The four Ps of marketing – product, price, promotion, and place – are factors that businesses use when marketing their services or products. 

The concept is from the ‘marketing mix’ created by an advertising professor at Havard University in the 1950s. Neil Borden found if you tailor each part of your business towards customers, you are more likely to get sales.

By using them you can manage the entire marketing of your business in four unique sections, so you can focus on how each will attract your target audience.

Your target audiences are groups of people that you have identified as likely to be interested in you products or services. If you take this approach you’ll be able to make sure that you give your customers exactly:

  • what they want, 
  • when they want it, 
  • for the price they want it, 
  • with a reason to keep buying it.

Let’s take a closer look.

Product

Product represents the physical goods you sell or the services you provide. 

Function

The function of what you sell needs to appeal to your target audience

A unique sell point (USP) is something you offer, but customers can’t buy from anyone else.

It’s helpful to create products or services to address your audience’s problems. If you offer a functional solution, they’re more likely to buy it.

Brand

Part of what you sell is also your brand. More often than not, customers buy into brands.

For example, Coca-Cola and Pepsi are very similar, but their branding separates them. It leads to customer loyalty to one over the other.

Branding is your business’ public-facing identity and you use it to build recognition with customers.

Branding includes:

  • Name
  • Logo
  • Colours
  • Typography
  • Tone of voice

Price

Price is what your customers pay for your product. To get them to buy, you need to provide them with the value they expect.

List price

Depending on your level of wealth and lifestyle, some customers are more likely to pay different listed prices than others.

What you offer should be affordable to your ideal customers. Tailor your price towards their lifestyles and incomes.

Millionaires expect to pay hundreds of thousands for cars, but the average customer wouldn’t. So car manufacturers build and price them with a specific target market in mind.

Discounts

Sales or discounts may encourage new customers to buy what you sell. For example, heavy reductions entice people who often seek a bargain.

There are different ways of using that as a promotional pricing strategy. One example is making your product a ‘loss leader’.

A loss leader means you sell the initial product cheaply (often at a loss) but charge high prices for additional side-products.

Examples include toothbrushes or printers sold at a discount with expensive brush heads or inks specific to those models.

Promotion

After tailoring your product and your price toward the target audience, aim to get it in front of them. This modern marketing management four P’s is ‘Promotion‘.

Advertising

You’ll likely spend a lot of your marketing budgets on advertising.

Advertising depends on your audience, what those messages should be. 18-25-year-olds will respond differently to messages from those over 65.

It aims to grab attention with a hook, then delivers the message of the brand or product. You can use entertainment, emotion or humour to get that across.

Once your target customers are engaged, advertising uses a ‘call to action‘, meaning you encourage customers to do something.

Some examples of ‘calls to action’ are:

  • ‘Buy now’
  • ‘Learn more’
  • ‘Click here’
  • ‘Follow us’
  • ‘Join now’

PR

Public relations (PR) are how you influence the perception the public has of your brand.

There’re many ways to use PR:

  • Speak to news outlets through press releases. A press release tells the organisations about what you’re doing to encourage them to write articles for you.
  • Become more ethical or charitable. With local customers, you can improve how they see you by supporting community causes.
  • Put on PR stunts. This is when you do something that’s big and bold to attract a lot of attention, it helps increase people’s awareness of your business.

Place

The last of the modern marketing management four P’s is ‘Place’. Your audience needs to be in the right place at the right time to see your message.

Channels

Where you show the communication is crucial. You’ll aim for the best opportunity to reach potential customers, so choose channels that fit their lifestyles.

Suppose your audience works in cities. In that case, you can place advertising on public transport. There are many channels to place advertising:

  • Images – billboards, posters, bus stops
  • Video – television, YouTube, TikTok
  • Audio – radio, podcasts
  • Experience – PR stunts, events
  • Combination – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

With so many options, you’ll likely want to narrow down based on where your customers are most likely to be.

To do this you can carry out market research to help find the right channels for your target audience. You can then tailor your choices to what their daily lives are like.

One way for you to do that is through customer profiles –– these are lifestyle summaries of your ideal customers. 

With their days, you can spot when to advertise toward them. For example, if your audience uses Tiktok in the evening, place an advert on the platform at 7.30pm.

Location

Beyond advertising placements, the proximity of what you offer to customers is just as important. They are more likely to buy something they can easily access.

If you have a physical store, it can mean that you open close to where your target audience is likely to visit, for example. Similarly, if you sell something through other businesses, you’ll look to choose one your customers would use.

For example, if it’s a fresh food product you sell, you may choose to get it stocked in a supermarket rather than through online retailers.

BONUS P: Practice

Manage marketing expenses with Countingup

Now you can market to your customers throughout your business, consider how you’ll manage the costs of that.

Countingup is a business account with built-in accounting software, which helps you manage finance on your phone. Its expense categorisation feature sorts your costs conveniently so you can compare different areas.
Suppose you have the ability to check different marketing aspects. In that case, you’ll see where to spend less or invest more. With Countingup, you’ll put all of the P’s to Practice.

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