The 4 Basic Principles of Marketing (The 4Ps With Examples)


principles of marketing

The 4 basic principles of marketing, popularly known as the marketing mix, are key fundamentals in marketing your goods and services. Are you looking forward to learning more? In this context, we’ll comprehensively look at these principles of marketing.

With many marketing tactics, strategies, and disciplines out there in the marketing field, businesses get confused for choice, especially when they’ve not decided on the particular marketing strategy to take. That happens mostly due to poor mastery of marketing basics.

Understanding the basic principles of marketing lays a strong foundation, and that position you for future success. It’s because you know the right marketing strategy to introduce the products, and getting the customers to know more about them becomes easy. That translates to conversions in the long run.

What are the 4Ps of Marketing?

The 4Ps of marketing also called the four basic principles of marketing, or the marketing mix involves a framework that a brand can leverage to notify customers about a product or service and make a sale from it in return.

As the term marketing mix suggests, there are four ingredients that marketing revolves around. They include product, price, promotion and place. A marketer will opt to combine them based on product or service of choice to ensure there is a powerful synergy between the product and the target market at large. 

marketing mix

But wait, when was the 4Ps of marketing concept introduced? Who coined it? Here is a precise history you need to know.

A Precise History of Marketing Principles

In the 1950s, Neil Borden introduced the marketing mix concept, published in his article “The Concept of the Marketing Mix.” Here, he presented the idea by explaining a strategy and ingredients that every venture needs to incorporate to stand out in the market space. 

Later in the 1960s, E. Jerome McCarthy advanced Borden idea, and grouped the ingredients into four main categories, to create the popular concept, 4Ps of marketing. Over time, there have been modifications from the authentic 4Ps to come up with a 4C concept and even other Ps-models like 5Ps, 7Ps 8Ps, among others. 

In a nutshell: Here are the four principles of marketing.

  • Product
  • Price
  • Promotion
  • Place

Now that you have an idea of the principles of marketing and their history, let’s now dig deeper into understanding these elements and everything in between.

Understanding the 4Ps of Marketing: Everything You Need to Know

The 4ps of marketing are quite broad. Let’s scrutinize each comprehensively and get to know their meaning, how they work, and the relevance in marketing.

Product 

A product is what a company offers to its customers. It can be a service or a physical good. More so, it can be already existing or something new in the market. Think of something intangible like ideas or services or even tangible like shoes — that’s a product.

product

It’s here where everything starts, including initiating a marketing strategy. You can’t commence marketing without a product. It’s because you don’t have anything to place, promote, or price. 

That explains why it’s referred to as the heart of the principles of marketing. It’s the lifeblood of your venture through which you’ll generate revenue. Does that mean the product is the most important marketing element? A resounding, yes!

However, for your product to convert, you must take your time to know your customers’ needs. Your focus needs to be on solving the problem. If, at any point, a customer will figure the benefits of a product and realize it addresses their desires, then your product wins. 

Factors that Influence the Decision on Your Product

Whether you’re introducing the product or expanding your brand, these are the things you need to consider:

Product variations: How many products do you want to put out there? A company that embraces product mix marketing has multiple products to offer to its customers.

Servicing: How will you service your products? That’s where handling returns policies, warranties, among other things, come into play.

Packaging: How smart, unique, and effective is the packaging? Will you go for bags, boxes, or something else? 

Features and design: Any new and quality features? Do you want to include those premium designs? That what differentiates your brand from others.

Product life cycle: Every product has a product life cycle, and that influences how you introduce your product and the reactions you get from customers.

It’s important to understand the particular stage, know the challenges your product might face, and overcome them. These stages include introduction, growth, maturity, or decline stage. 

Overcoming the challenges in various phases requires you to plan, strategize, and perfect your product. That assures productivity and increased revenue.

In every marketplace, if your product has to stand out, you’ll have to make a sober and well-researched product decision. Well, that’s not all! Go ahead and couple the above factors with positioning your brand strategically. 

How’s that possible? 

Here is how to position your products strategically and assure customer satisfaction. Read on!

  • Build a buyer persona, and your product will align with customer needs.
  • Brand your product in a way that it depicts value and assures satisfaction. Personalize your product.
  • Get a well-thought name, and let it showcase the product positively. 
  • Don’t compromise quality, and you’ll be confident and ready to let even clients who value luxury and simplicity, enjoy your services.
  • Brand your product appropriately irrespective of whether it’s a premium or inexpensive good or service.

A real-world example: Apple gets a massive following and sales from customers. The company is a veteran and role model in the electronic gadgets space. It has invested in satisfying the tech needs of its customers through adopting some of the above strategies to design, develop and sell their quality and well-branded new and existing products that include iPhones, Apple watches, iPads, and Mac laptops, among others.

Pro tip: Target customers will identify your brand based on the product you present. Before you choose and present your product in the market, lay out a strategy to help you know what the customers want, and how to act differently from your competitors. That assures customer satisfaction and conversion. 

Price

With your goods and services ready, determining the price comes next. Price is the amount the customers pay for your product. But again, the price goes beyond what your product costs. Want to know the reason? Keep reading!

price

Pricing needs to reflect your business and marketing goals. Every company has policies that determine where the product will fall. Having the right pricing strategy while focusing on quarterly or annual goals helps you thrive in a market. 

A vital component of any brand is how they design and actualize their pricing strategy. Here are some strategies you need to price your product:

  • Pricing based on the cost incurred up to the point of sale.
  • Pricing based on value.
  • Charging high during the introduction and reducing as time progress.
  • You can set a high price to offer premium services.
  • Pricing based on the customer’s purchase bulk.

Though either of the above pricing strategies will earn you a profit to keep your company operations running, you must address the end consumer’s needs. Without a doubt, how you price a product will directly influence the sales, supply, and demand.

For instance, pricing influences how customers perceive a product. Perceptions can either be positive or negative. A company needs to perfect the art of pricing while creating a good impression that sells. Assigning a product much higher or lower price that customers’ expectations will hamper your sales.

Customers want to see the value of their money. If your customers see the value in the price, you’ll make sales—no doubt about that. Where customers are yet to know the value, special discounts are a game-changer. 

That doesn’t mean you can’t alter the price. No, not at all! If your product has unique features and absolute customer value, and you’ve realized that clients are into it like never before, you can slightly increase the price. It also applies when customers say your product is overpriced — you have to underprice it to sell. 

Having looked at a few pricing strategies, let’s now expound further on other marketing variables you need to consider when pricing to align with your customers’ expectations.

Marketing Variables to Consider When Pricing

Market research: How’s the product competition? Based on experience, what does your sales team say about the target customers? That helps you to know what you’re getting into and prepare adequately.

Marketing allowance: How much are you spending on advertising and promotion allowance?  Are you considering enticements? The amount you’ll spend to have your product out there through various channels influence the pricing.

Marketing rebates, coupons, and discounts: How much are you willing to refund? Will you have coupons in place to attract sales? At what terms and percentage will you offer discounts? Getting this right gives a smooth transition during marketing.

Payment options and period: Based on your product, you’ll need a payment method that your target client are conversant with or a new safe and secure way. In case there are many payment options, the better. Again, after how long do you demand payment? Is it on cash, upfront, or credit basis?

A real-world example: Starbucks’ pricing approach has made it build a successful brand. It leverages premium pricing and attracts more customers than competitors who underprice their products. It’s because the focus is beyond the pricey, quality, and exotic coffee they sell. Whether you’re on your favorite Cinnamon Dolce, oat milk honey, coconut milk cascara latte, or a blonde espresso, Starbucks gives value for your money. 

Pro tip: The right pricing strategy is the best thing you can do for your brand success. Leverage pricing research to understand your customers and the general market, then come up with the best price that aligns with your company goals while giving customers value. With that, your growth will come naturally.

Place 

Place, also placement or distribution, focuses on how and where a client acquires a product. Understanding this marketing mix component makes it easy for companies to know areas to sell a product and how to deliver it. That’s why you’ll hear marketers talk about having the right product, at the right place for the right people.

place

There are two ways to give your goods and services value through the place principle and ensure convenience to your customers. They include physical and online destination.

Physical distributions involve transferring a manufacturer’s owned product to a customer at a particular point of sale. Every business that takes the physical approach has to deliver at the right price as expected. Clients are extra cautious about that.

How easily a company reaches a particular place will tell a lot about customer satisfaction. If the response is swift, customers feel appreciated. It’s also evident that companies that meet the agreed delivery time enjoy great brand loyalty.

The profit margins highly depend on the place factor. Clients are comfortable sticking to a product they’re confident about its availability in the stores or those they’ll order and get prompt delivery. 

Elements that Influence the Marketing Principle of Place 

If your business is mindful of how and where its customers find a particular product, it has to factor in these elements correctly. They include:

Geographical area: What specific areas will you serve? Are there potential customers? For instance, if your focus is on clothing for cold weather, you’ll have to focus more on driving sales in Minnesota than Florida.

Ease of processing orders: How effective is the picking options? How about packaging? Is the delivery effective? Getting these factors all affirmative, allows for a smooth work-flow. 

Inventory control: Your supplies require good management to allow for streamlined operations. A proper inventory control tells you the stock at hand, its position, and when you need to add more.

Product handling: Whether it’s during the production, warehousing, distribution, consumption, or disposing of, you’ll have to handle the products appropriately to align with the place terms and needs for clients.

Channels used for distribution: Do you intend to go online or physical? Will you settle on delivering to retailers or wholesalers? Your channel must effectively get the product to the final user on time without altering the product.

Transport efficiency: Which transport means are practical in that area? How is the cost-benefit ratio? You want to serve your clients with a swift transport method without spending all money on it.

If you also focus on enabling online purchases, get the best and reliable logistics to help you reach customers at the respective target places. Online marketing is vital even when you operate your business in a physical location. 

It helps you grow your customer base and beat the market competition. That translates to a boost in sales.

How can you provide an online place for your customers? Here are ways you to strategically position your brand online.

  • Have a business website and market it fully.
  • Leverage social media and have product pages.
  • Have an application to support mobile devices.

A real-world example: Again, Starbucks coffee house has effectively incorporated the principle of place. It has multiple convenient physical stores for customers. More so, there is a mobile app for iPhone and Android users to order, pay, and track their products. Starbucks’ order processing, handling, and deliveries are awesome.

Pro tip: Identify ideal locations to make it easy to convert potential customers to actual and recurring customers. Be reliable when it comes to delivery. Again, leverage both physical and online platforms, with appropriate strategies in either case.

Promotion

Promotion involves several ways a brand uses to get known out there while getting in touch with customers and, at the same time, making sales. It happens through various marketing channels, based on the company preference.

promotion

When informing and persuading customers about your product, you need to initiate a strategy that meets the client’s demands. Find an appropriate means of communication that will reach the target audience. There is a lot that clients want to know, and promotion needs to get these answers right. 

More so, complement your company goals. What is it that you want to achieve in the short or long run? Whether you’re embracing social media, content marketing, or other promotional tools and tactics, a strategy that makes your goals a reality is worth it. 

Promotions need to create a favorable environment for both the brand and the buyer. Without that, marketers stand a chance of losing clients. That’s why brands must know how to create a promotion. How does that happen? 

How You Can Create a Promotion for Your Product

Creating a statement: Every company needs a well thought and cohesive product positioning statement that creates a positive impression of the brand. Something that introduces the company and clients will feel like they know much about a product, even without prior research. 

Having a unique theme and logo is another trick to leverage. There are colors and designs a client will see and associate it with your product, which encourages them to buy.

Setting smart goals: Promotional tactics doesn’t mean doing everything to the extent of breaking your bank. Remain focused on your goals and have an intelligent approach, like having measurable goals. That will help you know whether your marketing campaigns are converting. 

Knowing the ethical limits: Some promotions will not convert to sales due to ethical issues. Based on your product, know the right channel to use, the appropriate time to promote, and the ideal location. That applies to both online and offline channels and areas.

Given that there are multiple marketing tactics to consider during promotion, you have to know what suits your brand. Here are some of the promotional tactics your brand needs to stand out in the crowded marketplace.

  • Sales promotion
  • Social media promotion
  • Direct marketing methods
  • Leveraging public relations
  • Special promotions
  • Personal aggressive and strategic selling
  • Advertising

A real-world example: Coca Cola Company has leveraged multiple promotions strategies, with sales promotion and personal selling taking center stage. Guided by its famous product positioning statement, “Taste the feeling” the company invests in promoting its products online and offline to gain new customers and give incentives to existing ones. 

Pro tip: When promoting your product, focus on creating a unique statement and presentation, understand the market, then have an ideal promotion tactic that informs the customer about your product value extensively — that increases the chances of purchase.

Factors that Influence the Four Principles of Marketing

Having looked widely at the 4Ps of marketing, it helps to appreciate that there are multiple factors that every company needs to consider before commencing the entire process.

Let’s expound this further by grouping them into two categories that include:

  • Internal factors
  • External factors

influence

Internal Factors

Internal factors involve everything that lies within a company and greatly influence the principles of marketing. It can be from the top management or at a lower distribution level. 

Having the internal factors in place assures proper operations, and that’s what every business wants. The main internal factors include:

  • The type of product or service the company owns
  • The availability of finance to run the marketing operations
  • The objects of a company
  • The product life cycle at which marketing occurs

External Factors

External factors involve outside changes and operations. They don’t arise from the company, but it’s possible to have a strategy that helps your brand overcome them. Some of these factors include:

  • The level of competition
  • Customer buying patterns
  • Government policies and regulations
  • The effectiveness of the distribution channel

Why You Need to Leverage the Four Principles of Marketing 

The 4Ps of marketing aim to set a successful journey towards your brand. Any new and established brand can’t ignore these principles. Here are the benefits you get in return:

Boosts Your Brand 

Since you know the right thing to do, you’ll have no problem satisfying the customers. Satisfaction leads to increased brand value and loyalty, which spontaneously grows your business due to high sales volume.

Allows Product Coordination

Understanding the product, price, and best promotion tactics and getting your product to the client gives you adequate knowledge on how to coordinate all the 4ps of marketing to benefit you and your client. Proper integration helps you remain unique while forging a quality link with clients.

Knowledge Sharing

In the marketing mix, there is a focus on everything clients need to know. For instance, the promotion mix mainly focuses on imparting knowledge to customers to help them make decisions. Brands also benefit from the knowledge. During the market research, you get to know how customers view your product.

4 ps of marketing

Now, Grow Your Brand with a Balanced Marketing Mix 

Now that you know the role of 4Ps in generating sales from your product, you can now grow your business without worry. But, before that, understand how to design a perfect and balanced marketing mix. 

The good thing about correlating these factors is that your approach depends on what the company marketing staff wants to adopt, the current market situation, customer tastes, and preference, among other things. 

However, there are things you have to meet to have a balanced marketing mix. They include the following:

Harmonize Your 4ps of Marketing

There should be a proper link between these principles. With that, those involved in implementing various elements get to brainstorm and achieve even greater goals; that’s an assured advantage over your competitors. Clients will also know when there is a disharmony internally and on the ground, which greatly affects your brand. Harmonize!

Embrace Opportunistic Advantages

Remember that the market has many products, with some targeting the same clients as you. If you notice an opportunity or a gap in the same market you had not noticed before, go ahead and modify your approach and balance your marketing mix. Grab that opportunity with two hands!

Position You Product Correctly

Irrespective of the direction you take, ensure all the 4ps of marketing complement each other. Let your product shine at the right place within the needed time. Again, position your product by having it complement with the company goals. Poor positioning leads to price alterations and even poor sales.

Have Matching Finances 

Match your finances with the marketing plan you have at hand. You might want to embrace perfect promotions, but it will continue to be a daydream if you can’t pull additional finances. Ensure you plan based on what you can raise and reinvent your strategy when necessary.

Match Your Customer Profile

Your product must match the profile of the clients. Let say you’re selling a high-end watch; if you intend to make sales, target places where clients are economically stable and can afford the product. You must, however, give it a luxury value.

Yes! That’s a Wrap

With the 4 basic principles of marketing and examples well elucidated in this blueprint, you have an assurance of having a clear, well thought, and aligned marketing strategy that allows you to have a balanced marketing mix. With that, you get to position your brand, reach out to target customers, and grow exponentially. 

Is there something else you’d love to know about the principles of marketing? We’re here to help you. Please reach out!

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.

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