Thinking back to the words of 'Mrs S.' in year 12 Business Studies class and I recall the emphasis she placed on "the 4Ps" - Product, Price, Promotion and Place. Essentially these are the four elements that make up an effective marketing mix. Moving forward a few years to Business College and I come across the question: "What are the four elements that make up the marketing mix?"... I think to myself, hang on! I know this answer. Boy, didn't I feel like a rock star.
While I do enjoy a quick trip down memory lane to a time where the hardest decision to make is how to wear my hair to school, I find that this teaching, in particular, has been one of the most vital pieces of information that I retained. The 4Ps of marketing is probably the most important lesson I have learnt how to interpret and I believe it is the single most important recipe for success in any business. Why?
Each piece of the 4ps puzzle should work cohesively with the next and compliment each other for the most effective strategy. Without one, the other three cannot exist and that is why the marketing mix must be a harmoniously conducted plan right from the very start. In a little bit more depth...
Product: What do you offer in your business? Or more importantly, what does your business offer that no one else does? The product should not be limited to the tangible good that you supply, but should most certainly encompass the service you provide, as well as the experience. It's one thing to offer a top quality product but it is a completely different kettle of fish of you provide an A-grade experience and service second to none.
Price: Dependent on your target market, price is one of the leading factors in the decision making process of consumers. I believe that all consumers take price into consideration when making a purchase. Keep in mind that it may not necessarily reflect the affordability of your product, but in essence, its value. It may not be an expensive product, but the price must be set in line with the quality of the product or service. Generally speaking, the higher the price, the higher the quality or superior service to that of less expensive alternatives. Be sure not to price yourself out of the market however in contrast, it is equally important not to price yourself below the market so as to infer that your product is 'cheap'. There is a fine line when donning a pricing strategy. My advice: a comparative analysis of similar products to judge where you fit.
Promotion: Marketing. Advertising. Socialising. Networking ... A business cannot exist without one very instrumental factor: consumers. If a consumer does not know you exist, they cannot engage your business. It's only common sense. To promote is to advise and remind and developing a kick-ass advertising strategy is not always and open an easy task. To find your pool of customers you have to first know where they are and second, know how to reach them. There are many forms of advertising from print, television, radio, signage to online, social, community or networking. My thoughts are to not put all of your eggs in one basket by investing your advertising budget in one medium, but to sample your marketing through trial and error. Analyse your return on investment and focus on what works best for your product. There is no 'one size fits all' approach to advertising and that's what I love about my job! There are so many different avenues you can access to gain the best response from the market.
Place: Location. This is where you distribute your product or service. Do you have a shopfront, online store or delivery service? You may have a fantastic product with competitive pricing but if you are not distributing in the best manner it will surely turn consumers away. In the new age of web-based everything, having an online presence in any industry is a must and in my eyes ... not negotiable! Almost all of the larger retail chains have adopted the online store to coincide with their physical stores and this opens a door up to a whole new line of customers for them to generate more income. Having an online presence allows consumers to research your business before engaging in your services. Having suitable a location for your niche will ensure that consumers know where to go to find you and have ease of accessibility when doing so.
There you have it ... the 4Ps. Yes, I probably have it branded upon my psyche from many months of HSC study, but in general day to day business I implement this strategy as second nature. While it may just seem like a common sense approach, it is actually an intrinsically weaved web of ideas that takes practice, determination and a lot of planning from a business owner or marketing support staff (like myself).
Equally as important: Passion, Persistence, Patience and of course, Page Eleven.
Creative Director | Designer