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The 4p Fundamentals of Marketing

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THE 4P FUNDAMENTALS OF MARKETING

Tracy L. Fisher

Lakeland College

BUS 389: PRICING AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT


The business world has changed dramatically over the last twenty years.  Twenty years ago, there were no smart phones, online shopping barely existed, and consumers didn’t have the ability to cost compare fifteen online merchants while standing in the aisle of another.  Competing for market share is getting more and more difficult for companies as technology continues to challenge businesses to market their product in different ways.

There are many different reasons why companies changed the way they perform their everyday business; technology being the largest reason.  The Internet has changed the way companies market to their customers and has had the biggest impact on company’s success or failure in today’s society.

Twenty years ago, the Internet was still in its early stages.  People were using it for more personal reasons that for business; it was used for learning new ideas, creatively producing personal websites and becoming knowledgeable about sending emails.  Fast forward to today and where most people cannot function “normally” without it and depend on it for life’s every day decisions.  When consumers are searching for a type of product they want to purchase, the Internet is usually the very first place they look to find information.  The type of information they search for is usually product description, product dimensions, product availability, and most of all product price.  This can have positive or negative effects on a company’s sales.  That’s why it’s incredibly important for companies to be aware of where they fall from a cost comparison standpoint versus their competitors. Companies need to evaluate these 4 P’s of marketing and consistently revaluate them in order to stay competitive and retain their market share.  

Offering the right product to the right audience is imperative.  Companies need to evaluate who their target audience is and then do in-depth research of the product needed.  It’s important to understand what the consumer wants out of the product.  If they are looking at marketing a new baby carrier, companies should evaluate the following information:

  • What does the customer want from the product or service?
  • What needs are required in order to satisfy?
  • What features does it have to meet these needs?
  • Are there any features that are missing?
  • Are there costly features that the customer won't actually use?
  • How and where will the customer use it?
  • What does it look like and how will customers experience it?
  • What size(s), color(s), and so on, should it be?
  • What is it to be called?
  • How is it branded?
  • How is it differentiated versus your competitors?
  • What is the most it can cost to provide, and still be sold sufficiently profitably?

All of these questions should be answered while developing a product.  In-depth research is required in order to find this information.  Marketers need to target expecting parents, new parents, experienced parents, childcare providers, etc. to obtain the correct data.  The importance of the unique selling proposition is more important than ever as competitors fight for that number one spot in the consumer’s eye.  Products need to be extraordinary.  Companies need to offer more meaningful products and be better at whatever it is they make in order to create a better experience for their customers.  It’s a marketing principle that has stood the test of time and technology because of the increase of choice and content and the loss of people’s attention span.

Place is another part of the marketing mix.  Placement of your product is very important, especially for new products.  Companies need to choose their retail or e-commerce providers critically.  Untrustworthy business partners could link negatively back to the company providing the product.  Adverse effects could also occur when using a trusted and well-known business partner to sell your product.  When deciding on placement of their product, companies need to research the following:

  • Where do buyers look for your product or service?
  • If in a brick and mortar store, what type of store?  Specialized boutiques or supermarkets, or both?
  • If online, would they search a specialty ecommerce site or a site like Amazon that carries millions of products?
  • How can you access the right distribution channels?
  • Is a sales force needed?
  • How does your competition place their products?  
  • How can you differentiate your product from your competitors effectively?

Companies no longer have to depend on placement in their local market to meet their sales goals.  Creating a website that is accessible throughout the world can bring business from sources one would have never expected.  In 1999, the Census began requesting e-commerce data as part of the overall economic picture. Results of the Commerce Department surveys showed the number of online shoppers skyrocketed from thirteen percent in the year 2000 to twenty-one percent in the year 2001.  Today, those numbers have more than quadrupled.  In 2014, the number of online shoppers was just under 200 million people.  Growth rate to the current year has been consistent and is currently at 211.1 million people.  If that same trend continues, online shoppers is projected to reach 224 million by the year 2019.

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