The 4 Ps of marketing—you’ve probably heard about them from a friend, a textbook, or even at school.
I know it sounds like a boring topic that’s common sense, but there is more to it than meets the eye.
And no, it’s not just for large companies. The smaller you are, the more important for you it is to leverage the 4 Ps of marketing.
Some key takeaways we’ll review in this post:
- The 4 Ps of marketing—product, price, place, and promotion—is a concept that summarizes the four basic pillars of any marketing strategy.
- By focusing on these four pillars, you can improve your marketing strategy to ensure that you’re effectively covering all of your bases.
- You can implement the 4 Ps of marketing whether you’re a new or existing business.
Now before we dive into it, let’s first break down what they are…
What Are The 4 Ps of Marketing?
The 4 Ps of marketing is a concept that summarizes the four basic pillars of any marketing strategy.
The four Ps of marketing are:
- Product: What do you sell? Could be a physical good, services, consulting, etc. This is important because a good product helps you stand apart from competitors and win over customers.
- Price: How much do you charge and how does that impact how your customers view your brand? You need to strike a balance that drives the most amount of sales while also driving the most profit.
- Place: Where do you promote your product or service? Where do your ideal customers go to find information about your industry? If your products aren’t placed properly, you may not be visible to your target market.
- Promotion: How do your customers find out about you? What strategies do you use, and are they effective? When you focus your efforts on promoting to your audience, you can boost profits and increase return on investment (ROI).
It sounds simple and it really is. The challenge is implementing the 4 Ps of marketing, which we will get into in the next sections.
The theory behind the 4 Ps of marketing is that covering all 4 Ps will result in higher sales. But, sadly nothing is quite that easy.
The origin of the concept, also known as marketing mix, goes back to the year 1960 when Professor Edmund Jerome McCarthy introduced it in his book Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach.
I know that’s ages ago, but the 4 Ps marketing mix concept is just as valid today.
So how can you implement it yourself?
The best way to gain an understanding of the 4 Ps of marketing is to see how other brands are using them. Let’s dive into the concepts and look at 4 Ps of marketing examples to understand how you can apply this to your own company.
The First P of Marketing: Product
The product is what the company sells.
It might be a product like a soft drink in the beverage industry or dresses in a clothing store. Or these days it may even be software like Ubersuggest.
It could also be services, such as consulting or a paid speaking gig or even a therapy session.
In short, the product is everything that is made available to the consumer.
In the 4 Ps strategy, this means understanding what your offer needs in order to stand apart from competitors and win over customers.
In other words, what makes your product so great or unique? Because if you don’t stand out it’s going to be hard to thrive.
Examples of Product
You may know about my product Ubersuggest, but you also probably know about a handful of my competitors.
So what’s the big thing that makes my product stand out from everyone else?
I don’t focus on features, I don’t offer hundreds of reports. Instead, I focus on usability. My goal is to make Ubersuggest really easy to use, especially if you are new to marketing. On the flip side, my competitors focus on ad agencies and really advanced marketers.
Or let’s pivot towards a physical product example, the iPhone.
After over a dozen iterations of its product, Apple has a pretty keen understanding of features that make them stand out from their competitors. Namely, Android.
They know that some features are more important to their customer base than others, and they cater to those needs. In particular, Apple knows that their users desire interconnectivity and continuity among its suite of products over, say, open source software and customizability.
The Second P of Marketing: Price
Price is simple, it refers to how much you charge for your product (or service).
Although it’s simple to understand, it’s really hard to come up with the “right” price. The one that doesn’t just drive the most amount of sales but also drives the most profit.
The real question is, how do you want to be perceived?
Examples of Price
Amazon wants to be the place where you can get the best-valued products from A to Z. And of course, delivered fast.
My buddy’s company, Imperia Caviar, offers high-end caviar at low prices. He’s able to get the same caviar that big brands charge thousands of dollars.
You would think having a cheap price is cheapening his brand, but instead, he is bringing transparency to the market and educating people on how caviar isn’t really expensive… it’s actually just a marketing ploy.
On the flip side, would Ferrari be Ferrari if their cars were selling for $10,000? Probably not.
If you want more information on how to price your products, check out my pricing psychology guide.
The Third P of Marketing: Place
“Place” is another word for location.
As they say in marketing, it’s all about location, location, location.
You have to pick a location where your customers are. Don’t expect them to come to you, you have to go to them.
This is true for both brick and mortar and digital locations.
Examples of Place
Ask yourself: When is the last time you saw an advertisement for Jitterbug, a cellular phone aimed at the senior population?
For me, it happened to be in a doctor’s office waiting room. One of those non-offensive daytime television channels was on—AMC, Hallmark, or something of the like—and a Jitterbug commercial came on. They know their audience is mostly retired and likely to be watching reruns of 1960s and 1970s television shows in the middle of the day.
That’s how you meet your customer where they are.
Just think: how effective would digital ads or a TikTok Shop be for Jitterbug? Considering the bulk of TikTok users are between the ages of 18 to 39, probably not very effective.
Fortunately for Jitterbug, they’re good at meeting their customer base where they are. Namely, via television advertisements and mailers.
The Fourth P of Marketing: Promotion
My favorite P (and the one I tend to blog about the most) is promotion.
Once you’ve optimized the previous three Ps of marketing, it’s time to promote your offer.
To be clear, when I talk about promotion, I am not just talking about getting your brand out there. I am talking about generating revenue.
What’s the point of promotion if you can’t drive sales?
With all of the channels out there, which ones do you start with first?
Well, I want you to go here and put in your competitor’s URL.
If they are a big competitor, you’ll see data on how much traffic they are generating, which keywords they rank for on Google, the sites that link to them and talk about them, and even how many social shares they are generating.
Examples of Promotion
Have you searched a keyword on Google recently and seen sponsored results? Or perhaps you’ve listened to a sponsored ad on your favorite podcast. Those are just two ways of promoting your product offer to your customers.
The simple truth is, promotion is all around you.
Billboards. Commercials. Sponsored ads.
Heck, there’s even subliminal advertising used in all sorts of media that we consume.
But what makes an effective promotion? One that targets your ideal customer in the right place. This will largely impact the kinds of promotions you then run.
For example, if your target audience is largely Gen Z, then social media is a good bet. That’s because 90 percent of Gen Z adults use social media.
This may mean running sponsored ads on platforms like Facebook, or using influencer marketing on Instagram and TikTok. If your brand is savvy enough, you may even be able to create your own viral social media page, like Scrub Daddy on TikTok:
How to Use the 4 Ps of Marketing in Your Marketing Mix
It’s easy to get started using the 4 Ps of marketing in your own marketing mix. Whether you’re just launching a product or service, or it’s been available for years, the tips below can help you to refine your strategy.
How to Create the Best Product
Now, before you go and build a product (or make yours better if you already have one), don’t invest too much time and money without getting feedback.
For example, if I were to add a new feature to Ubersuggest, I wouldn’t just build it. I would get it designed, show you first, get feedback, and then adjust from there.
That way I won’t waste months’ worth of time building a product you don’t want to use.
How can you do that? Getting customer feedback is really as simple as asking.
Go to Hotjar, signup for a free account, and run a poll. Just like the one below.
I’ve been running polls for a while now, but if you are starting off I would ask open-ended questions like:
- What’s the biggest problem I can help you solve? This will give you an idea of what your product needs to do.
- What’s your favorite marketing product and why? You’ll want to replace the word “marketing” with whatever industry you are in… this question gives you an idea about who your competition is and what they are doing right.
- Why did you come here today? This will tell you why people come to your site and what they are looking for.
- How can we make our product better? This is great if you already have a product up as you will get real feedback.
- What don’t you like about COMPETITOR ABC? Replace competitor ABC with your competition’s name… this question tells you where there is an opportunity.
I want you to pay special attention to the last question. It really helps you identify how you can differentiate yourself from the competition.
How to Set the Right Price
By no means am I a pricing expert, so I don’t want to tell you what to price your product.
I will tell you to read the Paddle blog. Those guys know to price like the back of their hand and have dozens of articles that will teach you exactly how to price your product.
It’s important to think about pricing, especially if you are in a crowded space. My rule of thumb is: If you are in a new space or already a leader, you can charge a premium amount.
On the flip side, if your space is saturated and you are late to the market, you’ll want a cheaper price (if not the cheapest price).
Some questions you should ask yourself are:
- What would be the lowest price you are willing to sell your product? Hint: Be sure to add up all costs associated with product/service creation, production, promotion, etc plus add a profit margin.
- What would be the highest price that consumers would be willing to pay?
- How sensitive to price are your customers?
- What prices do current leaders in your niche charge?
- How does your price compare to the competition?
How to Find the Right Place
The web is this virtual world. And although the location (place) may seem irrelevant, it really isn’t.
Think of the platforms and places your ideal customers are and be there.
That could be a specific site like Google or even an offline venue like conferences. Don’t try to bring your customers to you, go to where your customers are; it’s much easier.
Here are some simple questions to ask yourself so you can find the right place.
- Where is your customer?
- Which outlets (online and offline) sell your product?
- Which distribution channels are currently working for you?
- Do you sell directly to businesses or consumers?
- Do you sell directly to your end customer or do you have to go through middlemen?
- Where are your competitors?
The customer should always be at the center of your decision, but it’s important to also include aspects of the other Ps that we discussed.
How to Create the Most Effective Promotion
I want you to start off by asking yourself the following questions:
- Which channels does your audience use the most to consume information?
- What kind of message tends to be more effective when promoting your solutions?
- What is the ideal period for promoting your product?
- Is there any concern about seasonality?
- How do your competitors plan and carry out their promotion?
Again, you can use the tools I mentioned above to get a jump start. Another thing I would highly recommend is that you look at Facebook’s ad library.
It will show you the ads that your competition runs and, more importantly, the messaging they use.
Promoting your product takes a multichannel approach. I have several blogs that cover the basics of every marketing channel you should leverage:
- Online marketing
- Social media
- Google ads
- Facebook ads
- Affiliate marketing
- Content marketing
FAQs About the 4 Ps of Marketing
The 4 Ps of marketing are product (what you sell), price (how much you sell it for), place (where you sell and promote it), and promotion (how you promote it).
Ask any marketer which of the 4 Ps is the most important, and you’ll certainly hear a different answer and reasoning behind that answer. The truth is that, while you may be able to argue one is more important than the other, the 4 Ps rely on each other in some way. By covering the whole marketing mix, you ensure you’re doing all the right things to optimize your revenue.
The 4 Ps—product, price, place, and promotion—and the 4 Cs—consumer, cost, convenience, communication—are both examples of marketing mix models. They both aim to boost sales, but the 4 Ps is more focused on the internal processes of the marketing strategy while the 4 Cs is more focused on the external processes that may influence a customer to buy.
The 4 Ps of marketing, while effective as individual metrics, work together to make a cohesive marketing mix. If you think of each P as it’s own pillar, then using them altogether will ensure a solid foundation for your marketing plan.
The 4 Ps of marketing may seem boring, but they are essential to creating a successful marketing plan.
Without them, you can’t differentiate yourself from the competition.
No one wants more of the same. We all want something unique, special; something we resonate with.
How do stand out from your competitors? You leverage the 4 Ps of marketing.
How are you leveraging the 4 Ps of marketing? Is it helping you drive profits?
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