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  • Writer's pictureShafinaz Shaikh

Marketing Basics: The 4 P’s

A crucial part of any business to have ever existed is brand awareness. Even if their product is the best in the game, it won’t really make anyone money if people don’t know what the business is and what the product is. Thus, ensuring that the business is known to potential customers is as important as the business existing, and marketing is what allows people to do so. Numerous marketing strategies are being used by billion-dollar corporations and small home-run businesses alike, and many getting invented by the minute. But for a strong strategy to exist, it needs to have the correct foundation. That is where the 4 P’s of marketing come into play.

Place, Price, Product and Promotion.

Also known as ‘The Marketing Mix’, this idea was presented by the American Marketing Professor E. J. McCarthy. This framework can be defined as 'a set of marketing tools that the firm uses to pursue its marketing objectives in the target market’. Basically, the base of business Marketing. Extended versions of Marketing Mixes range from 5 P’s to more than 8 P’s but let’s just focus on the core four for now.

Product: This part of the marketing mix governs everything related to the service/object being sold. For example, a products appearance, quality, warranty, packaging etc are considered. This is important because a business is only as good as the Products reaching the customers are. Under this ‘P’, decisions such as ‘which products should be grouped together’, ‘what the name of the product should be’ and ‘what kind of pre/post services should be provided’ are made. While making these decisions, key features of the products, such as those aspects which benefit the customers should be considered. Thus, when marketing a product, it’s quality and benefits can be used in your favour. As for the implications, there are multiple costs tied up with the ‘product’ aspect and should be considered. These include costs such as wages for the Quality Control/Check officer, the Customer Service officer, a design team and other similar employees. Other costs may be related to adding value to the products, for example, making the packaging more durable or adding functions that weren’t available before. All of this affects the final selling price of the product, as providing added value is a reasonable explanation to charge more.

Price: Being crucial and pretty self-explanatory, this refers to the pricing strategies that may be used to attract customers. Using strategies such as Psychological Pricing (for example, pricing products a bit lower than a whole number, such as $4.99 instead of $5.00), or any other strategies fall under the ‘Price’ section of the Marketing Mix. While deciding on a price, it is important to consider discounts that may apply, other businesses which are providing a similar product/service and the brand image of the business. I.e., if a brand has been marketed as a luxury car brand, it might be more sensible to price the cars at a rate that isn’t affordable to anyone. On the other hand, if a local supermarket decides to charge more for ‘added value’, customers who are okay with spending less by sacrificing quality will simply switch to the rival shop. While costs related to the pricing aspects don’t always cut into a business’s profits, it’s still important to consider what kind of financial impact these strategies have. For example, discounts may look like an easy way to attract customers, but it’s the gained profits that ought to cover the discounted amount. Similarly, a product being sold for $0.99 instead of $1.00 means losing out on $10000 for every million products sold.

Promotion: This is the one aspect which is considered as ‘Marketing’ by the general consumer. When people hear the term ‘Marketing’, their first thought is promoting products. But now we know that this isn’t the only aspect of Marketing and other factors are as important as promotion when making a product widely known. Under Promotion, a business has to decide on strategies that might help make the product/brand be a familiar name in the world. There are multiple ways to approach promotion, and these including advertisements (billboards, YouTube), offers, sponsorship (celebrities, social media influencers) etc. Comparing ‘Promotion’ to the other P’s in the marketing mix makes it clear that this might be the costliest. This is because a business has to directly pay for all the services such as Advertising companies and Celebrities to promote/endorse their products. It’s nearly impossible to have a promotion strategy that doesn’t involve a hefty sum being transferred.

Place: This is often considered as the least important aspect of the marketing mix, but on the contrary, all the other aspects will be rendered useless if the correct demographics aren’t targeted while selecting strategies. Under the ‘Place’ aspects, every location involved in the production, distribution and sales is considered. The purpose of this ‘P’ is to ensure that the product/service is easily accessible by customers who live in a range of different locations. Due to this, ‘Place’ also includes a range of distribution channels such as retail stores, online stores, phone services and multi-channel options. While considering distribution channels and locations, it is important to consider the costs of each strategy. Costs may be tied up with Warehouses, delivery partners, Online (website) security. There are many ways in which costs related to ‘Place’ can be cut down. For example, Strategies such as Just In Time (JIT) can be used to avoid storage charges.

To sum up the original Marketing Mix, it has got the basic 4 P’s and their implications that need to be considered when deciding on a marketing strategy. It is important to apply these to a business as it allows for an extremely personalised strategy that suits the needs of the brand and the customers. Its application can either make or break a business.

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