Ben Garside: Remember the 4 Ps? These important tools do make a difference

Time 11:48 am, October 21, 2015

WHEN was the last time that you assessed the 4Ps – product, price, place and promotion? Quite a few years back now, I studied marketing foundations at university, and a lot of this subject concerned marketing plans and the marketing mix, which were known as the 4Ps.

You learn about the 4Ps in business management studies, as they are an integral part of a business set-up and strategy, so most of you will have come across these at some point in your career. My point, however, is that even if you have, when was the last time that you used them or assessed them?

In summary, the 4Ps are:

Product – This is whatever is being sold to the customer and can be either a tangible item or an intangible service (finance, for instance) that fulfils a need or want of consumers. Whether you sell cars or insurance, you’ll know your product

Price – We all know that a product is only worth as much as people are prepared to pay for it. So that means that price will affect profit margins, supply, demand and marketing strategy. You may need to position your price differently based on a number of areas: competition, product/service quality or even geographical location.

Place – This is to do with the logistics of distribution. Where is a product stored/sourced and how does the customer purchase the product? Key areas to keep in mind are: Is it ‘convenient’ for the customer and the business? Is it easily ‘accessible’ for the customer?

Promotion – This is not just regarding money off-style promotions but all the methods we can use to communicate with a customer. Promotion includes elements such as advertising, public relations, sales departments and sales promotions.

I recently assessed a campaign that we had been asked to work on for a motor trader. The owner had built a website, had a source of incoming leads and a budget to start increasing leads through an online medium, but it wasn’t working for him.

The campaign was set up almost perfectly. It had one target product: used cars. The campaign also had the price correct: the vehicles had been priced up following valuations via a well-known brand and had been checked against the local competitors, as the trader wanted to be competitively priced.

However, the place and promotion were incorrect in my opinion. The promotion tool was an online search-engine advertising tool and set to be delivered nationally. This meant he hadn’t thought about place (distribution) thoroughly, meaning both needed assessing.

The trader was a medium-sized, single-site dealership and the website spoke mainly about his cars being available in his town and that he provided used car sales in the local area. However, there was no delivery option on the website. A simple alteration was made – we changed national to local – and that has seen all measurements improve. The 4Ps may be old, but they’re always worth remembering.

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