The Four PS of Marketing Place
Place pertains to how prospective customers will gain access to the product.
Marketers and decision-makers will be tasked with determining how a company will deliver and a sell a product to the market. For some companies, this will mean within its own retail stores or by selling them to other retailers who will be responsible for delivering them to the end market.
Firms looking to maximize brand exposure and maximize the product’s availability may choose to sell the product through Amazon. Those selling the most price sensitive items, such as food staples and most apparel retailers, will generally go this route.
Companies may choose to limit exposure to their product if scarcity is an important part of their business strategy. Examples include luxury goods retailers, who may sell goods through their own stores and sometimes not through any other third-party retailers. Moreover, they may choose to sell or provide potential access to specific goods only to certain groups of pre-existing customers who have demonstrated a track record of loyalty, or through interview processes for the most desired goods in their product portfolio. A concerted effort toward controlling scarcity helps augment pricing power.
Place not only refers to where products are physically retailed and sold, but also how products are placed within the format of a store or website. In drug stores, for example, it is common to sell large quantities of cheaper, smaller items – such as lip balm, candy, magazines and periodicals – at the checkout counter to maximize the revenue obtained out of each customer visit.
Place may also refer to the promotional channel in which a product is marketed. This can include social media, television, radio, relevant blogs, billboards, and internal public relations. B2C (business-to-consumer) companies are more likely to have success on Instagram than B2B (business-to-business) companies, who are likely to find their target market on a platform like LinkedIn.
Similarly, for a company selling home blood pressure monitors, if they are looking to place ads through television, they are more likely to obtain a higher return on investment placing ads on the History Channel than MTV or Nickelodeon in order to appropriately target the right demographics.
How to place a product, whether that refers to the marketing channel or retail channel, and how to optimally place the product within each of these, largely relies on who your intended customer is. It fundamentally boils down to who could use the product most and positioning with that channel to best give them accessibility to it.
Naturally, place in terms of its meaning within the marketing mix has materially evolved with the rise of e-commerce. For companies that sell price-sensitive goods in products that can be viably retailed through online channels, selling on Amazon or their own e-commerce platform is increasingly essential. This is also true for those looking to enhance their brand awareness or those looking to gain the credibility from sites where customer reviews are both widespread and trusted.
The Four PS of Marketing Place