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Back in the 1950s, an advertising professor at Harvard University developed the idea of the perfect marketing mix. The 4Ps are comprised of 4 key elements:
In 1960, Michigan State University Professor E. Jerome McCarthy refined these concepts and gave them a name – the 4 Ps of Marketing. The idea still holds strong today, and forms the basis of most modern marketing. Advertising and marketing students around the world study the concept as the foundation for everything they do. A lot has changed in the business world since the 1950s, so why are the 4 Ps of marketing still so relevant today?
Let’s take a deeper look into the concept, and why it’s so important.
What are the 4 Ps of Marketing?
The 4 Ps of marketing works on a pretty simple theory. You deliver the right product in the right place, at the right price, at the right time. It sounds so easy, and that’s probably why it is still so relevant today. This concept is used to sell almost every product and service, by every company in the world. Well, the ones that market their products and services successfully, that is.
Obviously, all marketing strategies and ideas are different, but the main concept is the same. You develop a product that people need, you price it in a way that makes it accessible and still profitable, you promote it in a way that connects with your target audience, and sell it in a place your audience is likely to find it.
It sounds extremely easy, but putting it into practice is a lot more difficult. If you get just one of the 4 P’s wrong, the whole marketing campaign can fall apart. Imagine you develop an innovative new design for basketball shoes. You keep manufacturing costs low and price them competitively. You’ve got all the promotional tools at your disposal, but then you only try to sell those shoes in a grocery store.
Now, that’s an absurd example, but you can see how missing just one part of the mix can result in failure.
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The components of the 4 Ps
If you’ve ever wondered “what is marketing mix?”, we’re going to take a deeper look into each component. All components are important, and we’ll show you how they come together to create a solid and effective marketing guide.
The product is obviously the product or service you want to develop and sell. This is always the first point in any marketing strategy because you need to create something that people need. When analysing your product, ask yourself these questions:
Does it solve a problem or service a need?
Who wants to buy this product?
What features does it need?
How will it be different from existing products?
You’ll have subsequent planning to do, of course, such as the product’s size, colour, name, branding and much more. But the questions above are the most important when determining if there’s even a market for your product.
Let’s go back to the basketball shoes as an example. There is a need for them because the basketball shoe market is already huge. This tells you that people want to buy them, and you probably already know they need to be lightweight, comfortable and stylish. Then, you need to make them stand out from your competition. There are already some enormous companies with incredible technology and resources at their disposal creating shoes, so how will yours be different?
These questions are important because they determine if your product will truly be viable. This affects your entire business because, without a great product, you’ll need to sink a lot of money into promotion and marketing to gain the interest of your target audience.
Determining the price of your product is also crucial. The first question you should ask is how much will people pay for this item? Unless your product is something completely new, it’s likely there are already some price points in your market. You can research your competitors to find out what they charge for similar items.
Your target audience is also a good indicator here. Is your product aimed at people who want cheap solutions? Or, are you targeting people who are willing to pay a higher price for better quality? The price is also closely linked to your manufacturing costs because obviously, you need to make a profit on every item sold.
Remember those basketball shoes? Let’s say your customer can get a pair of Nike shoes with similar features to yours for $140. Realistically, your shoes can’t cost more than that unless they offer something that Nike doesn’t. Whether it’s an additional feature, a unique design, or even something like sustainable manufacturing that taps into a socially conscious audience.
This is where we look at how you’re going to reach your target audience. How do you spread the word and encourage them to buy your new product? The list of possibilities is almost endless, including:
Pay-per-click advertising online
There’s no right or wrong way to promote a product, but you need to formulate a strategy that delivers value. You might use a combination of the above or even all of them. The key is that the promotion needs to reach your target audience at the right time.
For our basketball shoes example, getting some kind of endorsement from a popular basketball figure or streetwear enthusiast would be beneficial. Plus, your audience is likely younger, so social media is going to be a good option over traditional channels such as radio and local television that your audience is rarely exposed to.
Finally, we have the place you make your product available. If you already have your own store, then the answer to this one is pretty simple. If you’re starting a new business or promoting a single product, it gets a little more complicated. For example, if you open a food truck, you need to find where people are most likely to visit your truck, and at what time of day.
This also affects the price aspect of your product, because there may be costs associated with reaching the right distribution channels. For many products, if you don’t have a brick-and-mortar store, it can be useful to sell wholesale to established retailers, but this decreases the price you sell it for.
Alternatively, consider your own online store. This is effective in the modern world, especially if your target audience prefers to shop online. But you need to weigh this up with the cost of digital marketing to drive traffic to your website. This is why some product developers prefer to sell through existing channels.
Why is marketing mix so important?
All 4 Ps of marketing link together to create a full marketing mix. Each one is just as important as the next, and you need to get them all right. Ultimately, your marketing can determine the success or failure of a product, but there’s one more important reason to use the marketing mix.
When you look at your product through the lens of this marketing mix, you can determine if it’s viable. So, the 4 Ps of marketing are important to successfully market something, but it’s equally important when planning and developing a product and service. Use this concept during planning, implementation and marketing, and you’ll give yourself the best chance of success.