Marketing Mix And The 4 Ps of Marketing
When starting out in the industry, marketers learn that marketing is simply putting the proper product at the proper place, at the proper price, and at the proper time.
It is that simple. All you need to do is create a product or service desired by a particular group of people, put it on sale in a location that those people visit regularly, and at a price that matches the value they get out of it, and do all of this at a time they are willing to buy.
This idea does have a lot of truth in it. However, finding out exactly what your clients’ need and exactly where they do their shopping takes a lot of hard work. You also need to know exactly how to produce the item at a price that offers value to them and bring it all together at the right time.
If you get even a single element wrong then you are in for disaster. You can be left publishing a textbook after the beginning of a new school year or promoting a vehicle with great fuel economy in a country with low fuel prices.
When you are thinking of the plans for your service or product then the marketing mix is a great starting point since it helps you avoid these kinds of mistakes.
Understanding This Tool
People often use the 4Ps of marketing and the marketing mix synonymously. In actuality, they are not necessarily the same thing.
The 4 Ps of marketing are:
The best way to understand the 4Ps is through the questions you need to ask to define your marketing mix. The following are some questions to help you define and understand each of the 4 elements.
- What does your competition do and how can you distinguish yourself or learn from that?
- What is the best way to access the proper distribution channels?
- Where do buyers currently look for your service or product?
- Do you require use of sales force? Or make online submissions? Or attend trade fairs?
Product (or Service)
- How is it branded?
- How does it differ from the competition?
- What is its name?
- Where and how will the customer use it?
- What do customers want from the product and what features does it have to meet these needs
- What is the maximum cost to produce it and still sell it profitably sufficiently?
- What sizes, colors, etc., should it be?
- How will customers experience it?
- How does your competition conduct its promotions?
- When is the best time to promote the product?
- Which methods will you use to reach your audience?
- When and where can you get your marketing messages across to your target market?
- How does your price compare with that of your competition?
- What value does the service or product offer to the buyer?
- What discounts will you offer to trade customers and other specific segments of the market?
- Are there currently any established price points for services and products in this area?
- Are your customers price sensitive?
Since you need to consider all the 4Ps in relation to one another, it does not matter the order in which you define them.
The 4Ps of marketing are just part of the many lists that marketers have developed over the years. Even though the questions above are important, they are just part of the detailed probing you need to do to optimize your marketing mix.
Using the 4Ps of Marketing
The model can help you decide on the best way to take a new offer to the market. It is also a great way to test your current marketing strategy. Whether you are thinking of a current or new offer, follow the following steps to help you improve and define your marketing mix.
- The first thing is to identify the service or product you wish to analyze.
- Go through the questions about the 4Ps above and answer them in detail.
- Challenge your offer too by asking ‘what if’ and ‘why’ questions. Check through your answers to ensure that they are based on sound knowledge and facts. If doubts still linger about your assumptions, identify any data or market research you need to gather.
- After you have a well-defined marketing mix, you can attempt to test the overall offer from the perspective of the customer through customer-focused questions.
- Continue asking questions and making necessary changes to your mix until the point where you are completely satisfied that you have optimized your marketing mix given the figures and facts you have available.
- Regularly review your marketing mix since some elements will change as the service or product, as well as its market adapt, mature, and grow in the highly competitive and ever changing environment.
One of the best models of the mix is the 4Ps of marketing that help you define your marketing options in terms of place, product, promotion, and price. Whenever you are evaluating a current offer or planning a new venture, use the model to optimize the impact with your target market.