How to Apply Online Marketing to the 4 Ps

The Four Ps of Marketing

“Marketing Mix”, a term coined by Neil Borden, represents the ingredients that capture and promote a brand or product’s unique selling points, those that differentiate it from its competitors. The ideas behind Borden’s model were refined over the years until E. Jerome McCarthy reduced them to 4 elements called “The Four Ps.” This proposed classification has been used by marketing companies, branding agencies and web design companies throughout the world.

The Four Ps Model

  1. Product – The first of the Four Ps of marketing is product. For the sake of this model, a product is defined as a service or a physical product, both of which provide something (hopefully beneficial) to consumers.
  1. Price – The pricing of a product is based on supply and demand and determined by considering several factors. Prices will be adjusted over time, based on market value and other factors.
  1. Place – The place refers to both the geographical location of the product, as well as the type of distribution channel where it is marketed.
  1. Promotion – Promoting your product involves a marketing strategy that disseminates relevant product information. This includes advertising, public relations, and various types of marketing (social media, email, etc.).

Do the 4 Ps Still Apply to the Digital Age?

McCarthy came up with this model way back in 1960, long before the Internet was born. So much has changed since then, with online marketing growing in leaps and bounds. So can businesses still use this model today? Let’s look at how they still apply:

  • Product – While the original definition of Product (service or tangible item) still generally applies, the ways that products and services are delivered and experienced by consumers have drastically changed.

Before the age of the Internet, people visited a physical location and dealt face-to-face with salespeople. There were not nearly as many options available to consumers. At the click of a button, people can shop and compare online at lightning speed. They have the capability to not only find businesses that provide what they are looking for; they can see what other customers have to say about their products or services.

As a result, consumers expect more and are less willing to settle for less than the best. They can express their opinion with the entire world through positive or negative reviews. Companies, in many ways, are held more accountable for their shortcomings through the medium of the Internet.

In the digital age, your “Product” must do more than meet a demand. It must reflect the various experiences and wishes of your customer and do it better than your competitor.

  • Price – Pricing your product today is again, much the same as before the digital age. You still need to do research and analysis to determine the demand and compare your product/service to other businesses’ offerings. However, with many products and services now being offered online, your pricing may also need to consider items like shipping, consumer training, additional tools or software needed, etc.
  • Place – This factor is considerably impacted by the online world. Some products and services are strictly offered online, with no brick-and-mortar location for consumers to visit. These online products can be available to consumers globally or restricted to a particular location.

However, if you are a local business, you probably want to attract customers within a certain geographical radius. This is where Local SEO comes into play–to promote your product to local customers at exactly the time they’re looking for your type of business. Local SEO has become one of the most important and effective strategies for businesses to gain an edge against their local competitors.

  • Promotion – This factor is probably the most different in the digital age. With online and inbound marketing, promoting your company must be different than even a decade ago. No longer is it beneficial to advertise in the Yellow Pages, newspapers, road signs, etc. If you want to attract customers digitally you need to think digitally.

Inbound marketing and online presence are crucial in getting found online by the right customers. It takes a lot of time, the right tools, and considerable expertise to create an effective online presence. Using free tools might be a great place to start, but they are limited in their capabilities. In order to be found online, you need to have a strategy and an integrated set of online assets that are created to amplify each other for maximum effect.

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