The 4 Ps of marketing

The 4 Ps of marketing are the four main pillars of the marketing mix. They are product, price, place, and promotion.

For a better understanding, let's start by defining the marketing mix. It's a plan that sets out a company's different objectives, whether in terms of product policy, distribution, communication, or pricing.

Of course, the marketing mix must be consistent. In other words, if your business model has a product policy that involves, for example, high-end products, B2B, or B2C, your communication, distribution strategy, and pricing will have to follow this logic.

The 4 Ps are the brainchild of Philip Kotler, a marketing professor at the time.

Since then, a number of researchers have examined the subject, and some now also speak of the 5 Ps, adding the dimension of "people," or even the 7Ps, integrating the dimensions of "process" and "physical evidence."

Let's go back to the 4 Ps for a moment and define more precisely what each of these headings means:

  • The P of Product corresponds to all the characteristics of your product or service. The product policy defines not only the choice of items in your catalog, but also the scope of your range, what you manufacture, what you distribute, the quality of each reference, the different formats, packaging, guarantees, etc.
  • The P of Price defines not only the selling price, but also the cost price, discounts granted above a certain volume, payment terms, or any discounts and promotions.
  • The P of Place concerns the way your products are distributed. Are they sold in a physical boutique or over the internet? Are they manufactured in one place or do they come from different suppliers? Do you deliver directly to the customer or exclusively to a relay point? Distribution policy considers all aspects, from manufacturing, warehousing, points of sale, delivery, and merchandising of all your products.
  • Finally, the P for Promotion refers to your communication policy for publicizing your products and attracting customers' attention, particularly important if you’re availing of cross-channel marketing. This includes not only your advertising, but also your packaging, leaflets, press releases, demonstrations, point-of-sale advertising, and all kinds of links with potential prospects.

Only if the 4 Ps are perfectly relevant and consistent can a store's sales take off and give it a competitive advantage.

What's more, the 4 Ps are likely to evolve constantly, in line with market trends, particularly in today's highly digitalized and competitive marketing environment.

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