Marketing Basics: The 4 P’s

Posted By Leslie Van Zee On January 2, 2013 @ 1:26 PM In Creative Best Practices, Media Planning & Buying, Targeting | No Comments

The foundational basics of marketing are the 4 Ps: product, price, placement and promotion. When planning a display campaign, consider what you are trying to accomplish, within this framework.

Product: What Do You Want To Feature In Your Ad Campaign?

Determining what you want to feature in your ads will shape how you develop your campaigns, which makes it important to determine this upfront. For example, a realtor selling luxury multi-million dollar homes in Palo Alto, California would not use the same campaign as a realtor selling midrange priced homes who is trying to build her brand as a local expert in that neighborhood.

Price: How Much Value Do You Offer Customers?

You have probably already set prices for your products or services. Nevertheless, planning a marketing campaign is a good time to revisit your pricing strategy since price information can have a strong influence on the effectiveness of your ads. At its most basic level, your ad needs to tell viewers what they can get from your business, along with how and why.

Price promotions, such as a limited time price discount, can be strong offers for new customers, because they create a sense of urgency for your call to action, making it more compelling for viewers to want to follow up.  Display ads are very effective for promoting things like storewide sale events.

Even for a campaign that focuses on brand building, it is important to be aware of how your customers perceive your offer compared to your competitors, so spend time brainstorming different ways that you offer additional value beyond just price discounts.  Do you have a particular offer that is much stronger than those of your competitors? Consider making this the centerpiece of your ad campaign.

Placement - Where You Sell Your Products or Services

In marketing, placement refers to where you sell your products or services.  Think about the geographic area where your customers are located. For a brick-and-mortar business, this often means a radius around your location.  A retail store might draw from a 5-mile radius, while a private high school may draw from a wider range. For some businesses, the customers may not be located near your location.

For example, more than a dozen Major League Baseball teams have their spring training camps in Arizona, so a resort hotel in Arizona might advertise to baseball fans in Chicago or Cincinnati that might like to go watch their home team at spring training.

Similarly, a ski resort in Tahoe might focus ads on people in the San Francisco Bay area because Tahoe is a destination resort town and San Francisco is a large metropolitan area with high-income residents who live just a few hours away.

Promotion – How You Reach Potential Customers

Promotion refers to the method of advertising you want to use to reach customers. It is helpful to think of prospective customers as moving through a funnel. Those at the top are the least aware of your business or offering, and those near the bottom are closest to being ready to make a purchase. Display advertising is useful in reaching prospective customers at the top parts of the funnel, since the ads go where they are. Making repeated impressions with these prospective customers is called brand awareness, or brand building. The benefit is that you can get them to recognize your name once they are ready to buy, making them more likely to choose you over a competitor.

Many business owners start implementing marketing tactics before they have developed a strategy, which can be a big mistake. Strategy is concerned with the big picture, while tactics focus on specific, individual actions that support the strategy.

Strategy Before Tactics

A simple example of how all this comes into play in your business is in building brand awareness. A company may have a strategy to become the number one brand in its product category; however, there are many different tactics to get you there. Without the strategy defined, though, you may choose tactics that are not in alignment with your strategy. At Vantage Local [1], where we deal with a great many small businesses, we see it every day. A business owner hears about a new way of increasing CTRs on their web pages, so they jump at implementing the new method. Meanwhile, they have not thought about how getting more people to click through to another page on their site will help them reach their big picture goal of increasing sales or profitability.  Consider the big picture before you get down into the details.

For more insights on how to make digital marketing a key factor in the success of your small business, check out the blog at [2].

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