The 4Ps marketing model is a tool “to help develop a package that will not only satisfy the needs of the customers within the target markets, but simultaneously maximise your organisation’s performance.” [Key Management Models, Steven ten Have et al].
The Ps stand for Product, Place, Price, and Promotion, and is often modified to Product (or service), Place (distribution), Price, and Promotion (marketing).
The model can be used to not only look outward to the customer, but also inward towards the business.
Product, service and experiences, or as I prefer, solution – are you producing a solution that anybody wants? Is it solving a problem that anyone cares about?
Place (distribution) – is your solution available in the right place at the right time and in the right quantities? Can you manage production, inventory, and transport costs effectively and efficiently?
Price – are your customers willing to pay what you are asking for? How does this price compare to the competitor’s prices? Is the price that customers are willing to pay sufficient to cover all your costs and provide your target profit?
Promotion (marketing) – what is the most effective and efficient way to attract, educate, entice, and then transform prospects into customers?
Users of the model tend to add to the 4Ps, adding for example, Purpose, People, Process, and Physical environment:
Purpose – what is the purpose of your organisation, what do you stand for? What is the authentic and credible reason beyond profit that your organisation exists? Is your purpose something that your whole organisation can rally behind and that will attract like-minded customers? Does your purpose resonate with anyone?
People – are people, both inside and outside your organisation aligned with and passionate about the purpose? Are there sufficient customers in your market? Is there open and honest communication between customers, frontline staff, and management?
Process – however your solutions (products, services, and experiences) are delivered, are the processes appropriate to your purpose, culture, the context, and are they effective in attracting, converting, and retaining customers?
Physical environment – is there physical evidence that your solution was delivered? How is your organisation through your brand perceived in the market, does it have a presence, is it known and well regarded? How are your facilities, clean, tidy, comfortable, attractive etc.?
Ultimately, the Ps in the n-Ps marketing model(s) are a useful mnemonic to assist in remembering the model. Add as many more Ps as you need to make it useful to you. However, models are only an aid, not a substitute, for thinking and analysis, they can act as a type of check-list if you will. Models are great in their intended context, but they all have strengths and weaknesses. Know what they are and use with caution.