Communication is the cornerstone of digital marketing. Marketing communications need to appeal specifically to your target audience and convey the value of your product, and they often don’t have much time or space to do so. The four Ps—product, price, place, and promotion—outline a marketing mix that serves as a framework for designing effective messaging.
What are the 4 Ps of marketing?
Product, price, place, and promotion are the four Ps of marketing and are the four key elements that business executives and marketing teams consider when creating a marketing plan. This marketing mix provides a structure that brands can use to develop a messaging strategy for any type of marketing communication, from email marketing to content marketing. Using the four Ps to build your marketing strategy will ensure that your team communicates the most important information about your product to your customer base.
A closer look at the 4 Ps
Successful marketers consider these four key factors when planning product promotion:
Your product is the centerpiece of your product marketing campaign. Regardless of what you’re selling, you need to understand the value your product provides to your customers and how it fits into their lives. Product positioning can help you present your product in a way that appeals to your target audience.
How you price your product will determine your messaging. The simplest way to set your price is the cost-plus pricing method. First consider the fixed and variable costs of making your product—including labor, manufacturing, shipping, marketing, and overhead—and then add a markup to the total cost. Other pricing strategies can help you set your product apart from the competition. If you intentionally set the highest price on the market, you may choose to position your company as a luxury brand. If you aim to undercut the competition by setting the lowest price, you’ll likely position your product as a bargain.
Decide where you will sell and market your product. When considering the third P, think about where your target audience spends their time—this can include both their geographic location and where they consume media. How will you meet them there? Not every distribution channel makes sense for every product. For example, if your target audience is farmers based in northeast Tennessee, you don’t need to buy advertisements on the New York City subway. Large ecommerce companies may use online marketing to reach a national audience, while small brick-and-mortar stores might consider advertising options like local television commercials.
Choose the language and tactics you will use to sell your products. This includes overall public relations strategy—how you present yourself to the world—as well as promotional efforts like event-based sales, new product launches, and customer loyalty programs.
How to use the 4 Ps of marketing
Put the four Ps into action to build a basic marketing plan and pair your product with the right message.
1. Consider your product
Conduct research and hold brainstorming sessions to understand the value of your product to your customers. Think about the customer experience: What needs does your product meet and what role does it play in your customers’ lives? Your team should be able to explain the unique appeal of your product, including why it’s better than similar products, in a few sentences.
2. Choose a pricing strategy
Decide how much to charge customers for your product. The ultimate goal may be to generate the most profit, but that doesn’t necessarily mean choosing the highest price. To select a price, compare your product with similar products on the market, including those offered by direct competitors. Consider how you want your product to be perceived, and select a price that communicates its value.
3. Identify your target market
The place where you sell your product determines where you should focus your promotional messaging. Choose the right marketing channels for your target audience. For example, if your target consumer is part of a younger generation, you may consider marketing on social media platforms like TikTok to reach the right audience.
4. Get creative
Once you understand what you’re selling, how it’s priced, and where you’re selling it, it’s time to start planning a promotion. Draw on the insights that you gathered during research to develop creative marketing messages and promotional tactics that will excite your customer base.
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The 4 Ps of marketing FAQ
When were the 4 Ps of marketing developed?
Neil Borden, a professor of advertising at Harvard, laid the foundations for this marketing model in his 1964 essay “The Concept of the Marketing Mix.” In the following years, E. Jerome McCarthy published the book Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach, which further popularized Borden’s conception of the marketing mix and laid out the four Ps. Although marketing strategies have evolved significantly since then, the four Ps still provide a useful framework for marketing decisions in the digital age.
What are the advantages of using the 4 Ps of marketing?
Working through the four Ps encourages your team to consider every aspect of your product’s appeal. Analyzing all of the segments described in four Ps marketing mix will help your team develop compelling promotional materials and market successful products.
Are there other marketing mixes?
Yes. The four Ps are one marketing mix, but there are numerous other models that businesses can use to structure their digital marketing strategy. One example is the four Cs (consumer wants and needs, cost to satisfy, convenience to buy, and communication), which takes a customer-first approach to marketing. Another example is the seven Ps, which adds people, process, and physical evidence to the existing four Ps.