Marketing fundamentals are often taught in terms of the old “Four P’s of Marketing” model Price, Product, Place, Promotion. This is a solid tool that explains how consistent, unified marketing messages are the key to business success. These concepts apply to businesses and organizations of all sizes and types.
“The Four P’s of Marketing”.
Price: Regular price, discount price, expected price. Price impacts first time purchases as well as customer perceptions of value and satisfaction.
Product: What the organization sell. When the Four P model was written the economy was primarily based on tangible products – soap, tools, and dryers. Intangible products and services, like software and insurance, make up much more of today’s economy.
Place: Place refers to where products and services are sold, distribution channels, and retail or wholesale arrangements. The Internet continues to disrupt ‘place’ in context of the Four P’s.
Promotion: Promotion refers to the vehicles used to make customers aware of products or service. Promotion covers radio advertising, in-store samples, and coupons among others.
Consistent Unified Message is defined as a consistent unified message utilizes all Four P’s to communicate the same overall message to customers and prospective customers, as and example we want to use a Luxury Automobiles:
Price: Higher than average. Luxury automobiles rarely have a ‘sale price’ and are rarely offered with sale equivalents like “cash back” offers or manufacturers rebate. When is the last time you saw an advertisement for the “Fall Porsche & BMW Blowout Sale”?
Product: Very visible upscale quality and details. Leather interior, premium sound, automatic everything, smooth quiet ride, and free basic services like oil changes. In short, the quality and features match the higher than average price.
Place: Sold in nicely appointed showrooms that are typically inside a building versus out in the cold. Customers and tire-kicking prospects get the royal treatment.
Promotion: Ads run in magazines or during television shows that have upscale income and education audiences. The main advertising message tends to focus on broad vision statements like “You are successful, so buy one” versus functional details like “Gets 32 miles per gallon”. In sum, all four elements work together. They build and support the powerful mental imagery that Luxury Automobiles create.
Companies need to be careful with inconsistent messages because this mistake can be understood as message trap – high quality and low price. This message combination often gets construed as inconsistent. Why? Consider these two phrases. You get what you pay for. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Most people view these phrases as quite stable fact. As such, products or services that make claim to both high quality, upscale attributes and low or discount pricing face challenges. Certainly there are exceptions, but most customers when faced with the high quality, low price combination ask, “What is the catch”? Rightly or wrongly, they assume some shortcut has been taken.
To combat this perception, businesses provide supporting messages that tell customers how they provide both high quality and low prices. Perhaps they purchase in high volume and pass on volume savings to customers – perhaps they offer no-frills service – like a ‘u bag it’ grocery store.
A consistent and well integrated message utilizes multiple vehicles to communicate the same message to customers. The “Four P’s of Marketing” Price, Product, Place, and Promotion is a good model that helps businesses analyze their message for consistent, unified content and themes. Inconsistent messages, especially the low-price & high-quality trap, require additional supportive messages that clarify.
The Consistent, Unified Message applies equally well to businesses and organizations of all sizes.