The Marketing Mix: The 4 P's of Marketing

Updated: Jan 30

After identifying a target market, your next step is developing and implementing a marketing program designed to reach it.

What Are The 4 P's of Marketing?

  • Developing a product that meets the needs of the target market

  • Setting a price for the product

  • Distributing the product—getting it to a place where customers can buy it

  • Promoting the product—informing potential buyers about it

The goal is to develop and implement a marketing strategy that combines these four elements.

Conducting Marketing Research

First, to zero in on your target market, find out what various people thought of the product. More precisely, you need answers to questions like the following:

  • Who are our potential customers? What are they like?

  • Do people like my product/service? What gets them excited about it? What don’t they like? What would they change?

  • How much are they willing to pay for my product/service?

  • Where will they probably go to buy the product?

  • How should it be promoted? How can we distinguish it from competing products?

  • Will enough people buy my product/service to return a reasonable profit?

  • Should we go ahead and launch the product?

This data has to be collected in a systematic way.

Market research seeks two types of data:

  • Marketers generally begin by looking at secondary data—information already collected, whether by the company or by others, that pertains to the target market.

  • Then, with secondary data in hand, they’re prepared to collect primary data—newly collected information that addresses specific questions.

You can get secondary data from inside or outside the organization. Internally available data includes sales reports and other information on customers. External data can come from a number of sources. The U.S. Census Bureau, for example, posts demographic information on American households (such as age, income, education, and number of members), both for the country as a whole and for specific geographic areas. You can also find out whether an area is growing or declining.

Using secondary data that are already available (and free) is a lot easier than collecting your own information. Unfortunately, however, secondary data doesn't always answer all the questions. To get these answers, the marketing team should conduct primary research: they have to work directly with members of their target market. It’s a challenging process. First, they need to decide exactly what they wanted to know. Then they determine whom to ask. Finally, they pick the best methods for gathering information.

Researching your target market is necessary before you launch a new product. But the benefits of marketing research don’t extend merely to brand-new products. Companies also use it when they’re deciding whether or not to refine an existing product or develop a new marketing strategy for an existing product. Kellogg’s, for example, conducted online surveys to get responses to a variation on its Pop-Tarts brand—namely, Pop-Tarts filled with a mixture of traditional fruit filling and yogurt.

Marketers had picked out four possible names for the product and wanted to know which one kids and mothers liked best. They also wanted to know what they thought of the product and its packaging. Both mothers and kids liked the new Pop-Tarts (though for different reasons) and its packaging, and the winning name for the product launched in the spring of 2011 was “Pop-Tarts Yogurt Blasts.” The online survey of 175 mothers and their children was conducted in one weekend by an outside marketing research group.

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