When you learn about marketing, one of the basic concepts is that of the marketing mix and the 4Ps. In this article I’ll explain what the marketing mix is, what the 4Ps are, and look at how you can apply them to internet marketing.
What is the Marketing Mix?
When you’re designing a marketing strategy, you look at who your target market are, and the correct marketing mix. The marketing mix consists of four categories that go together to make up the product offer. The four categories are:
The marketing mix will vary for each marketing strategy. One strategy may focus more on price, while another may be heavy on the product.
The 4Ps – Product
The Product is the first of the P’s. This is all about making sure you develop the right product for your target market (you do have a target market, don’t you?). What are their problems or concerns? What product or service do you have that can help them and meet their needs?
The product doesn’t have to be a physical product. I have a financial planning business and our main product is our advice. This consists of our knowledge and experience. We have to find innovative ways to package this together to make a product.
With internet marketing, your product could be a service, or an electronic product such as an e-book or an online course. The more intangible a product is, the more important it becomes to make it appear more tangible. You can do this by giving part of it away, or giving trial access to users.
It’s also important to consider how you’ll position your product. Is it a premium product i.e. high value / high cost or is it a convenience product with lots of competition? How does this affect how it’s packaged? How can you differentiate your product from those of your competitors?
The 4Ps – Place
Place is all about where your product gets sold. You’ve created a product, how will you distribute it?
In the retail world, manufacturers may choose to sell through a variety of stores. Sometimes the manufacturer owns the stores the product is sold in, in other cases it’s sold in independent stores.
Internet marketing typically has a very simple distribution process – the product is sold via a web site. It’s important in both the online and offline example that the place is suitable for the product. It’s no use selling a premium product through the local corner store. It needs to be sold in a retail environment that provides the right setting for the product.
It’s the same in the online world. You may have spent hours creating a fantastic product, but if your web page looks amateurish, you’ll struggle to get sales.
The 4Ps – Promotion
Promotion is about getting the word out and letting people know about your product or service.
In the internet marketing world this could involve:
- Using SEO to rank well for relevant search terms.
- Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising.
- Using affiliates to promote your product.
- Promotions using social media such as twitter or Facebook.
- Giving away products to thought leaders in exchange for reviews and feedback.
- Using other channels such as video marketing, article marketing, podcasting etc.
Promotion is all about persuading your target market that your product meets their needs.
The 4Ps – Price
The price is a very important factor, and can vary over the life cycle of the product.
When the product is new, you may offer it at a lower price to get new users and to begin to make inroads into your market. As the product becomes more well known and is in high demand you may choose to sell it at a higher price. Towards the end of the product life cycle you may discount the product, or bundle it with other products or give it away. This is very easy to do with online products.
The 4Ps and the Marketing Mix – Putting It Together
It’s important to consider the 4Ps when you’re creating any kind of product. Depending on your marketing strategy, the actual mix of the 4Ps will vary. Some products may have a higher emphasis on some of the factors and have a minimal emphasis on others.
Have a think about companies in both the online and offline world. How do they use the 4Ps in their marketing mix?