The 4 Ps of Marketing, sometimes called a “Marketing Mix” refers to the strategy a company chooses to market its product or service. The framework is comprised of four elements: product, pricing, promotion, and placement. The 4 Ps Framework can help your team identify areas of strengths and weakness, as well as new opportunities for success.
The History of the 4 Ps Framework
Though advertising and marketing have been used for ages, marketing theory only started gaining attention in the 1900s. Neil H. Borden coined the term “marketing mix” in the 1940s and loosely referred to some of the elements we cite today. Still, there was lingering debate about what elements to include in the marketing mix. In 1960, the framework was formalized and the 4 Ps were clearly defined by Edmund Jerome McCarthy.
The Elements of the 4 Ps Framework
This framework consists of four elements. Each of the elements requires a team to make strategic decisions about how they want to market:
- Product: this could be a physical good, an intangible good, or even a service you’re selling. Teams should map out all elements of how they plan to define the product, including the packaging they use, the policies or terms of service, as well as how it’s described publicly.
- Pricing: this refers to all aspects of how you price and bill for your product or service. What methodology do you use to set prices? What are you pricing terms? Do you discount or rebate? How do you allow customers to pay? How and when do you refund payments?
- Promotion: this refers to both where and how you promote your product, as well as what you say. How do you communicate with potential customers, where, and when?
- Placement: where is your product sold or offered? What distribution channels do you leverage? What supply chains or warehouses do you use when developing the product?
How to Use the 4 Ps Framework
Carve out at least an hour with your team. Spend time working through each of the 4 Ps, writing down as much info as you possibly can. If there’s disagreement about something, (or an area you haven’t considered yet,) document that too. The discussion that comes from leveraging the 4 Ps framework is half the fun/value!
Keep in mind that the goal for most teams is usually to maximize profit. If there are areas where you’re leaving money on the table, (your price is far lower than most of your competitors), discuss it as a team. Encourage people to share their opinion about why the current approach is/isn’t the best one for the company. Document your discussions for future reference, so that new people who join the team understand why you operate in the way you do.
4 Ps of Marketing Example: Tettra
We build an internal knowledge base. It’s a SaaS (Software as a Service) product, hosted in the cloud. Key product attributes are the fact that it’s simple, (ie clean, user-friendly interface,) smart, (ie the system alerts you when info is no longer being used), and connected to the other tools that teams use. Our Slack integration is one of the key product differentiators
Tettra is a subscription product with payment required upfront. We have a free plan, as well as plans for $39/month and $99/month. There is a ⅙ discount for customers paying annually. We prefer that all customers pay us with a credit card, but some customers require submitting payment with a check or wire transfer. We make invoices available to all customers within their accounts.
We promote our product almost exclusively online. We focus on tech teams of 15-150 people. A key strategy we use is the publication of educational content, teaching people how to run high-performance teams with better documentation. Our brand voice strives to be clear, helpful, and friendly.
Our product is largely built by the team based in Somerville, MA. We sell to customers in every state and in many different countries. We leverage US-based cloud services for data storage. We don’t currently sell our product through any partners or other distribution channels.