The “Four Ps”- Product, Place, Price and Promotion, make up what is known as the Marketing Mix. The marketing mix also includes how each element is used within a marketing strategy.
In this article you will learn the ins and outs of each element of the marketing mix and how they contribute to successful marketing campaigns. We will look at the well-known computer software company Microsoft to illustrate the impact the marketing mix can have on marketing tactics and strategy.
Of the Four Ps, Product is usually the easiest to identify.
The Product is what your business is selling. An apple cart would have apples as its Product; a car dealership would have automobiles as its Product, a consulting company would have consulting services as its Product. In the case of Microsoft, the Product is computer software.
There are many categories and components within Microsoft‘s software Product, however, each sub-product is designed for use in conjunction with all the others, so in a way, Microsoft offers one large Product that can be purchased together or separately on an as-needed basis.
The challenge for Microsoft is to convince the customer that all parts of the Product are desirable and even necessary in order to reap the full benefits of the software. A perusal of Microsoft‘s website will show that one of the ways the company meets this challenge is to offer “product families”. This approach emphasizes the idea that products are meant to be used together by implying a familial relationship between the components– a concept that can be very appealing to the customer.
It has been said that Product is much more than just the physical goods that become the possession of the customer.
It is everything about the purchase experience that a customer finds satisfying. This view of the first P can significantly affect a marketing campaign as the seller must not only determine the product’s appeal to the customer but also the appeal of how and why the customer will purchase the product.
Place, or Placement, has to do with making the Product available to its target market.
This includes everything from packaging and shipping to inventory management to deciding where and how the product should be sold. The advent of the Internet has lent a whole new area for Place consideration; online shopping currently accounts for a large percentage of retail purchases, not to mention sales of many products that are only available in a digital format.
Saturating the market can be a key tactic in marketing strategy, but can backfire if supplies begin to outweigh demand. The seller who desires to flood the market would do well to also develop strategies to maintain a continual (or increasing) level of desire for the product in question.
Price can be thought of as the “black sheep” of the Marketing Mix because it is the only element that actually produces revenues for the seller.
Determining Price entails a shift from considering costs to considering profits; a price for the product must be chosen that offsets expenses and engenders profits but is not so high that customers will not be willing to pay.
Many factors influence Price, including production and distribution costs, market values for the product, competitor pricing and choices regarding whether the product will be sold individually or in units. Depending on the product, a successful marketing strategy will offer both choices for purchasing.
The “buy one, get one free” Price tactic is used in many successful marketing campaigns because the multiple sales generated usually far offset any losses that result from the product giveaways.
The final P entails what may be the toughest task- making the Product known to the consumer.
Further, the job of Promotion is to convince the consumer that the product in question is the best one for the job- whatever the job may be. Television and radio commercials, print ads, press releases and word-of-mouth are all forms of Promotion; all are geared to catch the attention of target customers and present information that entices those customers to purchase the advertised product.
The Marketing Mix is about how you use these four P’s.
All four will be included in the marketing ‘story’ (advertising) but different emphasis may be placed on any of the P’s depending on the product and business as well as the industry in particular, how competitive the industry is and on what the competition is based. The Four Ps of the marketing mix are key ingredients of any successful marketing campaign, not only in their overall inclusion but in the way each is utilized within the campaign.
For your business, uses of the Marketing Mix may vary depending on many factors.
It is up to the seller (that’s you) to critically examine the elements of the Marketing Mix and, in conjunction with other marketing tactics, determine the best methods for developing a successful marketing strategy.