For more than half a century, the Four P’s – Product, Price, Promotion, and Place – have formed a cornerstone of marketing theory. However, today’s IT-savvy consumers are informed and empowered, with nearly endless options – in fact, through research and online dialogue, they carry out much of the marketing process on their own.
To keep up, businesses need to adapt and integrate the 4 P’s in order to make the most of a customer-centric environment. So, let’s take a look at these four classic pillars of marketing as they pertain to today’s market.
In today’s research-driven market, we can no longer employ’s Henry Ford’s tactic of selling his Model T in only one color. Our products and services must cater to people’s different needs, desires, and purposes. Prospects usually have certain criteria in mind when they begin their shopping process. To stay one step ahead of the game, businesses must develop unique selling propositions that capture their customers’ emotion by setting them apart from their competitors, while meeting some, if not all the criteria for conversion.
Price is directly connected to the value of a product or service. Most people wouldn’t spend $1,000 on a caviar pizza, or buy a brand new SUV online – but for a few consumers, that cost is less important than the gourmet dining experience, or the convenience of not having to haggle over vehicle options. With the use of web analytics, social media tracking, and other available metrics nowadays, we can closely follow consumer behavior and campaign performance to find the right balance between cost and value. This type of analysis allows us to better forecast customer demand, lay out strategies accordingly, and adjust more quickly and easily to maximize revenue.
In many ways, marketing promotion has never been more ubiquitous than it is today. And at the same time, it has never been as confusing and overwhelming for marketers. Email, social media, and mobile devices have opened new doors for communicating with and engaging prospects, all the while generating an overwhelming amount of data. Luckily, automated marketing software enables us to create better, more focused, and more personalized marketing programs, using the data we gather on our day-to-day transactions with prospects and customers.
Placement, or distribution, is about delivering your product or service to the customer in the right way, at the right time. This means knowing which customers utilize which types of channels, and when –and automated tracking goes a long way in shaping your placement strategy. For example, do consumers prefer to purchase their gourmet gift baskets pre-packaged in local markets, gift-wrapped from online catalogs, or custom ordered fresh at gourmet shops? For legal services, do people trust an online form to create their living will, or would they rather meet with a counselor in person? Do these trends shift depending on the economy, geographic location, and target audiences? Placement involves not only considerations of supply – such as transportation, warehousing of goods, and method of service delivery – but also the impact of product availability on sales – and ultimately, on price.
Though their relevance may have changed in today’s market, the 4 P’s of marketing still form the pillars of an effective marketing program. No matter what your product or service, it’s important to take a step back once in a while and be sure that each strategic step synchs with what your target audience needs (and what they’re willing to pay for), while keeping your product easily found and available.