Marketing is the most important part of any business’ operations. How you market your brand decides your fate in the market. All the aspects of marketing are not as visible. Some of them are behind the scenes. Being  successful in the market depends on how well you design your marketing strategy. It begins from designing a marketing mix. Any company uses the mix for successful positioning of its products. Companies develop their marketing mixes prior to introducing their products in the market. The four P’s are the most important elements of this mix . The success of the entire mix depends upon the successful choice of these four P’s. They are Product, placement, promotion and Price; explained in detail below:
4 P’s of Marketing Mix

#1. Product:

What is a product for? It is to satisfy the needs of a particular group of customers. It can be tangible or intangible. It can be goods or services. In order to be successful, companies must match the demand with  supply. They must present the right product to the right group of customers. Every product in its lifecycle passes four stages. These stages are introduction, growth, maturity and decline phase. The marketers must conduct an extensive research on the life cycle of the product, right during its development phase and before introducing the product into the market. However, there are certain questions to be asked before the product’s introduction in the market.
  • ·      What the customer wants from the product or what need will it satisfy?
  • ·      How and where will the customer use it?
  • ·      Does it have the features required to meet customers’ demand?
  • ·      Are there any extra unimportant features in it?
  • ·      Have any necessary features been missed?
  • ·      What is its name, how it looks and how is it differentiated from competing products?

#2. Price:

 Pricing is the second important element in the marketing mix. Price of the product is the amount customer pays to buy it. This is quite straight-forward. In fact it is also a highly sensitive area. Not just the firm’s profitability but the perception of the product and brand too depend on it. The success of the entire marketing strategy might depend on the firm’s pricing strategy. However, to a great extent the price is decided by the product’s demand and supply. If a product is in high demand and low supply then the company can price it high. Still, the companies with low brand presence cannot generally afford to price their products higher. It may affect sales and profits. Setting prices too low can affect customers’ perception. It will make customers see the product as inferior. Prior to setting prices, marketers must consider the perceived value of the product.  Accordingly, they should choose penetration, skimming or neutral pricing.
Here are some crucial questions for deciding the right price for a product?
  •     How much did making the product cost?
  •       What is its perceived value for the customer?
  •       Is the customer price sensitive or is a small increase in price going to be noticed?
  •       Will a small decrease in price help gain an extra market share?
  •       How does your price compare with your competitors?

#3. Placement –

Product placement or distribution is also a central element in the marketing mix. A product must be placed where it is easily accessible to the customers. Placing it before their eyes is good. You cannot position it behind their heads or your brand will be pillowed. Consequently, the marketers need to have a very deep understanding of their target market and its purchasing habits. The selection of distribution channels should be such that they touch the consumers directly. Here are some questions to help the marketers with the successful placement of their products:

  • ·      Where do your customers look for your product or service?
  • ·      Is it a special kind of store they visit to look for your product?
  • ·      Do you need to sell in the regular stores or through the online channels?
  • ·      How your distribution strategy differs from the competitors’?
  • ·      Is there a need for a stronger sales force?

#4. Promotion –

Finally, it all depends on the promotion and how you promote your product and brand. Promotion will gain you visibility and brand recognition and bring in sales. Promotion includes elements like advertising, sales promotion, public relations etc. Advertising generally means paid advertising and employs channels like Television, radio as well as the internet. Now a days the social media sites that have millions of users offer paid advertising. Other sales promotion methods include coupons, gift cards, discounts etc. However, the public relations events are not paid for. They include media conferences, seminars, press releases and other events. Some questions to be addressed to generate a successful promotion strategy are as follows:
  • ·      Where and when can you send marketing messages to your potential buyers?
  • ·      Can you reach your target market through television ads or is the social media a more effective channel?
  • ·      How does your promotion strategy compare with your competitors?

These are the four P’s of the marketing mix that the marketers should focus upon for successfully positioning their product in the market. The four P’s model has also been expanded to include three more P’s and is generally applied to the marketing of services. This model is known as the seven P’s and additionally includes people, process and the physical environment.