plant and notebook on desk

The Four Ps of Marketing: Pillars of a Successful Marketing Strategy

What Are the Four Ps of Marketing?

When I was in university studying for my Masters in Direct and Digital Marketing, our general marketing course began with the fundamentals: the four Ps of marketing. Although others have said over the years that there are three, five, or any number of Ps, the four Ps remain the foundation of all marketing. Therefore, it's vital that anyone in the marketing role understands the four Ps of marketing and how the interplay shapes marketing strategies.

So, what are the four Ps?

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion

Let’s dive into the significance of each of the Four Ps and understand how their interplay contributes to the success of your marketing strategy.

Product: The Heart of Your Offering

At the heart of business and marketing lies the product. It's not merely about having a product; it's about having one that resonates with customer needs and distinguishes itself in the market. Continuous product development and innovation take center stage, emphasizing the place of products in the marketing mix.

Price: Finding the Right Balance

Determining the optimal price significantly influences how a product is perceived. Prices must be aligned with customer expectations, market averages, and the costs of goods sold. Using pricing as part of a marketing strategy is truly an art that must be refined over time. Prices can undoubtedly influence perception, as can many aspects of marketing. It can be used as a leverage point, a selling point, a competitive point, and more.

Place: Reaching Your Target Audience

Place among the Four Ps of marketing refers to where you market your products and to whom. That's your target audience, and I've written a lot about target audiences over the years. It also refers to the marketing channels you choose to reach your target audience. The goal of "place" in the marketing mix is to find the right combination of channels and tactics to reach your target audience effectively.

Promotion: Building Awareness and Desire

Promotion extends beyond mere advertising; it's a multifaceted approach that includes public relations, social media, and content marketing. Understanding the target audience is vital, so tailor promotional efforts effectively. Integrated marketing communications (IMC), too, remains an integral part of the promotional mix, ensuring that all messages, no matter what channel is used, remain consistent and appealing to the target audience.

The Marketing Mix: Examples of How the Four Ps Are Used

Companies use the four Ps differently. Some products or companies emphasize one or the other.

Tiffany: Emphasis on Product and Promotion

Tiffany, the famous Manhattan jewelry store, uses product and promotion heavily in their marketing, with price as another factor. Place for this venerable upscale brand is essential, but their emphasis is on the products (diamond jewelry), pricing (high), and promotions (exclusive and branded with the trademarked blue color.)

Dollar General: Emphasis on Place and Price

Dollar General, the ubiquitous variety store found in every small town in America, leverages price and place heavily in its marketing mix. Price is obvious; it's even in the store name! Everything is inexpensive and priced at a round number -  $1, $5, etc. The company has gone on the record about its strategic use of place, building stores in underserved rural communities throughout America to ensure access to basic groceries and household items for all. The company rarely sponsors promotions. The stores feature commodity products found in most variety stores and supermarkets. It heavily uses price and place as its marketing focus.

Use the Four Ps of Marketing to Your Advantage

By understanding and effectively managing the Four Ps of marketing, professionals can create a strategic marketing mix that resonates with their target audience and positions their products or services for long-term success in an ever-changing business landscape.


a white coffee cup next to a laptop

What Is SEO?

SEO refers to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It is the practice used to optimize a website’s content, technical configuration, and link popularity. SEO is used to make a  website’s pages easy to find and relevant for Internet users. Websites that search engines rank highest in terms of relevant content and link popularity appear higher in their rankings. 

SEO Strategies Benefit Online Users

Website owners use SEO strategies that benefit the Internet user’s online experience and their page rankings by posting content that meets their user’s needs. These SEO strategies include the following:

  • Using relevant keywords in titles, content, meta descriptions, and headlines
  • Writing descriptive URLs with keywords
  • Splitting up text with headings and subheadings to indicate the page’s meaning

Search engines help users find the information, images, and videos they seek online. Thanks to search engines, anyone can find the latest products and what the store across the street is selling, make restaurant reservations, or book a vacation getaway. 

Business owners benefit from online search engines too. The search engines drive online traffic (site visitors) to their website. 

Google and SEO Rankings

Experts often mention Google in the same sentence as SEO rankings. Google generates approximately 80% of all search engine traffic in the United States. If a website owner can get their site to the first page of listings on Google for a particular keyword or phrase, it will likely mean more website traffic. 

SEO is about understanding what your target audience wants and the technical aspects of configuring a website. It’s a continuous process to produce content that will rank well with search engines.

 


desk with cup and notebook and keyboard

What Is Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive intelligence (also called corporate intelligence) is the practice of gathering information on your competition and your target market to gain an edge when making business decisions. It includes tracking brand positioning, social media presence, product levels, pricing, and recent job listings. Data sources like purchase history, user demographics, and site activity are helpful when used properly. These pieces form a picture of your competitors’ strategies. 

How to Use Competitive Intelligence

Your business can use competitive intelligence in multiple ways, including the following:

Improving Your Understanding of the Market

Competitive intelligence increases your understanding of your customer base; it will either confirm your assumptions or reveal something new. Analyze your competitors’ products and messages to confirm their target markets and the problems they are trying to solve for their customers. Compare this information with your company’s value statement to reveal any weak areas.

Helping You Set Criteria for Measuring Social Media Numbers

Your competition’s social media performance can help you determine how you measure your company’s numbers. Use their data to guide your strategy.

If you see your competitors spending a lot of time engaging on a social media platform without getting positive results, you have an opportunity to learn from their mistakes.

Competitive Intelligence Helps You Make Better Business Decisions

All employees can benefit from when you conduct competitive research. Sales representative can adjust their quotes for customers based on your competitors’ claims. Your marketing team can plan their messages with the competitors’ campaign in mind. Competitive intelligence helps your team make better decisions.

 

 


a desk with cellphone, laptop

What Is Readability Score in SEO?

Readability Score

A readability score indicates how easy or difficult a text is to read. A passage that makes perfect sense to someone with a university-level education will be too complicated for someone in the fifth grade to interpret.

 

Flesch-Reading Ease

Readability scores are based on the Fleischman-Kincaid Ease. This test rates texts and gives them a score of 1-100, with 100 being the highest score. A score of 70-80 is equivalent to a grade 8 reading level. It should be relatively easy for an adult to read.

 

Rudolph Flesch, a consultant with the Associated Press, developed these methods for improving newspapers’ readability. Currently, researchers, marketers, writers, and many others use the Flesch Reading Ease. They use it to determine how easy or difficult a text is for a reader to understand.

 

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level

The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level is a commonly used readability formula that also assesses the grade level of a piece of writing. It was developed for use by the United States Navy, which worked with Flesch Reading Ease to find a more accessible version for the Navy’s technical manuals.

 

Today, the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level is used for multiple applications. A Flesch-Kincaid readability score level 6 means that a text is at a grade 6 reading level. To understand it, someone needs to have achieved this reading level.

 

Texts geared toward the general public should be written at a readability score of about 8. A typical 13-year-old would readily understand this level.

 

SEO and Readability Score

Readability score matters when writing online content. If it is too difficult to read, visitors click away. It’s crucial to present interesting content that hits the right readability score level to keep site visitors interested in exploring your website further.

 

Posting content at about a grade 8 level also increases the likelihood that readers will want to share your content. You have a better chance of having an article or a blog post going viral online and attracting much attention from internet users.

Better Writing Starts with Seven Oaks Consulting

Seven Oaks Consulting offers search engine optimized writing services that include readability assessment. We work with business to business companies and offer SEO services, writing of all sales, marketing and online content, and content marketing strategy, planning, and services. Contact us or call 434-574-6253 for a free consultation.


eyeglasses on a desk with computer

What Are Keywords?

What are keywords?

Keywords are specific terms your target audience searches for online. When they search for a particular word or phrase, ideally, you want your website to be the first link that appears in the search results. (Alternatively, you want your website to appear on the first page of search results.) Choosing the right ones for your web pages and blog posts is how you get ranked in search engine results.

Composition of a Keyword

A keyword can be one word. It can also be several words. When two or more words are used to make a keyword phrase, it is known as a "long-tail keyword."

Example

For example, if your company sells sewing machines, you'll want to create engaging, helpful content based on your customers' interests. Your keywords could include "quality sewing machines," "best sewing machine," and affordable sewing machine."

Benefits for SEO

Why should you be concerned about choosing the right keywords for your website content? Here are some benefits of using them correctly:

  • Find ideas for content marketing
  • Tells you what they are interested in learning more about
  • Increases organic traffic to your website
  • Helps you understand your target market
  • Bring the right customers to your website

High-traffic numbers don't mean a thing if they don't convert into sales through your site. When you use words targeted toward your customers, you attract site visitors who are already motivated to buy from you.
Focused keywords help you build expertise in your site visitors' eyes.

When internet users click on their search results and find the information they need on your website, it establishes your reputation as an expert in your niche.

 


desk with cup and notebook and keyboard

What Is BOFU?

What Is BOFU?

BOFU is a marketing acronym for “bottom of the funnel.” 

This term is derived from a marketing framework known as the sales or marketing funnel, which describes the different stages a potential customer passes through before making a purchasing decision. 

The stages are categorized as follows:

  • Top of the funnel
  • Middle of the funnel
  • Bottom of the funnel

The BOFU - the bottom of the funnel - is the final stage of the buyer’s journey and is where the marketer focuses on turning the already nurtured lead into a customer. 

Decision-Making Stage Content

Prospects at the bottom of the funnel are at the decision-making stage of the buyer’s journey and only need an extra push from the marketer in the form of discounts, rebates, testimonials, etc., to make a buying decision.

Besides the incentives the marketer offers here, one of the major characteristics of BOFU is the type of content the marketer publishes. 

Here, the marketer focuses on publishing materials that help the prospect make a decision. 

These can include case studies, product demos, trials, customer stories and reviews, and even initial consultations to clarify any doubts or questions the prospects may have. 

This is where the marketer provides a detailed description of the products or services and the benefits customers stand to gain.

Metrics

The metrics for measuring the success rate of BOFU strategies and content include:

  • Conversion rate
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV)
  • Average Order Volume
  • Return on advertising spend (ROAS) and 
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA).
  • Customer retention rate
  • Sales cycle length
  • Case study views and downloads

For more on marketing funnel content, please see our article on TOFU: Top of Funnel.


hom eoffice setup with computer on a desk

What Is TOFU?

What Is TOFU?

TOFU is a marketing acronym for “top of the funnel.”  It is the first stage in the marketing framework, known as the marketing or sales funnel, which represents the customer’s journey to making a purchase decision.

Prospects at the top of the funnel are at the beginning of their buyer’s journey. 

At this stage, the prospect knows they have a problem and need a solution but is unaware of the solution they need or the brand that offers it. 

Here, marketers try to create awareness and attract attention to their brands or products. 

They position themselves as industry authorities, providing valuable information relevant to the needs of TOFU prospects to make them interested in knowing more about the solutions. 

The information becomes their first contact with a marketer’s brand, and if they’re interested in learning more, they go further down the marketing funnel into the middle of the funnel.

Marketers don't attempt to sell to their prospects at the TOFU stage of the buyer’s journey. Instead, they nurture the prospects by providing educational and informational content that answers their most dominant questions and gives them insights to understand their problems better. 

Content for TOFU Marketing

TOFU content includes blog posts, infographics, social media posts, videos, e-books, and whitepapers.

After the TOFU in the marketing framework is the middle of the funnel (MOFU) and bottom of the funnel (BOFU), which describes the points when the customers are aware of brands that offer the solutions they want and when they’re making comparisons to choose the most suitable option for their needs.

Metrics to Assess Top of Funnel Success

The metrics for measuring the success rate of TOFU strategies and content include:

  • Bounce rate 
  • Time on page
  • Clickthrough rate (CTR)
  • Lead generation
  • Social media followers, etc.

Creating high-quality, search engine optimized top of funnel content is an art. A good content marketing agency can help you quickly fill your TOFU content for optimal results. 




hom eoffice setup with computer on a desk

What Is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO

Technical SEO (search engine optimization) involves optimizing a website’s technical elements to improve its rankings and visibility on the search engine results pages (SERPs). 

It is one of the three main aspects of SEO: On-page, Off-page, and technical SEO.

Optimizing a website’s technical elements helps the search engines understand, crawl, and index it effectively. 

Furthermore, it helps provide a positive user experience to the website’s visitors.

Technical SEO includes these components:

Website Speed

This involves optimizing a website to load faster so a visitor doesn’t leave the website out of frustration. A fast-loading website increases user experience and ranks high on search engines.

Mobile Friendliness

Search engines use mobile-friendliness as an important ranking factor because most internet traffic comes from mobile devices. Optimizing for mobile responsiveness is a crucial aspect of technical SEO.

Crawling and Indexing

This involves preparing a website for crawling and indexing by search engines. Technical SEO specialists use robots.txt files to choose which pages should be accessible to search engine crawlers and XML Sitemaps to help search engines understand their website’s structure for proper indexing. They also ensure that pages are linked (internal linking) so that crawlers have an easier time finding and indexing pages.

URL Structure

Creating a clear and organized URL structure helps search engines and users understand a website’s content hierarchy and index it appropriately.

Structured Data Markup

SEOs use schema markups to categorize and label website elements, enabling search bots to understand, index, and rank a website’s page.

SSL and HTTPS

These are security elements that ensure a website’s content is encrypted. It enhances user experience and helps search engines rank a page faster.

XML Sitemaps

XML Sitemaps enable search engines to understand website structure and the relationship between different pages on the site.

Site Architecture

Website architecture is a vital technical SEO element, as it helps search engines and users easily navigate a website.  

Technical Errors

Monitoring and fixing technical issues like broken links, server errors, and crawl issues is also an important aspect of technical SEO.

Canonicalization

Canonical tags help you identify and fix duplicate content issues on your page.

Other aspects of fall in between these vital components. With good technical, off-page, and on-page SEO, companies will excel on search engines, generate qualified traffic, and drive conversions.