Beyond the 4 Ps: Integrating Your Marketing Mix for Success
Many business leaders know the ‘4 Ps’ of marketing. But do you know how they work together?
If you want to grow your business, your strategic decisions cannot be made in silos. Rather, you must look at your marketing mix holistically, considering how each piece works together and reflects the key drivers for your target audience.
Every move you make in your marketing efforts — from what you offer your customers to where you offer it, how you communicate it to how you price it — must connect.
Every element of your marketing should integrate with the next, reflecting the characteristics of your customer and your strategic positioning as a brand.
Today, I will summarize and expand on the Ps of marketing, and explain how they work in tandem with one another.
Your product refers to what you are selling, whether it be a tangible item or an intangible service. Regardless of what your offering is, strategizing around your product is critical to driving revenue and profit to the bottom line so your business can continue to grow.
Many business owners grapple with how to effectively ‘productize’ their services and accurately define the value of these intangible offerings. It is important to note that the value of your services extend beyond just the time it takes to perform the service; in order to maintain your profitability, your rates also must account for the overhead costs of running your business, such as rent, electricity, and other necessities that go into running your firm.
There are many ways to translate your time and effort into something that both you and your clients can digest. One option is to simply factor these elements into your hourly rate; alternatively, you could package your services into a bundle of services, or a bundle of hours. The benefit to this method, in addition to likely being more cost-effective, is that packages feel more tangible both from a business owner perspective and in the eyes of your prospects.
When thinking about your product, customer choice is something to keep in mind. More than ever before, customers have the power to choose what they will purchase, and what brands they will buy from. There is greater access to research and a growing shift towards conscious purchasing choices.
This results in a more direct comparison between you and your competitors, so be sure to clearly communicate why your brand has positioned it the way that it has.
One of the most common questions business owners ask is what they can realistically sell their product for. While you do have the power to set whatever price point floats your boat, you must also do your market research and consider the current state of your industry and the economy as a whole, while ensuring that you are still able to make a profit.
Clearly lay out your production costs, such as raw goods and contractors who also need to make a profit. Weigh these factors up against what the market will realistically bear, and proceed through that lens.
Next, look at your competition. If you charge more than your competitors, be clear on why this price differentiation exists, and clearly market yourself around the increased value you offer.
Think beyond just pricing structure, and also consider how you deliver your pricing. Do you offer discounts or pricing incentives? What messages have you communicated to your customer base, and what are their expectations?
Cost to the consumer also informs purchasing choices, as they relate to price. Maybe your product is a bit more expensive than other leading brands, but you have faster shipping or higher quality materials. Your prospects will be doing their research, so be sure to market around your specific value-add and how this informs your price point.
Pricing is a challenge, and an aspect of your business that you must continuously refine as the market waxes, wanes, shifts, and evolves. The key takeaway? Keep your finger on the pulse.
What are your distribution channels? Whether you are setting up shop in a brick-and-mortar store or through an online marketplace, putting your product in front of customers is essential.
Once you have your product and pricing in place, clearly define where your target audience can go to make the purchase. This all begins with a properly laid out business plan and marketing strategy.
Consider the element of convenience. Where can you access customers to capitalize on ease of purchase? Being in the right place at the right time starts by knowing your customers’ habits, and strategically planting your brand in convenient access points.
So you’ve got a product, a price and place - now what?
In order for your product to be seen by your target audience, the next step is to promote it. Promotion goes so much deeper than just getting eyes on your product. Now more than ever, promotion is based around building brand-customer relationships, which begins with building trust.
The possibilities for building awareness are truly endless, with many strategies to choose from, both paid and earned. Whether through paid advertisements, boosting your SEO through keyword research, or engaging in podcast interviews, the key is to gain awareness and interest through communication, while educating potential clients about how you can add value to their lives.
This is the start of a (hopefully) long and prosperous customer journey.
What’s the customer journey without the customer? An additional “P” that I’d advise you to add to your toolkit is people. At the end of the day, nothing really matters without the people making your whole process run, both your internal employees and stakeholders, as well as your external customers and prospects.
Know your customer. What is important to them? What will motivate them to purchase your product? If you don’t know where to begin, go back to your market research and develop personas for your target audience. This will allow you to understand the nuances of your customer.
Internally, taking care of the people who work for and with you is critical to your business success. Ensure that your employees and contractors are kept up-to-date on the latest company news, and that they understand the value of their contribution to your firm.
Without your people, your business simply cannot run, no matter how many other Ps you put into place. Nurture your internal and external relationships, and they will prosper.
Passion is a highly overlooked ‘P’ of marketing, but it is a critical factor in your business success. Lead by example, communicate your passion to your customer base, and watch your audience begin to embody that passion themselves! Passion leads to proactivity, which will drive your clientele to continue working with you - and be excited about doing so!
Of course, financial strategy is a significant piece of the puzzle as you consider your profit margins and plan for your brand’s monetary growth. From a marketing perspective, the key is to be realistic. It takes a long time to build a brand, and just moments to destroy it, so don’t overpromise. Be straightforward with what you are able to offer, and show up and meet that expectation. Sustainability is key.
Speaking of sustainability, consistency is another critical piece of how your brand shows up in the marketplace. This all starts with developing effective processes that you can replicate at a high level of quality.
By mastering the art of continually adding value to your clientele, you will differentiate yourself from competitors and have a better grasp of what needs tweaking internally as well.
The thread of insight that runs through all of these Ps is simple: do your research, and know your customer. From there, develop relevant offerings that reflect the common needs of your target persona.
The key with the Ps of marketing is not to isolate different aspects of your strategy. Rather, it is to allow you to see your positioning from multiple different angles, all of which can (and should) work in conjunction with one another. By reframing how you think about your company’s offerings, you can find the nuances that are unique to your brand and your niche, and transform them into your strengths.
About Angelo Ponzi
Angelo has over 25+ years of marketing and branding experience and currently works with startups, small and middle-market companies as their fractional Chief Marketing Officer. He focuses on defining market opportunities, developing competitive strategies, audience personas, brand realignment, strategies, and integrated marketing plans that help businesses compete in an ever-changing marketplace.