But chances are if you haven’t been trained in marketing, you’ve only been thinking of the fourth P as marketing.
How might your brand grow if you looked at the other three through the lens of marketing?
Before we go deeper, let’s make sure we are on the same page about what each P represents.
- Product: this one is obvious, it’s what you sell or the service you offer.
- Price: another obvious one, it’s how much you charge for your product or service.
- Place: place refers to where you sell your product or service, i.e. a brick and mortar store, online, social media, a farmer’s market, etc.
- Promotion: how you tell people about your product or service and induce them to buy.
Here are some insights into how I look at each P and some questions you can ask yourself as you look for ways to grow your business or organization:
Product Utility and Specialization
As a marketer, I analyze a product in terms of how it solves a problem for the target customer. I also consider how it is similar to or differentiated from other products that are available to solve the target customer’s problem.
Product questions to ask:
- What problem (or problems) leads a customer to search for products like mine?
- What other options does the target consumer have to solve this problem?
- How is my product different from the other options out there? How is it the same?
For example, if you’re selling sunglasses, the target consumer’s problems might be categorized into two types. First, there is a functional problem of the sun hurting the eyes. Second, could be an emotion-related problem such as a feeling that the target consumer’s sunglasses are out of style, which makes the wearer feel insecure about their looks when they wear them.
If you think critically about other options the target consumer has to solve this problem, you may find that there are options you have never considered. In the case of sunglasses, you might be focused on other sunglass brands and have not considered that a hat company is also a competitor.
Pricing Based on Value
Many businesses use a cost-plus pricing model (a.k.a mark-up pricing), but you may find that if you can effectively communicate the value of your product or service, it might be worth more than you are charging. For example, does your one product enable a target customer to stop buying three other products? If so, you might want to price your product so it’s equivalent to the cost of two to three of those products that can be eliminated.
Pricing questions to ask:
- Does my product or service help customers save time or money
- Can I quantify the dollar value of that savings?
- Does my product or service help the customer earn more money?
- Can I quantify the dollar value of that additional income?
Am I Selling in the Right Place?
When I work with a client on where their product or service is sold, I want to know if the sales location matches the brand perception that a client wants to achieve. I also want to know if there are alternative location options that might provide greater value. The “right place” is very much dependent on the product or service and where and how the target customer is willing to purchase the product.
Place questions to ask:
- Where would my target customer like to purchase (and possibly consume) my product?
- Where is my target customer already spending time?
- Is it possible they would be willing to purchase my product if it were in a location where they are already spending time?
- Do I need to provide a slightly different product offering to fulfill my target customer’s desire to purchase or consume my product in a different location?
The goal of promotion is to communicate what the product or service is to consumers in a way that convinces them it is worth purchasing and that the pricing is fair. Promotion includes advertising, public relations, and an overall media strategy. This is where copywriting and graphic design play an important role in communicating benefits and making a sale.
Promotion questions to ask:
- Does my copy clearly articulate how my product or service helps the target customer solve a problem they have?
- Is the design easy to understand?
- Can the target customer quickly and easily find the information they need to make a decision?
- Will my target customer recognize from the copy and design that this product is meant for them?
- Is there a clear call to action, i.e. is it clear to the target customer how to take the next step or make a purchase?