In order to ensure that a product will be successful in any given market, an organisation must make a series of decisions about the product, its price, how it should be promoted, and distributed. This is known as the marketing mix, or the four P’s of marketing.
So why the four P’s? These stand for:
Getting the right ‘mix’ (or combination) of these ‘ingredients’ is essential if a product is to satisfy the needs of the customer and, ultimately, have success in the market. If a product does not meet the needs of the customer, or if is too expensive, or if it distributed in the wrong area, or if it isn’t promoted in the correct manner, then it is likely to fail. It is essential to get the balance of the marketing mix right and the four P’s provides a framework to help achieve this.
Here are some ideas of what each P covers:
Think about what your product actually offers and why customers will want or need it. You should be clear about the benefits it will bring and how it can help consumers achieve or avoid something. This is all important information, as if this P is unclear to your target audience then you are likely to struggle to find a defined position in the market.
To some extent this is self explanatory, but how much are you going to charge for the product? You need to consider how you can justify the price and the difference between what it will sell for at retail and wholesale, along with whether or not there will be any discounts offered for large-volume orders.
Finally, you should be aware of how you compare with competitors – too high and you risk pricing customers out, but too low and there is a chance your product won’t be taken seriously.
How are you going to engage with your audience? This not only covers how you are planning to advertise your product, but also how it will be sold, and presented in brochures.
You should also consider how it will be packaged – sometimes, how the product appears on the shelf in front of the customer can be the most effective of all forms of promotion.
Finally, you need to think about where the product will be available. Is it something that consumers will buy exclusively online? What sort of retailers best match the audience you are targeting?
There are some experts who believe the four Ps are too product-orientated and have developed the four Cs as an alternative approach to the marketing mix.