If any of the 4Ps were problematic or were not in the marketing factor of the business, the business could be in trouble and so other companies may appear in the surroundings of the company, so the consumer demand on its products will decrease. The 4 P’s of the Marketing Mix:
Solution – A product is seen as an item that satisfies what a consumer needs or wants. It is a tangible good or an intangible service.
1.1. Questions need to answer:
- What does the customer want from the product/service? What needs does it satisfy?
- What features does it have to meet these needs?
- Are there any features you’ve missed out?
- Are you including costly features that the customer won’t actually use?
- How and where will the customer use it?
- What does it look like? How will customers experience it?
- What size(s), color(s), and so on, should it be?
- What is it to be called?
- How is it branded?
- How is it differentiated versus your competitors?
- What is the most it can cost to provide, and still be sold sufficiently profitably?
1.2. Product Life Cycle
Every product is subject to a life-cycle including a growth phase followed by a maturity phase and finally an eventual period of decline as sales falls. Marketers do careful research on how long the life cycle of the product they are marketing and focus their attention on different challenges that arise as the product moves through the Life Cycle.
1.3. Product Mix
Marketers can expand the current product mix by increasing a certain product line’s depth or by increasing the number of product lines. Marketers should consider how to position the product, how to exploit the brand, how to exploit the company’s resources and how to configure the product mix so that each product complements the other.
1.4. Product Development Strategies
Access, distribution – Refers to providing the product at a place which is convenient for consumers. Various strategies such as intensive distribution, selective distribution, exclusive distribution and franchising can be used by the marketer to complement the other aspects of the marketing mix.
2.1. Questions need to answer:
- Where do buyers look for your product or service?
- If they look in a store, what kind? A specialist boutique or in a supermarket, or both? Or online? Or direct, via a catalogue?
- How can you access the right distribution channels?
- Do you need to use a sales force? Or attend trade fairs? Or make online submissions? Or send samples to catalogue companies?
- What do you competitors do, and how can you learn from that and/or differentiate?
Value – The price is the amount a customer pays for the product. The price is very important as it determines the company’s profit and hence, survival. Adjusting the price has a profound impact on the marketing strategy, and depending on the price elasticity of the product, often; it will affect the demand and sales as well. The marketer should set a price that complements the other elements of the marketing mix.
When setting a price, the marketer must be aware of the customer perceived value for the product. Three basic pricing strategies are: market skimming pricing, marketing penetration pricing and neutral pricing. The ‘reference value’ (where the consumer refers to the prices of competing products) and the ‘differential value’ (the consumer’s view of this product’s attributes versus the attributes of other products) must be taken into account.
Competitive (adjusted), premium, discounts and incentives
3.1. Questions need to answer:
- What is the value of the product or service to the buyer?
- Are there established price points for products or services in this area?
- Is the customer price sensitive? Will a small decrease in price gain you extra market share?
- Will a small increase be indiscernible, and so gain you extra profit margin?
- What discounts should be offered to trade customers, or to other specific segments of your market?
- How will your price compare with your competitors?
Information – Represents all of the methods of communication that a marketer may use to provide information to different parties about the product. Promotion comprises elements such as: advertising, public relations, personal selling and sales promotion.
Advertising covers any communication that is paid for, from cinema commercials, radio and Internet advertisements through print media and billboards.
4.2. Public Relations
Public relations is where the communication is not directly paid for and includes press releases, sponsorship deals, exhibitions, conferences, seminars or trade fairs and events. Word-of-mouth is any apparently informal communication about the product by ordinary individuals, satisfied customers or people specifically engaged to create word of mouth momentum. Sales staff often plays an important role in word of mouth and public relations.
4.3. Questions need to answer:
- Where and when can you get across your marketing messages to your target market?
- Will you reach your audience by advertising in the press, or on TV, or radio, or on billboards? By using direct marketing mailshot? Through PR? On the Internet?
- When is the best time to promote? Is there seasonality in the market? Are there any wider environmental issues that suggest or dictate the timing of your market launch, or the timing of subsequent promotions?
- How do your competitors do their promotions? And how does that influence your choice of promotional activity?
5. Other 3 P’s
There are another 3 more P’s however, not mentioned as often as the previous 4 P’s. These are:
- Physical evidence: refers to elements within the store — the store front, the uniforms employees wear, signboards, etc
- People: refers to the employees of the organisation with whom customers come into contact with.
- Process: refers to the processes and systems within the organization that affects its marketing process.