The 4Ps of Marketing – the Compass that Helps Navigate Change
I feel there seems to be a somewhat misplaced sense of what marketing is these days. It feels like the business function of marketing has been mainly relegated to just the small area of communications, advertising and promotions and it often gets confused with B2C tactical approaches. But marketing in its true sense, is much more than just communications. In its full scope, it also includes areas such as market analysis, product development, pricing, exploring and defining routes to market and so on – this concept is referred to as the 4 Ps.
The 4Ps of Marketing – Product, Place, Price, Promotion
It’s only when we take marketing in its whole form, incorporating all 4 Ps integrated into the business plan, that marketing can help companies stay in the game, ensure competitiveness, position their brands to adapt to change and stay relevant. This to me is a really important point. Staying relevant.
The full marketing function, including all 4 Ps, acts like a compass that points the direction and guides the way by helping us build better marketing strategy. How can we incorporate Product, Place, Price and Promotion into developing effective marketing strategy and why this is relevant for all of us – even for a MarComms Group?
The first ‘P’, Product, is unsurprisingly all about what you’re selling, whether it be an actual physical product or a service. This ‘P’ not only incorporates the products you offer but can also include product development and creating new product ranges for the changing market.
I’m sure most of us here don’t get very involved in product development or market diversification, however, through Product, we can develop a thorough understanding of what we sell, the applications, benefits, what our customers need and what differentiates them compared to our competitors’ products. Having a good understanding of all of these areas gives us the first part of being able to market them effectively.
The next ‘P’ is Place. Place is understanding HOW and WHERE you will take your product to the market. Do you do direct sales, sales through distributors or dealer networks, are you selling online? It also includes the markets you sell in – for example, whether you sell domestically or export to other countries.
Place can be critical when looking for new opportunities for diversification. A good sense of ‘Place’ helps to identify new markets, potential new sales channels. Understanding How and Where you sell your product will guide how you develop your marketing strategy.
The next ‘P’ is Price. Marketing teams should have a good sense of pricing – we don’t need to actually set price, as this is often outside of our control, but we should be able to influence price to some degree and build a strong understanding of how price can create a more competitive positioning for the brand. Pricing is important as it can make or break sales opportunities.
Branding and positioning play an important role in pricing as they can help a company demand a premium or deliver more than just the product. As brand strongly affects the perception of a product in both B2C and B2B markets, price is often influenced by the strength our brands.
So last, but certainly not least, is Promotion. This is what most marketers know inside out and back to front. So, we all know the ideas behind promotion. This is the brand activation stuff, the comms, the PR, advertising, digital marketing, trade shows, and all sorts of other tactical deployments. I don’t think I need to dive in too deep here.
So, why am I discussing the 4Ps of Marketing?
For me, it’s crucial for all of us to be very aware of the 4Ps within our companies. Even if we aren’t directly involved in working on product development, setting pricing or defining routes to market – it’s essential we understand the why, how and where of these elements, as it helps create more effective marketing strategy. These elements give us the insights on what to do and what NOT to do as part of our strategies. The 4Ps act as sign posts to push our marketing in the right direction and create the greatest impact on our objectives.
How the 4Ps of Marketing Influence Strategy