They stand for product, price, place, and promotion. Although they are separate aspects, you should view them as parts of a whole. Since the creation of the 4 ps model, some people have argued that there is some additional ps that belong in this model, including process, physical evidence, people, and placement. However, in this tutorial, we will be focusing on the main, fundamental 4 ps.
The 4 ps model can significantly help you when you are contemplating your overall marketing strategy, and how all the pieces will fit together. Think of it as a way to be able to zoom out from your individual tasks and make sure that all the pieces fit together to solve the puzzle. It is recommended to do the 4 ps exercise in the very beginning (along with your client avatar)- before you dive in and start creating content, and ads, and the rest of it. While you should take a deep dive into the marketing mix in the very beginning, it will be worth your time to revisit it about once a year. This is to make sure that your strategy is always up to date.
Let’s Take A Look At The 4 Ps
What is your product or service? Is it desirable, and why is it desirable? You need to have a clear understanding of what your product or service is and what problem it solves. In other words, your product or service needs to add value to the consumer for them to spend their money on it. Your product or service should aim at either solving a current problem (fulfilling a current demand), or it could create and solve a brand new demand. The latter might be very difficult, though, because if you are trying to solve a new demand, people won’t know that they need the product. This means that you will have to invest some time, effort, and money to educate people about why they need your product or service. An example of this is the smartphone. During the age of simple flip phones, people had no idea that they needed a walking computer. It took a lot of educating the public and overcoming resistance, but now everyone and their dog has a smartphone (just kidding about the dog).
To recap, It’s important to spend some time and clearly define what the product or service that you are selling is, what problem it solves, and what value it adds. In so doing, it will aid you in completing the rest of the Ps (price, place, and promotion).
As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, the price refers to how much you charge and the consumer pays for your product or service. This might seem like a simple task – but it’s not. Coming up with the perfect price for what you are selling is actually a form of art, and it takes a master strategist to get this right. This is because there are a lot of things to consider.
- Profitability: First, you have to think about your cost. You must sell your product for a price above the break-even point so that you still make a reasonable profit. It goes without saying that if you spend more money to produce and deliver your product or service than you make from selling it, you won’t be in business for very long.
- Value: Then you have to put yourself into the shoes of the consumer and think about what their perceived value of your product or service is. The amount of money someone will pay for something will largely depend on how valuable they think the product is. Try not to be biased in this step of the process. It is easy to overestimate the value of your own product or service, so it’s important to try to be objective.
- Competitors’ Prices: Before coming to a determination on your product or service’s price, you should identify your competitors and see what their pricing is. Then, make sure that your pricing is not an outlier. For example, if a bottle of coke costs $2.00, but a bottle of pepsi on the same shelf costs $1.00, it is likely that people won’t see enough value in to buy the coke bottle. However, if the price is in the same range, peoples’ preference is likely to be the deciding factor.
- Status: Is your product something that people will use to show off? Will it be a token of status for them? If you want to position your product as luxurious, then you should choose a price on the higher range of the spectrum. People will not be likely to view an average-priced product as luxury. Think about it, even someone who knows nothing about cars will know that a $200,000 car is a luxury car. But if you plan on pricing your product or service at the luxury level, make sure that the quality of the product reflects luxury too.
- Discounts: Discounts, promotions, and deals are very powerful selling tools that give an impression of exclusivity, rarity, and limited time. You can utilize the discount strategy (most effective during holidays and occasions) for just about any product or service you may be selling. But for you to be able to use this strategy, it’s important that you don’t set the regular price of your product too low. Afterall, you still need to have some wiggle room to offer discounts and still make a profit.
The place of a product or service largely refers to where the product should be sold. This concept largely resembles the distribution channels of the product, although it isn’t entirely the same thing. Place refers more to where the product or service will be best sold, while distribution refers to where and how the product or service can be best fulfilled or delivered.
To determine the best place to sell your product or service, think about what the most effective way to reach your target audience would be and in what setting would it entice your customers the most. Where would your customers be the most likely to make a purchase? Should your product be sold in a physical store? Or perhaps on an e-commerce website? Maybe you think your product will sell best in a magazine, or possibly on the TV? Think carefully about this, as it could have large effects on your overall revenues.
The promotion of your product or service is a very important part of the 4 ps marketing mix. Although the promotion of your product is usually closely tied to the place of your product, they are not to be confused. Promotion refers to 3 core aspects:
- Advertising: Where will you get the word out? Your product might be sold in the store or on a website, but how will you make people aware that your product/service exists and convince them why they should buy it? This is a critical question because in most cases you will have to invest actual money, and so it’s important that you choose widely. Nowadays there are many options. You could decide to do traditional advertising and place promotional posters, signs, and billboards in public places. You could also elect to use search engines such as Google and Social Media Networks such as Facebook, Instagram, or Linkedin to get the word out. Of course, the radio is always an option, and influencer marketing and native advertising is also worth considering. They both have their merits.
- Promotional Strategy: How will you get the word out? This has more to do with the execution of your marketing and advertising.How does your messaging resonate? What colors do you want to select to best represent your brand? Which images and designs will you use? What do you want your brand and company to be know for? How will you best portray the value of your product or service, solve your customers’ pain point, and answer their objections? Promotional strategy is a key factor to successful advertisement.
- Public Relations: How will you go about maintaining a good public image? In our age of the internet, word about your company and product/services spreads very quickly. Everyone can access your reviews on Google with just a few clicks. Studies have shown that people very often care and do research about not only customer reviews and satisfaction, but also about what values your company stands for and represents. Because of this, it’s essential that you put in effort into public relations, and hire people to manage your public image when your business grows to a certain point. You should ideally be monitoring every place where customers can leave reviews (Google, Yelp, and industry-specific 3rd party vendors for example). Furthermore, you should be careful of what you and your employees say and do when their actions reflect on your company. A rude employee can tarnish your company’s image/reputation- even if they just got onboarded yesterday.
4 Ps Marketing Mix- Key Takeaways
The 4 ps of marketing or the marketing mix applies to all businesses in all industries. Doing a thorough review of the 4 ps marketing mix can greatly benefit you in being successful with your planning and execution of your marketing strategy. Completing this exercise in the very beginning, alongside your client avatar, will improve the quality of all your marketing and ultimately save & make you money.