A company uses many strategies in promoting a brand or product in the market. Some erroneously believe promotions or sales is marketing and as a result, do not receive the full benefit of a well thought out marketing strategy which includes using the entire business unit bearing in mind that the corporate goals must be acknowledged and incorporated. Unfortunately, we are not speaking of the marketing strategy today, just the marketing mix and to be more precise; 4Ps!
The marketing mix over the years have increased from 4 to 7 and in some cases as many as 13 Ps all referring to the set of actions or ‘tactics’ if we want to use more marketing speech. These tactics are developed as part of a plan to promote the company’s brand or product within the market it serves.
Most marketers today do not take enough time to breakdown the core 4 Ps of the mix and use the findings to help design tactics which will be beneficial to the company’s bottom line.
So what are the 4Ps?
How would a marketer describe each and use to promote?
In brief, PRICE refers to the the value of a product which must include the production costs, market’s ability to pay for the product, and even includes the demand. At this point, a company would employ a pricing strategy which is interconnected with the overall business plan. Too low a price, the product is seen as cheap and underrated, too high and the product is costed out of reach of the target market. A company must choose pricing to differentiate the product and sometimes, even enhance its image depending on the market needs.
For PRODUCT, it simply is whatever is being sold. A company is only as profitable as its product offering. A poor product with substandard performance will never rise above that image unless it is improved. Consequently, the other elements in the mix will suffer as well as the product is really the main ‘P’ in the mix and no matter how great the price or promotion for example, a poor product will be a poor product. A company must deliver a product which can stand up to at least the basic requirements of the market.
In relation to PLACE, here we look at point of sale and access to the product. Ensuring the product is easily accessible is the main aim of distribution. Now we can go on and on about channels of distributions and why some companies will pay a premium for one location compared to another but we wouldn’t. Part of the planning stage would be to map out a good distribution strategy to add to the mix. In this case, ‘build it and they will come’ may not work if you build a fast food store in a Vegan community.
Lastly for our purposes, of the mix, we now take on the PROMOTION. This in a nutshell is all the activities that a market uses to promote the product. This part is where most companies would take some time, budget, do research to ascertain the best advertising, for awareness. This may be sending a press release or having a contest or flash sale which requires a media plan to help design the best ways to communicate to customers. Whatever is agreed, the company must make the product known to its target market and the promotion part of the mix can either cost the company more than it gains. As a result, this is truly critical to the mix. and must be part of the planning process.
A good return on investment is what every company wants. Having a good grasp on the market forces is the aim, so in turn, it is easier to act on any changes without significant investment, loss of revenue or tarnishing its brand identity. Customers are very demanding and know their rights more now, than in the past decade. Working creatively and with adequate knowledge of the market in which you operate, is the best way to keep ahead of the competition.