So now we know what marketing is and why it is important. But what does marketing actually do? What are the main roles or key areas of marketing?
For decades, marketers have been answering these questions with the four Ps of marketing:
Product – What you sell
Price – How much you sell it for
Place – Where you sell it
Promotion – How you get customers
Let’s dig in.
One of the roles of marketing is co-creating the product. In fact, this is where all marketing starts.
Every product development process needs to take market conditions into consideration. Things like who the customer is, what product features the market demands, who the competitors are, and how to do better than these competitors. We can answer these and similar questions during market research.
Discovering what to build is a critical stage in marketing and in business. That’s because it’s virtually impossible to effectively market a product that doesn’t fit the market. Conversely, a product that can satisfy an existing demand in a promising market doesn’t need complicated or pushy marketing tactics.
So, to give you a taste, here’s how Ahrefs (our product) matches against some fundamental questions that marketing answers in this area:
4 Ps of marketing: product fundamentals. Table with questions on left and corresponding answers on right
A good price is one that your target audience can afford and makes your business profitable. This is easier said than done. But marketing is here to help.
Setting a price point arbitrarily is rarely a good idea. There are various ways marketers can inform executive decisions based on market insights. Here are some basic ones:
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Run a survey or conduct interviews with your target audience. You can discover what price will make people question the quality of a product and what price will make people deem the product too expensive for their wallets.
Make comparisons with your competitors, aka benchmarking. If you set your price close to what your profitable competitors charge, you will likely get a pricing model that works in your market.
Adjust for the psychological aspect of pricing, i.e., focus on what your price should communicate to your future customers. Make sure you’re not offering fewer benefits for the same price as your competitors. Or even worse, fewer benefits for a higher price. On a typical value proposition matrix, the best options are the ones highlighted in green:
Value proposition matrix table. Three columns are "higher price," "same price," and "lower price." Rows are "more benefits," "same benefits," and "fewer benefits"
How and where customers will buy a product or service, i.e., place, is another factor that marketing influences (this happens even before we touch on promotion tactics).
Here, market research offers insights into important information, such as the customers’ shopping habits and competitors’ sales channels, to determine the optimal distribution model.
Have you ever wondered why some products are not directly available on the producer’s website? Or why do some types of software come in both digital and physical versions while others do not? That’s no coincidence. That’s marketing.
Here’s a quick rundown of some popular distribution models that marketers can choose from: