Marketing isn’t all about randomly shooting advertisements and hoping for the best. Nor does it involve merely persuading people to purchase your product. It is a long-term strategy that kicks off long before your product is even launched in the market.
To create that strategy, companies typically follow a popular template comprising the four Ps of marketing— aka the Marketing Mix.
In this guide, I will talk about what are those four Ps and how to apply them successfully.
With are the Four Ps of Marketing?
The four Ps of marketing are the foundation pillars of your strategy.
They are a marketing mix of Product, Price, Place, and Promotion that helps you discover your product’s worth, pricing structure, distribution channels, and promotion campaigns.
Think of the four Ps as a checklist. They provide you with a scope within which to work to create your strategy.
Suppose you’re a gardening enthusiast and considering building your indoor plant business. While you’re wondering where to start, several questions would swirl in your mind.
- Would people love my products?
- What price should I place on my items?
- How would I deliver them?
- How will I attract customers?
The four Ps of marketing will act as a guideline to help you figure out the best ways to maximize your revenues.
The idea of the four Ps came from a Harvard professor in the late nineties, who initially introduced it for advertisements only. Later, Jerome McCarthy emended the model and extended it to the four Ps of marketing.
According to him, if companies keep these four key factors in mind while drawing up their marketing strategy, they can drastically improve their chances of success.
How do the Four Ps work and how to apply them to generate sales?
To understand how the four Ps work, I am going to elaborate on each “P” with real-time examples to give you a general idea of the marketing mix model.
A product comprises anything you want to sell to your target market. It could be a tangible item like Coca-Cola, subscription-based services such as Netflix, or a digital product. They all are universally recognized as products.
Now, companies don’t just manufacture an item and start advertising. They conduct in-depth research on product features, design, and branding before they launch it in the market.
The reasons are plenty.
The color you pick can positively affect your sales. An additional feature could give you an edge over your competitors. Even packaging matters significantly! Think Tiffany.
72% of US citizens purchase a product because of its attractive packaging, and almost 75% hope to see new products each month.
Understanding your target market’s thought process is the key to creating a product your audience would want to buy. That, in a word, is the entire concept of the first P of marketing.
Ideal Example – Dropbox
Dropbox is a hosting service that stores your data online.
When the founder initially came up with Dropbox’s idea, he didn’t launch its product right off the bat. It was a time when cloud storage wasn’t exactly a common subject, and Drew Houston struggled with financial backing because of it.
Dropbox’s key feature was seamless synchronization that he believed lacked in its competitors’ products. But people who used such services weren’t aware there was a problem in the first place.
To present his idea, he instead released its demo video and shared it on the social platform to get feedback from the tech influencers.
His video went viral, and Drew Houston attracted thousands of users overnight.
Dew Houston essentially won the lottery by adding an extra feature to his product.
How to Create Your Product Marketing Strategy?
I am assuming here you already have a product in mind. If not, use Helium 10 to explore the trending products.
It is a free SaaS software that provides tools to identify high demand and low competition products on Amazon. Since Amazon offers almost every product available in the market, it is a good place to start.
Coming back to product marketing, below are few key elements you must consider while crafting your strategy.
- Branding: What are your brand color, logo, personality, and image?
- Product Feature: What is your product offering, and how can it solve your audience problem?
- Value Proposition: What is the unique selling point that sets you apart?
- Packaging: How do you want people to recognize you?
- After-Service: What after-sales services you’re providing to ensure customer satisfaction?
Start experimenting with the above four and settle on the best version. If you need help with your Branding, here’s a guide to creating unique logos.
The price is the trickiest part of the four Ps of marketing. It not only reflects the worth of your product but your product quality as well.
Many startups typically price their products low in the early phase to enter the market until they gain enough footing to increase their prices.
While a low-price strategy is pretty standard, you risk the chances of distorting your brand image if you’re not careful.
Alternatively, if you place your prices high right from the start without making sure your product is worth the money, you’ll likely not be able to sell your products.
There’s another thing.
Your sales discounts also determine whether you’ll survive in the long run.
Take JCPenny’s notorious failed strategy.
The departmental store, in 2011, decided to change its pricing structure to an everyday low prices model and remove the discount coupons. The idea at that time was to offer a fair price annually. While the company intentions were sincere, it didn’t take into account the crowd’s discount mentality. Eventually, JCPenny had to change its price model.
The theory of price strategy is to think from your target market’s perceptive as you set your prices.
Ideal Example – Tesla
Tesla is a popular electric car company that followed a surprisingly simple pricing structure to establish its brand.
The company started off with sports cars to cover the initial expenses. Later it revamped the prices to make them affordable for the white-collar audience.
It was a highly risky pricing structure considering the company sells cars online. But Tesla had a distinct advantage of a social CEO who boosted the product’s value before the release. Check out Tesla’s marketing strategies.
The pre-launch publicity paid off and Tesla sold its car at premium prices.
How to Create Your Pricing Strategy?
Keep five points in mind while drafting your price strategy.
- Manufacturing Cost: How much it will cost to build the product?
- Market Research: What are your competitors charging for the same product?
- Product Image: Do you want your product to be viewed as an everyday item or a luxury product?
- Perceived Value: What are your customers willing to pay for your product?
- Payment Method: How you’d make the payment procedure easy.
Gather the required information before building your price strategy.
Say, your product is a handmade item. Explore Etsy, see what luxury items have in common, add the element to your product, and price it as a premium item.
HubSpot also offers free templates to help you price your products. Check out its sales price calculator if you’re interested.
The place refers to the entire product logistics, from its production to the buying cart.
The first part of the equation particularly matters if you’re a manufacturer because the sale of your product would depend upon how quickly you can deliver it.
Think about it. If your site frequently mentions the product is out of stock, it could seriously put off some customers from revisiting the site.
Making your product easily accessible to your audience can also dramatically boost your sales revenue. If you‘ve wrongly chosen a place your customers don’t frequent, no amount of marketing could uplift your poor sales results.
The idea is to create your product distribution operations as straightforward as possible to give a better shopping experience to your customer.
Ideal Example – Warby Parker
Warby Parker is an online eyewear retailer that manages all its sales completely online.
The company has a remarkable shopping procedure in place.
Pick a few pairs, try them on for free, and make the purchase.
People typically have a hard time getting the right size of glasses online. Warby Parker solved that problem by offering to deliver the sample frames to your home. Once you’re sure which one to buy, you return the package at no charge and order the pair online.
The combination of free trial and simple checkout process drives Warby Parker sales and earns the company repeat customers.
How to Create Your Distribution Strategy?
To create your distribution strategy, select a method that would help you improve your customer’s shopping experience.
Luckily, there’re several areas you can cover to accomplish it. Such as,
- Touchpoints: What places do your prospect customers visit and how to get their attention?
- Point of Contact: Where do you want to sell your product. Would you prefer a brick-and-mortar or an online store?
- Product Catalog: How do you want to exhibit your product?
- Check-Out Process: What can you do to make your checkout process as simple as possible?
Look up your competitor’s distribution channels as a guide to see how they’re doing it. Or directly ask from your audience through polling. Most social media networks offer the polling feature.
The last part of the four Ps is the most important element of a marketing strategy. It is where you decide the best ways to let people know about your product and services and how to build your audience perception of your product.
Promotion is a means of communication companies employ to influence people’s buying decisions. It could be as simple as asking your friend to advertise your product to their social circle to sponsoring major events.
What channel you pick for the promotion and what brand message you deliver to your target market will ultimately affect your sales.
Ideal Example – Slack
Slack is a workplace communication tool that provides you with a platform to collaborate with your team. It was one of the fastest-growing startups that earned 8 million users within two years of its inception.
Do you know what Slack’s promotional tactic was?
The company focused on user experience.
Initially, Slack employed press media to launch its business. But the company scaled its business through referrals, integrating with project management tools like Asana, and engaging its customers.
Slack now actively use Twitter to educate its fans and regularly respond to queries to promote its product.
How to Create Your Promotional Strategy?
There’re literally tons of methods to advertise your product and services, but a promotional strategy involves much more than merely picking out the best channel.
Make sure you consider the below key elements too.
- Target Market: Who do you want to target for your promotion?
- Brand Awareness: What method you’d choose to create your brand awareness? Would it be a social media ad, a billboard, or a referral?
- Lead Nurturing: How will you educate your audience about your product and services? Would you publish a blog, educational videos, or webinars?
- Qualified Lead Generation: How will you persuade your prospect to buy your product? Would you offer a sample or free demo?
- Customer Retention: How will you retain brand visibility? Will you consciously engage your customers on social media, periodically sponsor events, or run campaigns?
Keep in mind, your promotion strategy is closely tied to your buyer’s journey. Set multiple promotional activities along the way to convert your leads into sales. I am sharing some lead generation ideas here for your consideration.
Remember. Out of 100, only 58 companies accomplish their marketing goals.
If you want to create a strategy that brings you to the winning side, you must figure out the right combination of your marketing mix.
Discover your target market, build a product your audience would want, find a practical distribution channel, and then promote it to the right people. Good Luck!