What Is The 4 Ps?
The Marketing mix is a foundational model to build a business on. It helps a company understand the market they are in, their business, their business competition, and can show them how to meet the needs and expectations of its customers.
“Marketing Mix” coined by James Culliton, but made popular by Neil Borden’s article “The Concept Of The Marketing Mix” written in 1964, theorises what ingredients should be part of successful marketing in order to ensure effective execution of basic marketing strategy.
Since its release in 1964, there have been many iterations of the marketing mix including the 4Ps, 7Ps, 4Cs, 7Cs, and the digital marketing mix – that’s a lot! With so many interpretations and elements of the marketing mix, it can be hard to decide on a just model to use when creating a strategy.
Considered the best-refined marketing mix model today, is E. Jerome McCarthy’s 4Ps of the marketing mix. The 4Ps outline the four top-level elements a marketing strategy will need. The combination of these four categories will give focus to what’s important in any marketing campaign.
The Four Ps In Marketing
Product – A product is a solution to a problem that fulfils a need or gap in the market. Products can be tangible goods or intangible services. The product offering comes first as you must understand how your product meets the target market’s needs and your unique selling points. Also, consider the product’s life cycle.
Place – A potential lead/customer has to become an actual customer at some point, but where will this transaction occur? The placement of products or services in locations is important within the marketing strategy. Place is also the distribution channels of your product, and how to make it easily accessible for buyers.
Promotion – Includes advertising. Promoting a product is how to tell the target audience about your product and how to show the product in its best light and encourage sales. A lot of energy is placed in promotion as there can be lots of marketing channels to choose from so promotional strategy is very important. Fundamentally, make your audience aware that your product fulfils there needs and eases their pains by using marketing communications such as social media.
Price – Pricing strategy will reflect the businesses position in the market. Setting a price has impacts on supply, demand, profits, competitors pricing, and the marketing strategy itself so it should be thought-out properly. Pricing has a wide variety of strategies to adopt, each with its own benefit here.
Extended To 7Ps
People – Employees of the company affect how a business is perceived. Offering great customer service, expert advice, friendly staff are some examples of people. People in the marketing mix is about the hiring process, the uniform, queuing systems in retail stores, handling complaints and more.
Process – From initial interaction in the sales funnel right through to the end (if the funnel should have an end). The refinement of processes makes it easier for customers and the business to improve. This looks at the entire funnel and how to make the journey to the end quicker each time.
Physical Evidence – What does the environment offer a customer? Facilities, Interior design, Signage, Design of livery and more.
How To Use The 4Ps Of Marketing
Implementing the 4Ps of marketing involves self-reflection. A business must be able to ask itself questions and answer them effectively. For example, what need does my product fulfil? Who is my target audience? What is the perceived value of the product? Can I make this process easier? Why am I better than my competitors? Where does my target audience search for my product? And other similar questions.
Through the implementation of the four Ps in a marketing plan, an effective marketing strategy is pursued.
“putting the right product in the right place, at the right price, at the right time”
Purpose Of The Marketing Mix
The marketing mix was created to make marketing easier and easily learnable. The elements of the mix are meant to be used together in a comprehensive marketing strategy that offers a high success rate (Sometimes considered a guarantee) that the campaign will be successful. The ingredients of the marketing mix cover all aspects of the strategy.
Following the 4 core sections ensures nothing is missed and all is considered in a marketing plan.
Key Features Of The Marketing Mix
Formulated by marketing managers and experts, the marketing mix aims to satisfy the business and customer concurrently by running effective marketing strategies. The mix is very flexible so can be applied to all marketing situations for every niche. The goal is to satisfy and retain as many customers as possible.
The 4Ps in action…
Here is a quick breakdown of the 4Ps as they apply to some of the most infamous brands.
Apple designed a product that filled a want in the market. Consumers want a good-looking device, that is easy to use, better graphics and exclusive app store to do more on a mobile device. Their iTunes made downloading music and storing them on a device much easier than other products on the market. Apple’s Computers were futuristic and what looked like years ahead of their competition. Apple has also managed to consistently release new models of products in a minimal numerical format (iPhone 4,5,6,7,8 etc) that all feed into its product strategy.
Apple is renowned for its Apple stores that are modern and white throughout. Their devices are on display to use and test. They are distributed across the world and available in most if not all computer and tech retail outlets.
Like its design, Apple is an icon of simplicity. Apple adverts are minimal with their product playing feature to white background. Apple’s product launch events are spectacular with new products being showcased to thousands of fans live on stage (A tactic Tesla’s Elon Musk has also incorporated into promotion). Creating a cult of followers, the Apple brand delights users and creates an ecosystem for all things Apple.
With the extraordinary launch events and unrivalled performance, Apple is perceived as a quality and stylish on-trend brand offering premium products. Followers of Apple are happy to pay premium price points for their reliable products.
The 4Cs Of Marketing
The next iteration of McCarthy’s Four Ps is considered to be the 4Cs. As opposed to McCarthy’s narrow model, the 4Cs has much broader groupings and had a customer focus at its core. Proposed by Robert F. Lauterborn in 1990, the 4Cs better represents the shift in marketing practices and business economics.
Product -> Consumer
A product will sell if the consumer wants it, focus on fulfilling the wants of the end-user rather than the business.
Price -> Cost
Not just the price of the product but considers the cost in time and effort to buy the product. It also considers the cost of conscience for buying the product, how it makes the customer feel.
Place -> Convenience
Understand how the target audience wants to buy, which platforms they would like to buy, where can they get information about the product.
Promotion -> Communication
Rather than forcing features and benefits on a customer, communicating the entirety of the product and helping the customer make decisions.
The 4Ps of marketing is still today a great marketing strategy model to aid most marketing campaigns. We hope this has been insightful in applying it to your business. Whether you choose the 4Ps or the 4Cs, your business will benefit from having a marketing strategy that constantly questions itself.