The 4 Ps of Marketing: How to Position Your Product
Many successful business teams turn to the 4 Ps of marketing when positioning their product for market—and for good reason. This approach to product positioning helps both novice and expert entrepreneurs put their product in front of the right people in the right place at the right time and at the right price.
Simply put, the 4 Ps of marketing is a strategic model for enhancing the components of your marketing mix so that your product is well-received in the marketplace, particularly:
This guide aims to explore the evaluation process for each of these four components. I included questions to ask yourself during this process so that you stand out in today’s crowded market and create an optimal product strategy.
Product (or Service)
Having a general idea about the product or service isn’t enough. To sell your product successfully, you must clearly understand and define your product’s unique value proposition.
Consider this as your first step in the 4 Ps of marketing process. The product stage is when you identify your target audience, establish your product’s features and branding, and confirm your product’s value and relevancy within the marketplace.
Don’t assume you know everything off the cuff about your product. You can accidentally overlook some factors with the anticipation of launching your product.
Ask yourself these questions so that you deliver the right product to the right consumer:
- Who is your target consumer?
- What are the pain points of your target consumer?
- Which of these pain points does your product address and resolve?
- What needs does your product satisfy?
- What are the features of your product?
- Which of these features meets the needs of your consumers?
- Which of these features does not enhance the experience for your consumer?
- Are there missed opportunities for additional product features for improving the consumer experience?
- How does your target consumer experience your product?
- Where does your target consumer use your product?
- When does your target consumer use your product?
- Does your product offer variation, such as sizing and colors?
- What value does this variation bring?
- What is the name of your product?
- Does this name resonate with your target consumers?
- Is your product name distinct and not like competitor product names?
- Who are your competitors?
- How does your product stand out from your competition?
- How does your competition outperform your product?
What you believe your target consumers should pay for your product may not be the number your consumers had in mind to pay. For long-term success of your business (and to earn a reasonable profit), you must properly price your product to the benefit of both buyer and seller.
Here’s why. Setting your price too low means missing out on potential profits and lowering the perceived quality of your product. Setting the price too high may dissuade your target consumers from purchasing your product for a better value elsewhere.
This step of the 4 Ps of marketing process focuses on defining the perceived value of your product so that both you and your consumers are aligned on price. Ask yourself these questions to verify that your price is on point:
- How are competitors pricing their products?
- How does your price compare to their pricing?
- Does your pricing take into account features not offered by your competition?
- What are your product-related costs? (cost of goods sold, overhead costs, distribution fees, etc.)
- What type of pricing structure makes the most sense for both your business and your consumers?
- Is your consumer price sensitive?
- What value does your product bring to your target consumer?
- Is this value reflected in your price?
- How will the value of your product to your consumer change over time?
If your target consumer can’t discover or buy your product in a way that meets their preference, then your product is simply off their radar and not of interest to them.
That’s not what you want, so take the time to ensure that your buyers can find and purchase your product through their ideal shopping experience, be it at a brick-and-mortar store, online or through business relationships.
This step of the 4 Ps of marketing process defines the where of your product. How people receive your product will impact how your product should be marketed (in the next step).
Before you set up shop where you shouldn’t be, make sure you ask yourself these key questions:
- Where do your buyers currently look for your products?
- Which of these channels provide the best experience for your target consumer?
- Which of these channels (if any) provide obstacles during the buyer process?
- Are there opportunities to explore new channels for your product?
- Where does your competition sell their products?
- Are these channels relevant to your target consumer?
- Is your competition missing out on selling opportunities?
- What tools and/or resources do you need to sell to your target consumers?
- What events (if any) should your business attend? (trade shows, conventions, etc.)
- What are the right distribution channels for your product?
- How can you access these channels?
- What actions can you take to get on these channels?
Depending on your role in your business, this can either be the fun step or the terrifying step in the 4 Ps of marketing process. Whether you’re afraid or enthusiastic, you must create a product marketing strategy so that it gains visibility within the marketplace.
Think of this step as the how in marketing your product. The position phase aims to effectively achieve these two goals:
- Informing your target consumer about your product
- Persuading your target consumer to purchase your product
It wasn’t long ago that marketing was limited to the confines of TV/radio ads, billboards and telephone calls. With so many online (and offline) marketing channels, it’s crucial to pinpoint which marketing approaches are most appropriate for both your product and your target consumer.
Sounds like too much? Simply take this step one category at a time:
- Traditional Advertising: Are TV/radio/newspaper/billboard ads relevant to your target consumer?
- Online Advertising: Are PPC, retargeting, digital banner ads, social media ads, inbox ads and/or online streaming ads relevant to your target consumer?
- Direct Marketing: Does your target consumer respond well to telemarketing, customized letters and postcards?
- Owned Channels: How can you utilize your owned channels (website, email list, social media accounts, etc.) for marketing to your target consumer?
- Public Relations: Would coverage by journalists, bloggers, influencers and media outlets influence the buying decision of your target consumer?
- Personal Selling: Does your target consumer value personal connections established through business relationships?
- Sales Promotions: Does your target consumer value and respond well to contests, coupons and seasonal discounts?
4 Ps of Marketing: Here’s How to Position Your Product
That was a lot of questions! Now comes the most important one: Is your product ready for the marketplace?
Not confident in your answer? I’ve summarized the 4Ps of marketing process so that your team can take actionable steps today aimed to ramp up the marketability of your product for your consumer.
- Define the product to be analyzed
- Establish who is your target consumer
- Assess how your product meets the needs of your target consumer
- Set the price of your product
- Understand the customer journey of your target consumer
- Create marketing messaging for your product
- Strategize how to market your product to your target consumer
- Continue evaluating strategy and make adjustments as needed
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