The 4 Ps of Marketing: How It Works and How It Can Be Useful for SEO
Understanding the essence of marketing concepts, marketing strategy, and the ability to apply them in practice is important for marketers and SEO specialists. This helps in the development and formation of an SEO strategy and implementation at all stages. A classic concept is the 4 Ps of marketing. Various strategies have been created for decades based on it. Let’s look at its essence, how it works with its individual components, and how to use it to solve SEO problems.
What Are the 4 Ps of Marketing?
The basics of the concept of 4 Ps of marketing, sometimes also called the marketing mix, were laid back in 1950, when Neil Borden, an American academic who served as a professor of advertising at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, formulated the principles of marketers’ work. According to his concept, the marketing mix principle was for specialists to find solutions consisting of a number of methods to promote each product.
In 1960, Edmund Jerome McCarthy, an American marketing professor, and author, in his book “Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach,” formed the concept of 4 ps marketing based on the concept of the marketing mix. It is based on a combination of 4 main marketing concepts – product, price, place, promotion.
The main thing in the McCarthy concept was a flexible approach to combining these four aspects, with the ability to change the focus and the strategy itself. The only thing that has always been in the spotlight and usually remained unchanged is the product. Here is the schematic representation of the 4 Ps of marketing concept:
Despite the fact that the concept was developed many years ago, it still remains relevant to modern marketing for the following reasons:
- Increasing consumer loyalty to the product: Thanks to a well-built strategy, promotions, and taking into account all factors (starting with the design of the product and ending with the location where it will be presented to the client), it becomes possible to influence the perception of the product by the target audience. This influences sales growth, brand development, etc.
- Creation of synergy: by working comprehensively with all four marketing segments (product, price, place, promotion), you can create a balanced and effective scheme, getting better results than if you work separately with each segment and direction.
- Links between your company and customers. Using a strategy based on the concept of 4 Ps marketing allows you to bring the promo campaign as close to the client as possible. The positioning and placement of the product closely match the expectations of the target audience due to timely adjustments. In addition to increasing loyalty, it is possible to form a connection between customers and the company. This will become the key to the development of the Product – Client relationship. Typical examples of this kind of chain between the target audience and brands are promotions in the form of sponsoring sports events and festivals. For example, the Dutch brand Heineken has been holding its own music festivals since 1990 or sponsoring other popular events designed for a large audience, thus forming an association between its product and bright open-air events.
- The ability to flexibly approach the formation of a strategy. Thanks to the organic interaction of the main marketing segments within the framework of one strategy, it can be formed based on the characteristics of the product, highlighting certain communication channels, forming a pricing policy, etc. For example, if the cost of a product is high, pay attention to the segmentation of the target audience and look for ways to convey information to wealthy customers. Conversely, think about segmenting the product line or the audience if there is a desire to reach a wider range of users, which can also be beneficial in the long run.
What Are the 4 Ps in Marketing in Details?
Let’s take a look at each of the 4ps marketing areas separately and also define what these concepts include.
Product is the main component on which the entire strategy depends. A product is what a company offers to its customers. We can talk about everyday goods, clothing, equipment, or cars; and about services, applications, and programs, and the services of specialists, consulting, etc. For example, our service, being an SEO tool, also acts as a product:
It is the characteristic of the product that affects how the remaining 3Ps will be formed. When talking about a product and brand, it is important to mention the role of the range that the company offers to its customers. The range of products determines how the brand promotion strategy is formed. Many famous fashion houses represent clothing and accessories lines along with perfume and decorative cosmetics. Because of this, the same brand runs several different marketing campaigns in parallel, taking into account the differences in the audience.
When starting to work on a strategy, understand what is the uniqueness of the product, the main advantages, how you can attract a customer, and how you can effectively compete with rivals.
Price is how much a customer will pay to receive your product or service. The profit of the company, as well as the prospects for its development, directly depends on this point. The question of cost must be approached carefully since its overestimation makes the product unattractive to customers. On the other hand, too low a price makes the business unprofitable and does not cover costs. We will consider the issue of pricing in more detail later in the article.
Place matters a lot in how efficiently your business works. For example, restaurant and cafe owners are well aware of how important the location of their establishment is. They are often willing to pay high rent in order to occupy an advantageous location. In this aspect, logistics plays an important role, since the availability of goods in stores and regular deliveries also affect the attitude of consumers towards products. When it comes to digital marketing, the platforms where the product is promoted and positioned are important.
The promotion has two main tasks: to inform customers about the product and to convince them to make a purchase. To solve these problems, a set of marketing activities is usually used, including:
- Public Relations
- Direct marketing
- Social media
- Personal selling
We studied how the 4 Ps marketing concept and its individual segments work, as well as the principles of their interaction in the context of marketing strategies in general. If we talk about the field of digital marketing and SEO, then when working in these areas, as well as when working with IT products, there are specific features. Do you want to know how to apply the concept of 4 Ps marketing in practice, and what professional tips and tools can be used in this case? Let’s answer these questions in a small guide.
The 4 Ps of Marketing Guide
Product. Since the product is a key link in building a marketing strategy, it is important to conduct a thorough analysis of it and monitor similar proposals from competitors. If you are just entering the market, it is worth analyzing the activity of competitors. Conducting a survey can be effective. To do this, you can use the Hotjar service.
Also, for conducting surveys, you can use forums and thematic communities, this will help in solving issues related to design, format, price, etc. Read about how to work with communities in the article Building Community in 2020: Why and How. To figure out how to make your product as attractive as possible, experts recommend asking the following questions:
- What is your favorite product in the segment (specify area) and why?
- What problem can we help you solve?
- How can we improve our product for you?
- What do you like and what do you dislike about our product?
For a site, application, or online service that you want to make changes to, you can use the A/B testing method. You can find out which of the options customers prefer. You can read more about how to conduct testing in the article How to Do A/B Tests and How Can They Work for SEO.
Price. It is an important point in the company’s profit, the competitiveness of the product, and the level of customer loyalty. Pricing is a very subtle and complex process that affects many aspects. One of them, Willingness to Pay (WTP), is an indicator of the maximum price a client is willing to pay. Depending on the market situation and many other factors, this indicator can fluctuate, therefore, it is often depicted as a range between the maximum and minimum border. The accuracy of WTP indicators usually depends on the size of the company and other factors that experts from Price Intelligently recommend taking into account:
- State of the Economy: During times of economic stability or growth, it is likely that the WTP will grow. In the event of stagnation, general economic problems, or a downturn in your specific industry, consider the likelihood of lower demand and a downturn in WTP. When forming a price even for a niche product, it is worth considering the general situation in the country and the world.
- Product Trend and Seasonality: With the seasonality of products and services, everything is more or less obvious. In spring, it is unlikely that anyone will need a Halloween costume, and in winter, no one will be looking for lawn mowing, so WTP in this area is easier to predict. As for trends, it is important to constantly monitor the situation, be immersed in the topic of your niche, and track new trends.
- Peculiarities of Clients’ Solvency: By creating a portrait of the target audience, you can estimate the average purchasing power. For a number of products, segmenting and offering different options ( from economy to premium, corporate, etc.) would be a good solution. This approach will expand the reach of the target audience and increase the client base.
- The Uniqueness and Exclusivity of the Product: Rare and exclusive items are always highly prized. If your product is unique, you can count on a rise in cost and WTP. At the same time, it is important to remember that it is worth keeping in touch with reality and objectively assessing the capabilities of customers.
- Quality and Brand Awareness: These are also important metrics for the audience. This can be seen in the WTP study by Priceintelligentely for Netflix and Disney:
With Disney being a well-known brand with a strong reputation, WTP figures rose by 50%. Just as with product development or optimization, a “Are you willing to pay $20 for a specific service, subscription, etc.” survey can be helpful in pricing. The survey can show the expectations of the target audience and how much customers are willing to pay for your product.
Place. Location always matters. The location, real or online, plays an important role. The product must be visible and accessible to the client. In the context of digital marketing, the meaning of place takes on a slightly different meaning. Neil Patel, an SEO-expert, as a 4 Ps of marketing example, cites his unsuccessful experience of holding a technical conference. Despite the excellent organization, an interesting program, and the presence of famous people, it failed due to a poorly chosen location:
Speaking about digital marketing and SEO, he emphasizes that the online sites where you post your products or promotional content are the same locations as offline ones. In the case of an unsuccessful choice, such placement will not bring results or even lead to financial or reputational damage.
In order to understand what resources, social networks, forums, and blogs should be used for positioning or presenting information about a product, study the target audience of these sites.
For example, if you sell youth or sportswear, then a TikTok posting would be appropriate. If your product is aimed at an adult audience, you should post information on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. To find out which virtual locations are right for you, analyze the below questions:
- Who is my target audience and where can I find it? What social networks and online services do they use? Surely, for each type of audience, you can choose several communication channels. It is worth highlighting one or two priority ones to which you will give the main attention and regularly monitoring how the sites work, where there is the most user activity, and continue to work in the same mode or make adjustments if needed.
- How do I sell my products, how effective is this path? These can be online or offline sites or both. Monitor the activity and sales statistics. You can conduct surveys among customers to understand how people received information (online, offline advertising, recommendation, etc.).
- Through which channels can I expand the distribution of my product? We are talking about the analysis of potential partners, for example, online stores of similar focus, etc. It is important to study attendance and traffic to make sure that your presence will not be nominal, and people really regularly visit this site. If you check the traffic metrics of Amazon and eBay, online sales leaders, over the past six months, you can make sure that their metrics are stable (in August, Amazon had traffic growth, but eBay is confidently holding its position). By checking the status and performance of the sites with which you are planning a partnership with the help of SEO tools, you can avoid wasting time and futile expectations of profit from inactive online stores.
- What platforms are my competitors located on? After analyzing the virtual or offline locations where competitors’ products are presented, you can adjust or expand the number of places where your products are located.
Promotion. After all the preparatory steps for launching and optimizing the product have been carried out, you should start promoting. Standard promotional methods like advertising and direct marketing have been mentioned above. Let’s take a look at how you can think about a product promotion strategy using analytics and SEO tools. For example, you have a small brand of organic cosmetics, you are planning to go to a more serious level, and you are thinking about what kind of promotional campaign to launch for this. In order to navigate what is happening on the market, it is worth conducting an analysis of competitors’ websites (read the related article SEO Competitive Analysis):
Having obtained a comparative analysis of the domains of three brands, you can make sure that one of them is clearly the leader in terms of traffic. A separate analysis of this site has shown that over the past 2 years, its organic traffic has grown steadily and the indicators for keywords in the United States demonstrate a high level:
You can take this site as an example in order to start developing your own promotional campaign. To do this, using organic search data, you can see what keywords a competitor is using to promote their content. In this case, 95 keywords were selected:
These phrases can be used to create content. It is also possible to get information about the backlinks of a competitor site. Thanks to this, it will be possible to work on building high-quality link mass. Read the related article Build High-Quality Backlinks in a Scalable Way in 2020.
Another tool that can be useful for the analysis of the advertising and marketing activities of competitors and planning your own is Facebook Ad Library.
The first brand we checked did not use Facebook ads, but another did ads 2 years ago. Facebook provides all the information about this:
The concept of 4Ps of marketing primarily refers to marketing and was largely developed to promote products in the offline world. Even 60 years after its creation, it remains relevant. Applying an integrated 4Ps of marketing approach with a main focus on the product within Digital and SEO can help you achieve high results and find non-standard solutions and assess the situation from different angles.