The Four Ps of Marketing: Product

Philip Kotler is considered the father of modern marketing and is largely credited with the development of marketing as an academic discipline. The four Ps of marketing include product, price, place, and promotion.

This article will consider the product and is the first in this series.

A product is a good or service that a company offers to its customers, usually a consumer (in B2C segments) or another business (B2B segments), though sometimes a different entity, such a government.

Lisa Gansky

A brand is a voice and a product is a souvenir

It is inherently understood that in the early stages of developing a product it has, or potentially has, consumer demand such that it can be sold to the intended customer. For executives and managers, they must be adept at dealing with products throughout their life cycles to maximize their value within the context of the operational and financial health of the business.

For marketers, they should understand how to best promote the product to prospects and customers by creating awareness in front of the people who need it most. The function and utility of the product ties into the price businesses can charge for it to maximize revenue or profit, where they should place it in terms of the sales distribution channels available, and how to most optimally promote it.

Product marketing is at the intersection of product development and brand awareness. Marketers will consider the product type, how it fulfills a customer need, and focus on getting it in front of the intended customer.

Marketing tactics will heavily depend on the product, in terms of who to target and through what promotional and sales distribution channels. The parameters of the served market segments should be logical. If you are selling insulated coverall winter clothing, marketing resources won’t be optimally used targeting young demographics in warm-weather and sub-tropical climates.

Product developers might also choose to have various tiers of a product to appeal to a broader customer base and different levels of buying power. At this same time, consumers should not be overwhelmed with choices, which can have adverse consequences.

There are various ways for marketers to obtain information related to their product or product idea. They need to understand how customers engage with the product from pre-adoption to purchase to churn (into disuse or another product). Marketers will collect this information through various channels – surveys, interviews, focus groups, competitor data, and internal or external usage data to observe how customers are engaging with the product.

Product managers will work to evaluate and validate product ideas to determine the minimum viable product before devoting capital to the project. The market for the product will be tested to ascertain the optimal pricing with an eye on either maximizing revenue, profit, or another operating metric. Marketing efforts will be developed and improved through split testing (i.e., A/B testing) of various matters tied to the product – pricing, advertising, sales copy, web page or app visuals – as determined by customer engagement metrics, such as click-through rates, signups, or sales data.

Conclusion

Products are designed to satisfy the wants, needs, and interests of a target market. A product relates to the features, quality, uniqueness, design, and variety of a product or service. Products are the lifeblood of the revenue-generating capacity of any business.

For some products, such as automobiles, a material amount of the revenue comes after the initial purchase in the form of services, repairs, and upgrades. For others, such as Microsoft Office products, revenue can be recurring under a subscription-based service rather than having customers pay everything upfront.

In an age where e-commerce is disrupting how goods are commonly sold, and viable competitors with similar products can be found through a basic Google search, companies will be facing increased expectations to keep innovating and delivering value at the best possible prices.