Marketing is simply a way of finding the right product or service for the right consumer and putting them together for mutual benefit. This may seem easy enough but it actually can take a lot of time, effort and research to realize such a position for a product. Make sure that every element of your marketing strategy is on target and cohesive or your product or service may fail to accomplish what you were hoping it would.
Marketing is made up of a concept called the marketing mix and is very important to an overall marketing strategy. The marketing mix helps you understand your product or service better and in doing so, you can better understand how to create a great product offer for a target consumer. The marketing mix consists of four ideas: product, price, promotion, and place. We also know it as the 4Ps of marketing.
The 4ps of marketing are essential to the marketing mix. Without these four aspects of the marketing mix, you would have no strategy to making a successful offer. The most important of the 4Ps of marketing is the product. Without a product, you have no need for a price, promotion, or place. Let's expand on each of the 4Ps.
The 4Ps of Marketing
Within the 4Ps of marketing, you start with a product. A product can be tangible or intangible. Tangible products can be touched or held such as a real world book, an electronic device or an article of clothing. Intangible products can not be touched or held and are usually a service of some sort but can also be digital products like an ebook or media file. Regardless of being tangible or intangible, the product or service must meet a specific consumer demand and present value to that targeted consumer.
Products have a life cycle that a marketer needs to understand and follow in order for his or her product to be successful. The product life cycle is made up of four concepts just like the 4Ps of marketing. These four concepts are:
- Introduction – The product is brought to market and shown or promoted to the target consumers.
- Growth – The popularity of the product increases as does its value to targeted consumers.
- Maturity -The product has come to the peak of its growth.
- Decline – The product is viewed as less valuable than it used to be.
Understanding the product life cycle is an essential part of marketing and with the right product, the process can loop in on itself. You can introduce your product over and over again once it has been modified or upgraded.
Price in the 4Ps of marketing is exactly what it says. It is the amount placed on the product that a consumer is expected to pay. Choosing the right price is important because the consumer must view the product as having such value.
The right price of a product will affect how successful or unsuccessful it will be in the market. Consumer research is important when defining a price for a product. Because the targeted consumer will have an idea of the perceived value of the product, it is important for the marketer to discover this information.
Pricing too high or too low will also affect how the product sells. If the perceived value is low, pricing too high will cause the product to undersell, if it sells at all. If the perceived value is high, pricing too low will cause the consumer to see the product as of less value to them than they may have originally thought.
The 4Ps of marketing concept of promotion consist basically of advertising and advertising has many different channels and forms it can take. Promotion can be thought of as a two-way conversation between the marketer and the consumer. At its core, promotion is just an act of communication.
In the 4Ps of marketing, promotion is also known as the promotional mix. Again, there are four aspects to this concept as well. These four concepts are public relations, sales promotion, advertising and personal selling.
Public relations is just the relationship between the public and a company. Sales promotion is the act of convincing a consumer to buy the product. Advertising is an act of communication and can audible or visual. Personal selling is the act of getting a person or agent to physically sell the product to the consumer. Promotion is vital because if you don't promote the product, you can't sell it.
Place, in the 4Ps of marketing, means placement of the product and how the consumer will get access to the product. A probably much more understood word for placement would be distribution. This distribution can come in a tangible or an intangible form and one can do it through various channels. Some example channels are website/digital delivery, mail delivery, store delivery and personal delivery by an agent or seller.
In the 4ps of marketing, placement has the following types of channels:
- Direct – The manufacturer provides the product directly to the consumer.
- Indirect – The manufacturer uses an intermediary to sell the product to the consumer.
- Dual distribution – The manufacturer may use direct and indirect channels to provide the consumer with the product.
- Reverse Channels – The reverse of a normal channel where the consumer sends a product to a manufacturer, such as recycling plastic bottles.
Also, in the 4ps of marketing, placement has the following types of intermediaries or personal selling:
- Agents – An independent contractor.
- Wholesalers – Buy in bulk and sell to other intermediaries.
- Distributors – Similar to a wholesaler except distributors tend to buy from just one company.
- Retailers – They buy from wholesalers and distributors and sell to consumers.
Having the right place is important and can increase the sale of a product. Having the right place is important because it helps match the right product with the right consumer. The placement of a product will help in choosing the right channel of distribution for the product. How you unite the product with the consumer needs to mesh with the overall product life cycle.
To sum it up, the 4ps of marketing are an exciting and useful tool to have in your marketing toolbox. Always remember the rules and definitions of product, price, promotion and place.