Understanding the Marketing Mix and the 4 Ps

Earlier this year, Apple Inc. announced a first quarter net profit of $18 billion and a second quarter net profit of $13.6 billion. There’s no denying that Apple have got something very, VERY right.

When it comes to marketing your business it comes down to the simple idea of placing the right product in the right place, at the right time at a price that consumers are willing to pay. This is a phrase that many marketers’ will have learned when starting out and lies behind many successful products.

As simple as it sounds, there’s a lot of hard work that goes in to developing the strategy behind a successful product or service, and much of it will be based around the accuracy of your market research. You need to ask questions such as:

  • What is your product or service?
  • What is its purpose?
  • What ‘needs’ does it solve for your customers?
  • What performance requirements are needed?
  • What does it cost to manufacture?
  • How much can you charge?
  • How does it compare to similar products?
  • Who are your customers?
  • What are their age, gender and income characteristics?
  • Where or how do people look for your products?
  • Are there any seasonal buying trends?

The list goes on, but once your research is done you’ll have a clearer understanding of your product offering, where to sell it, how much you can charge for it and when the best times are to got to market.

The 4 Ps of Marketing

The ‘Marketing Mix’ is made up from the collective decisions a company has to make to bring a product to market, and the 4 Ps is one of the best-known ways of visualizing these decisions.

The Marketing Mix

Product

What are you selling? This is the product or service you are selling to your customers. You should be considering quality, design, packaging and even your customer service and after sales support. All of these things make up your product offering so it isn’t just the tangible product we’re talking about. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What need will it solve
  • What are the features
  • How will it be packaged
  • How will the consumer use the product
  • Will it have a name
  • How will it be branded

Place
Where do you do business and how will you deliver your product? Think about location, logistics and distribution channels.

  • Do you have a shop front
  • Where do consumers look for your product
  • What are the right distribution channels
  • Do you use sales reps or attend trade fairs
  • What do your competitors do
  • What are the logistics of getting your product to your customer
  • Will you use distributors and partnerships
  • Will you use a franchise model
  • Will there be warehousing requirements
  • Do you need to consider reverse logistics

Price
What will the product cost to consumers. Will you use a simple percentage mark up or do you need to be more competitive. Think about your costs of manufacture or purchase, wages, promotion, overheads etc. to come to a figure.

  • What is the value of the product
  • Is there a perceived value of your product
  • Are there established price points for your product
  • How does your product compare with those of your competitors
  • Will you discount your product to trade customers
  • Will you offer credit facilities
  • Will there be discounts for cash sales or volume sales
  • Will there be seasonal pricing

Promotion
How will you get your message across to your customers and what methods will you use to persuade people to buy your product.

  • Will you use press, TV or radio advertising
  • Will you use a digital marketing agency
  • Will digital marketing be effective in your promotion
  • Will you use PR or. Billboards or mailshots
  • When is the best time to go to market
  • Is your product seasonal
  • How what channels do your competitors use
  • Will you use multi channel/integrated marketing campaigns

Summary
There is no order to the 4Ps, as you need to consider how they work in relation to each other. However, getting one of them wrong could result in a failed product no matter how good it might be. Think of them as ever-evolving processes or a working document that are flexible with your business. Times change and so does the way we bring products or services to market.

Digital channels are now more prevalent than ever and downloadable content is easily accessible, As such the 4Ps have been extended to the 7Ps to look deeper in to People, Processes and Packaging but the 4Ps have been consistent since the 60s and form a good foundation to build your marketing mix.

Good luck with your marketing!

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