It was at The University of Notre Dame that Professor of Marketing E. Jerome McCarthy laid out the principles of the original four P’s of marketing, also known as the Marketing Mix, in his 1960 book Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach. McCarthy and co-authors Joseph Cannon and William Perreault chose a hands-on, problem- solving approach to the challenges that marketing professionals face.
The boots-on- the-ground approach championed by the 4 P’s Marketing Mix was quickly recognized as foundational to the craft, the gold standard. The genius of the P’s is evidenced by their ability to address both the primary objectives of the marketing team and critical requirements of customers. The P’s relevance has continued into the 21st century and even inspired marketing researchers and thought leaders to expand the list.
As you build a marketing strategy for your products and services—-content and social media marketing, branding, advertising and PR, for starters—-you’ll find that the 4 P’s (+ more) Marketing Mix will guide you and your team to the most effective strategies and action plans every time. Here are the original four and four more that you may find useful.
Product: The solutions that a company sells—products or services, tangible or intangible, B2B or B2C.
Price: The value, in monetary terms, of what customers are willing to pay to obtain a company’s product or service. Company leaders are advised to fully account for the many factors involved in developing, manufacturing, or acquiring a product or service, in addition to the associated marketing, selling, distribution and overhead expenses when determining an appropriate Price. The prices of competitors will also influence your pricing.
Place: Where customers come into contact with and are able to buy the product or service—-in a bricks & mortar storefront, online, at a flea market, in a meeting after contract terms have been negotiated.
This component also refers to both which stores stock a product and the product’s location within a store. For example, certain breakfast cereals and other items targeted to children are found on shelves that are at a child’s eye level or in the children’s department.
Promotion: Strategies and tactics used by the company to persuade potential customers to buy its products or services.
Process: Where and how the customer receives the solution provided by the product or service and all that is entailed. Intangible services delivered by skilled practitioners are more obviously influenced by this component.
Will the solution be delivered in a classroom (education courses), a salon (hair styling or massage therapy), a health care facility (dentistry), or leak- proof cardboard containers (ice cream shop)? How the methods employed in the delivery or application of the solution significantly impacts both outcomes and the customer experience.
Position: The ranking or assessment that customers, prospects and sometimes even the public assigns to your product or service, as compared to similar offerings. To achieve the preferred Position for the product or service, a marketing team will through branding utilize distinctive messaging, packaging, advertising and product placement, sometimes through celebrity endorsement, to create and reinforce the desired image.
Packaging: Tangible products are more obviously influenced by this component. A product’s Price, Place, Promotion and Position are telegraphed in how a company “dresses” the product and presents it to target customers. Even the shopping bags and tissue wrapping paper (or their absence) support the story.
Intangibles are given a “verbal package” that will emphasize its most tangible advantages and benefits, which may include exclusivity (social media site Clubhouse) or rarity or other significant benefits.
People: One component of this factor refers to those who work in the business, in particular the customer-facing staff. Those who interact with customers usually have a profound impact on the all-important customer experience.
The second component in this category refers to the customers themselves, who have many opportunities to communicate to others both the perceived quality of the product or service that was purchased and the perceived quality of the customer experience. Online ranking and social media sites such as Trip Advisor, Yelp and Facebook empower people to either reward or punish a company.
Thanks for reading,
Image: © Harris Farm Markets Sydney, Australia