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How to Develop an Effective Marketing Plan

By University Alliance
How to Develop an Effective Marketing Plan

The four P’s of marketing (4 P’s), otherwise known as “The Marketing Mix”, are a set of tools that help companies gain advantage within the marketplace. The 4 P’s are put in place to help maximize a product’s potential. The 4 P’s include price, product, promotion and placement.

History of the Four P’s

In order to fully understand the 4 P’s, it’s important to understand the history behind their development. It all started with the term “marketing mix.” In the 1940s, James Culliton described the position of marketing manager as someone who is a “mixer of ingredients.” More than a decade later, Neil H. Borden published an article The Concept of the Marketing Mix, which was an adaptation of Culliton’s original theory. The marketing mix included product pricing, planning, branding, distribution channels, advertising, promotions, personal selling, packaging, display, servicing, physical handling, and fact finding and analysis. It wasn’t until E. Jerome McCarthy grouped each aspect into four categories, or the 4 P’s of marketing.

What are the Four P’s?

  1. Price
    The first of the four P’s is price. From the manufacturer to the customer, price must be thoroughly examined all the way through the buying/purchasing process. Make sure you consider everything that the price of a product entails; variables that affect price include distribution, location of distribution, the retailer’s price mark-up, competitor pricing and payment plans.
  2. Product
    The second of the 4 P’s is product. In determining the product, you must ask pertinent questions to further understand the product that you want to sell. For example, “What problem will this product solve?” or “What will be the features and benefits of this product?” You must determine how your product is unique to the market and who is most likely to purchase the product. One important note: make sure you address the features that aren’t found in this product. No one product can do everything, so narrow down the features and benefits as well as what the product is lacking.
  3. Promotion
    The third P is promotion. How are you going to promote this product? Whether it’s through web promotions, traditional advertising, event marketing or another tactic, you need to make sure that your marketing strategy is appropriate for the product, price and customer. An inadequate promotional initiative can waste time and revenue.
  4. Placement
    The fourth and final P is placement. Placement clarifies where a product will be sold. Will it be available in both brick-and-mortar retailers and through online merchants? It is important to figure out if product is suited for the placement that you’ve selected. It is also wise to determine an exit strategy if your product does not do well and you need to find a new sales channel.

The Purpose of the Four P’s

The four P’s are a tried-and-true formula for an effective marketing plan. The reason the 4 P’s were developed decades ago was to determine a specific recipe or “marketing mix” that will satisfy both the needs of the customer and the retailer’s needs. This recipe has proven to be successful when properly determined and utilized.

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