The “4 P’s of Marketing” refer to the four key elements comprising the process of marketing a product or service. They involve the marketing mix, which is a set of tools that a company uses to influence consumers into buying its product. The marketing mix addresses factors such as:
Understanding the needs or desires of consumers
Identifying the cause of the failure of the current product offering
Finding ways to solve said problems and change public perception of the product/service
Understanding how the product interacts with consumers and vice versa
History of the 4 P’s of Marketing
The individual who conceptualized the 4 P’s of Marketing was a Harvard University professor named Neil Borden. In 1964, Borden introduced the idea in one of his published articles called “The Concept of the Marketing Mix.” he mentioned that many companies could use the framework to increase the likelihood of their success when advertising their products.
A product is any good or service that fulfills consumer needs or desires. It can also be defined as a bundle of utilities that comes with physical aspects such as design, volume, brand name, etc. The type of product impacts its perceived value, which allows companies to price it profitably. It also affects other aspects such as product placement and advertisements.
Companies can change the packaging, after-sales service, warranties, and price range, or expand to new markets to meet their objectives. Marketers must understand the product life cycle and come up with strategies for every stage in the life cycle, i.e., introduction, growth, maturity, and decline.
The price of a product directly influences sales volume and, consequently, business profits. Demand, cost, pricing trends among competitors, and government regulations are crucial factors that determine pricing. Price usually reflects the product’s perceived value rather than its real value. This means that pricing can be increased to promote exclusivity or reduced to create access.
Thus, pricing involves making decisions in terms of the basic price, discounts, price alteration, credit terms, freight payments, etc. It is also important to analyze when and if techniques like discounting are required or appropriate.
Promotion involves decisions related to advertising, salesforce, direct marketing, public relations, advertising budgets, etc. The primary aim of promotion is to spread awareness about the product and services offered by a company. It helps in persuading consumers to choose a particular product over others in the market. Promotional efforts include the following:
Advertising: A means of selling a product, service, or idea through communicating a sponsored, non-personal message about the product.
Public relations: Involves management and control of the flow and matter of information from one’s organization to the general public or other institutions.
Marketing strategy: Involves identifying the right target market and using tools such as advertising to penetrate the said market. Promotion also includes online factors such as determining the class of search functions on Google that may trigger corresponding or targeted ads for the product, the design and layout of a company’s webpage, or the content posted on social media handles such as Twitter and Instagram.
4. Place (or Distribution)
Place involves choosing the place where products are to be made available for sale. The primary motive of managing trade channels is to ensure that the product is readily available to the customer at the right time and place. It also involves decisions regarding the placing and pricing of wholesale and retail outlets.
Distribution channels such as outsourcing or company transport fleets are decided upon after cost-benefit analysis. Small details such as shelf space committed to the product by department stores are also included.
Extensions to the 4 P’s of Marketing
New marketers recommend expanding the 4 P’s of Marketing to include services as well. They include:
People: Servicing involves a direct interaction of service providers and consumers, which increases the scope for subjectivity. Appearances, communication, discretion, consumer interaction, behavior, and attitude of service are important aspects.
Physical Evidence: Atmosphere, layout, and design of the workplace can largely impact the brand image of a product.
Process: Standardized procedures are usually adopted in cases of policy, procedures, systems, and consumer involvement to create continuity while delivering services.
Thank you for reading CFI’S guide to the 4 P’s of Marketing. To keep learning and advancing your career, the following CFI resources will be helpful: