Ps and Qs

You’ve probably heard of the ‘4 Ps’ in marketing. How can we rank them in order of importance? I’ve heard the following in my courses:

1st)  Product – If you don’t have a great product or service, you need to take more time and make it great. Consumers have little sympathy for something that is sub-par for the market it exists in. Conversely, if your offerings are excellent, maybe customers can advocate for you!

2nd) Place – Can people who care about your product or service even find out about it? Referring to the ‘Customer Decision Journey’ by McKinsey, we should understand that if we aren’t part of a user’s initial consideration set, or appearing during their active evaluation phase, we can’t expect them to convert.

3rd)  Price – Where does your product or service fit into the existing landscape, and what is its price elasticity of demand? If you increase your price to consumers by 10%, will you lose less than 10% of your users? In terms of your overhead, if you hire more staff, will you capture enough quantitative or qualitative benefit to justify it?

4th)  Promotion – How do you drum up excitement or tip people who are on the fence? Maybe you’d like to cross-promote to people who currently know you for service X and interest them in services X and Y. Maybe you need to stand out and be more memorable. Perhaps, if someone just tried your product for the first time they’d be sold. Maybe a customer had a good experience with you in the past, but between all the obligations in their life, they just need a little reminder before you get their repeat business?

I was thinking about the 4 Ps just yesterday. A bunch of my Korean relatives visited for Seollal, the Lunar New Year holiday. My brother-in-law ordered some chicken to the house shortly before he went back north to Incheon, and I was stunned to see which shop he’d ordered from. You see, we get a circular each month which contains ads for dozens of take-out and delivery places, and I’d singled this one out in my mind as having the most shocking logo I’d ever seen.

However, something I didn’t know until yesterday was that they have a loyal following that started on Facebook a couple years ago. Also, the chicken was absolutely great – superior in taste to other, more famous shops without being more expensive. I love this example, as I think it illustrates the power of a great product, and how it can turn your customers into advocates. Now I just wonder when they’ll update their branding!


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