The 4Ps of the marketing mix are a very useful tool for building your strategy-here's what they are and how to use them to your advantage.
How much do you know about marketing?
Mmm, yes, it is a word on everyone's lips nowadays....
But have you ever wondered what it means, for real?
To give you a hand in shedding some light on this, I'm borrowing the words of one of the most authoritative In this area, Philip Kotler.
He said that marketing is not about finding clever ways just to get rid of (i.e., sell) what you produce: rather, marketing is the art of creating an authentic value for the customer.
Here, it is the term "value" that I like best of all.
After all, what is the point of what we do, if not also to improve people's lives (including ourselves, of course)?
There, that's what marketing is for.
But how do you do it, you may ask?
Well, you need to know that beyond all the offline or digital strategies you can invest in to promote your business, there is a basic foundation that then kicks off everything else.
I am referring to the so-called 4Ps of the marketing mix.
It is one of the most widely used tools: it can be applied to all kinds of products and services and includes all key aspects of selling.
It basically involves putting the right product in the right place, at the right price, at the right time.
This is a very important concept that you can use to advertise your new business, optimize sales, reach your target audience or test your current marketing strategy.
Curious to know a little more?
Read on-you'll understand what the 4Ps of marketing are, what they mean, and how you can use them to your advantage.
The 4Ps of the marketing mix: here are what they are
As I mentioned, the marketing mix concept revolves around the 4 P's, viz. product (product), price (price,) placement (distribution) and promotion (promotion).
It is a concept that has been around since the 1950s and has been revamped as industry and services have evolved and other elements have been added, but it still remains fundamental to the development of any strategy aimed at success.
Think of it this way: when you create your value proposition, you need to offer something that 1) satisfies a consumer's need or desire, 2) is priced appropriately for him, 3) with respect to which he has all the necessary information, and 4) is readily available and purchasable.
Actually, if we want to be precise, the marketing mix and the 4Ps are often used as synonyms for each other, although, in reality, they are not necessarily the same thing.
"Marketing mix" is a generic phrase used to describe the different types of choices you make when you put your product on the market; in fact, if marketing is the set of processes aimed at generating value for the consumer, the 4Ps are the key factors that make it possible to actually do so.
They are basically the basic tools that help you promote your offering, increasing the chances that a product will be recognized and purchased; they also help you ensure that all marketing activities are integrated, optimized and consistent with each other-guiding your strategic choices accordingly and promoting long-term customer relationships.
The 4Ps form a dynamic relationship with each other: none has priority over the other, each is considered equally important in creating an effective marketing plan.
Very well: now that you have a clearer idea of what the marketing mix is, let's look at all four elements individually.
#1 Product - Product
The product is the good or service you offer to your target audience that is capable of solving problems or satisfying needs.
It can be tangible, like a t-shirt, or intangible, like an online course.
In general, successful products fill a need not yet met in the market or provide a new customer experience that increases demand.
As you work on your product, it is essential to consider your target audience and its unique needs. Here are some questions to consider when you plan to develop a new one:
What is it and what is it for?
Is it a specific product or a service?
Does the product fulfill a need or provide a unique experience?
What features does it have to meet these needs?
Who are the target customers for such a product?
What differentiates it from the competition?
Price is the cost of your product or service, what the consumer pays to enjoy it-and is therefore also representative of their sacrifice of time and money.
Price is is the only element of the marketing mix that actually generates revenue and varies according to demand, supply, and the product sales cycle.
It is obviously important to establish one that is suitable for your audience, but at the same time profitable for you.
Not only that, the price usually reflects the value perceived of the product, rather than its value real. This means that you can choose a high end, medium end, or low end, depending on your goals (e.g., exclusivity vs. accessibility)
Some questions you might ask yourself as you are considering the price of your product are:
How much do competitors charge for similar products?
What is the accessibility and price range of the target consumers?
What is the lowest price at which the product can be sold?
What is the highest price at which the product can be sold?
Which price is too high or too low for the target audience?
What is the best price for the target market?
What is the value of the product or service to the buyer?
Is the customer price sensitive?
Will a small decrease in price gain you extra market share? Or will a small increase gain you extra profit margin?
What discounts can you offer to specific segments?
#3 Placement - Distribution
Here we are dealing with the place (physical, such as a store, or digital, such as a website) where you sell your product and the distribution channels you use to make it available.
Just like price, finding the right way to market and sell your product is a key factor in reaching your target audience.
If you put your product in a place that your target customer doesn't visit, whether online or offline, you probably won't achieve your goal, do you agree?
Some questions you can ask yourself about this include:
Where do buyers gather for similar products and services?
Where does the competition sell its products?
What are the buying habits of your target audience?
How can you access the right distribution channels ?
Do you need a sales team? Or participate in trade shows? Or send samples to companies?
If you distribute online, what platforms will you need and what software will you need?
What are your competitors doing and how can you learn from them and/or differentiate yourself?
#4 Promotion - Promotion
Promotion is how you advertise your offer, reaching your target audience with the right message at the right time.
A promotional strategy aims to show consumers why they would need that particular product and the reasons why they should buy it over others.
It includes a whole range of tactics and activities, both direct and indirect, from the more old-fashioned ones, such as print advertising and TV commercials, to the more modern ones, which take advantage of the digital network, including the content marketing, email marketing, the affiliate marketing o referral, the public relations and so on (just to name a few).
In all cases, the goal is to increase engagement, work on the brand positioning and on the brand identity, so as to capture the audience's attention and guide them to purchase.
Here are some questions to consider when evaluating your promotional strategy:
When is the right time to reach the target audience?
From what channels or media will the target audience get their information?
What are the most convenient and efficient channels for promoting your products?
Where do competitors direct their advertising and marketing efforts?
Where and when can you convey your messages to your target market?
Do you want to be present offline, online, or both?
What is your budget?
How to use the 4Ps of the marketing mix in your strategy
The 4Ps of the marketing mix give you a structure on which to build your strategy.
How, you may ask?
Here are some simple steps to follow:
#1 Analyze your product: identify its features, the qualities that make it attractive, and how it differs from the competition;
#2 Consider the variables of the 4Ps, answering the questions above;
#3 Make sure your answers are based on sound reasons; if there are doubts about your assumptions, identify any market research or metrics that you may need to collect and analyze;
#4 Once you have a well-defined marketing mix, try "testing" the overall offering from the customer's perspective;
#5 Review your marketing mix regularly, as some elements will need to change as your offering and its market grow, mature, and adapt in an ever-changing competitive environment.
What if the 4Ps are no longer enough?
You've probably already guessed it: the 4P model was created primarily for companies that were more likely to sell products to consumers-rather than services-at a time when the role of the latter was not perceived as critical.
But the market is constantly evolving and so are the people in it-so it is not surprising that such a model is also being reviewed and reconsidered.
So here were other variables added, so much so that today we now speak of the 7P model.
These new factors are three:
# People - People
This component is intended to focus on the target audience and consumers, on whom to direct the entire marketing process: it means figuring out which one is the best fit, what offer to make to them, how to win their attention, and how to guide them toward a purchase.
It therefore includes all the people who contribute to that end.
# Process - Process
Here we are talking about all those processes that determine how the customer uses your offer: the clearer and more organized they are, the greater the efficiency and quality conveyed (think, for example, of after-sales support).
# Physical Evidence - Physical Evidence
This refers to the so-called brand awareness, that is, the awareness and image that a consumer has with respect to your brand-and that also becomes a sign of the quality you offer.
It is a variable influenced by word of mouth, reviews, and testimonials from people who have already dealt with your offer (trivially, think social networks) and that affects the building of trust and a long-term relationship.
You may now be asking yourself: which model is therefore more valid and effective?
In fact, it is not an exclusionary choice.
If you start from the premise that the purpose of marketing, as we said, is to share value in a way that stimulates demand from your target audience, you can achieve this goal when you identify the right strategic mix that suits you and your target audience.
So the 4Ps model is definitely a great starting point for defining your actions-just remember to always keep the focus on your customer and understand which levers are the most effective.
In this sense, the 7Ps can better help you understand how to meet your customers' needs and expectations-especially if you are in the service industry.
And you, what model have you followed so far?
Let me know in the comments!
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