In 1964, Neil Borden published an article called The Concept of the Marketing Mix. E. Jerome McCarthy later simplified the “mixture of ingredients” that Borden came up with into four distinct categories. Almost half a century has passed and these four categories are well known as the four Ps of marketing and taught in most marketing textbooks.
This includes techniques that make the product more attractive to buy in addition to the physical features of a product or the intangible aspects of a service. What will the brand name of the product be? How will it be packaged? What kind of warranty will it have? These are all questions directly related to the appearance of a product.
The place category encompasses such concerns as where the customers are and how to get the product to them. What kind of middlemen must you use? Where are you going to sell your product? These questions are all answered by the place (or distribution) category. Transportation, reverse logistics, inventory and warehouse managing, and order processing centers are all a part of the distribution process that gets the product from the hands of the company into the hands of the consumer.
Promotion is usually divided into subcategories like mass selling, paid advertising, free publicity, and sales promotion. A simple definition of promotion is “telling the customer about the product” or “communication of information about the product”. The hope of course is that the customer will decide they like the product enough to try or buy it. Promotions include “personal selling” or direct contact from a salesperson to a potential customer, like those for high quality consumer products (a car for example). Large industrial sales also typically have salesmen to inform you about their products. The most popular promotions are of course, contests, coupons, and free samples. People love to get something for free and email marketing is perfect for this type of promotion.
There are a multitude of pricing decisions to be made about a product, just as there are multiple decisions to be made about the product itself. What will the suggested retail price be? What about volume discounts or wholesale pricing? Should you sell at a high price and make a greater profit in the short term or a lower price to beat the competition for the long run?
Understanding these four categories of market strategy is critical to understanding the way business works. These four Ps are simple to understand, but they provide a valuable framework to help make decisions that pinpoint the target market in order to create perceived value and generate a positive response.
Do you agree or disagree? Perhaps, I missed something? Either way, I would just love to hear what your thoughts are on this topic… just let me know your alive!