The 4 P’s in the Age of Google

Marketing

by Kenny Hyder

The 4 P'sBet­ween email spam, pop-up ad’s, and phishing attacks, it feels like the days of genuine mar­ke­ting are long gone. On the inter­net, it seems as if mar­ke­ters have taken an “anything goes” approach to get­ting their pro­duct in your face. These unfor­tu­nate by-products of our mass exo­dus to online immer­sion have given mar­ke­ters a bad name. What many don’t rea­lize is, the web­si­tes and brands online that you love and trust have simply mas­te­red the basics of Mar­ke­ting 101.

The 4 P’s

The four p’s of mar­ke­ting are the pillars of what a good mar­ke­ting stra­tegy should built on. They stand for: Pro­duct, Price, Place, and Pro­mo­tion. Good mar­ke­ting rea­li­zes the essence of each of these con­cepts at their core, and applies them to their uni­que con­texts. As we rapidly evolve into an inter­net cen­tric cul­ture it’s impor­tant that we unders­tand fun­da­men­tal con­cepts as these in our online contexts.

Pro­duct

There is no mar­ke­ting without pro­duct. Many unders­tand the pro­duct side of the mar­ke­ting equa­tion, but it isn’t as one dimen­sio­nal as it is often demons­tra­ted to be. Clearly sta­ted: your pro­duct is either some phy­si­cal thing that you are selling, or a ser­vice that you offer. Unders­tan­ding that you need a pro­duct before you go to mar­ket is tri­vial, what isn’t obvious is the effort that is requi­red to subs­tan­tiate your­self from your com­pe­ti­tion.  Your pro­duct is the foun­da­tion and the cor­ners­tone of your busi­ness; it’s what your busi­ness is built on, and what holds it together.

So many inter­net start-ups today launch a pro­duct or ser­vice really quickly, and then bust their asses trying to mar­ket them­sel­ves to ever­yone and anyone thin­king that just the right mix of magi­cal mar­ke­ting is going to get them “there”. Mar­ke­ting is impor­tant, but mar­ke­ting, sales, expo­sure, nothing can help you if you don’t spend enough time making your pro­duct great.

The majo­rity of your time, money, and focus should always be spent on deve­lo­ping, impro­ving, and expan­ding your pro­duct.  Com­pa­nies that have lon­ge­vity in the mar­ket­place are noto­rious for impro­ving their pro­duct, expan­ding their offe­ring, and deve­lo­ping new pro­ducts. There is no other way.

Price

In the world online, it seems like things are either free, or way over-priced. We seem to have lost the science and psycho­logy of pri­cing as mar­ke­ters. We either are making things free so peo­ple will like us and spread our free pro­ducts around to as many peo­ple as vir­tually pos­si­ble, or we are overtly greedy with our over-pricing and thoughts of how rich we might get.

There has to be a happy medium. Ever won­der why almost everything you buy ends in .95 or .99? Because it works! The sim­ple side to pri­cing is figu­ring out how much it cost you to make your pro­duct, and figu­ring out a price point that allows you to remain pro­fi­ta­ble and in busi­ness. But taking it further, how much exactly will your cus­to­mers pay? How much is too much? Are you making too little a profit?

Just like you test metrics on your web­si­tes to deter­mine what but­tons work bet­ter, what copy per­forms bet­ter, you should test your pri­cing models as well.

Place

Before the era of inter­net mar­ke­ting, the “Place” part of the equa­tion meant fin­ding sto­res that would carry your pro­duct, where your pro­duct was loca­ted on the shelf and get­ting your pro­duct to be phy­si­cally visi­ble. Today, most of us have our one niche of online mar­ke­ting that we are com­for­ta­ble with, and we push our pro­ducts there. We are good at this, and have suc­cess. But there are SO many ave­nues online to expand your visi­bi­lity it’s hard to keep up.

Peo­ple tend to stick to their com­fort zone, but if you’re loo­king to expand and grow your busi­ness it’s time to look in a dif­fe­rent place. Why con­ti­nue to stick to SEO, PPC, and Social Media? What about dis­play adver­ti­sing, lead gen, or email mar­ke­ting? Most online busi­nes­ses are only in one or two “pla­ces” to mode­rate suc­cess, why not go somewhere new and expand? God for­bid we actually get our pro­duct into a phy­si­cal store.

Pro­mo­tion

As mar­ke­ters, we are all very fami­liar with the pro­mo­tion part of the equa­tion. What I find inte­res­ting about the 4 P’s is, pro­mo­tion is lis­ted last. I think the ease with which we can pro­mote things these days gets us over exci­ted about the pro­cess. To the point where we even begin pro­mo­tion before we have the product.

Pro­mo­tion is obviously an impor­tant and cri­ti­cal step, not to be dimi­nished. But as mar­ke­ters, I think we need to be remin­ded not how to pro­mote, but how not to pro­mote. Our over-zealousness tends to lead us to do things that are down­right anno­ying when it comes to the pro­mo­tion pro­cess. Maybe it’s because we just get so exci­ted about our pro­ducts that we want to do everything we can to get them out there, maybe it’s because we’re mar­ke­ters and it’s in our blood.

The thing to remem­ber is, over-zealous, cheap pro­mo­tion isn’t help­ful, and isn’t making your pro­duct look good. Pro­mo­tion is about loo­king good and making your pro­duct look good. Auto-tweets, spam emails, phishing attacks, and beg­ging peo­ple doesn’t make you or your pro­duct look good.

There are many pla­ces, and many ways to pro­mote your pro­ducts; just be sure that you look good when you’re doing it. Stay Classy.

Photo Cre­dit: Leo Rey­nolds

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