The 4Ps marketing mix framework has long been used as guiding principles in order to establish a marketing strategy.
The 4Ps marketing mix framework has long been used as guiding principles in order to establish a marketing strategy. The four main elements include: product, price, promotion, and place (Constantinides, 2006). This post will further explore the element of place. Place is defined as where a product is available for sale. The main purpose in this element is to ensure that the product is readily available for customers at the right time and at the right place (CFI Team, 2022).
As social marketing has grown in recent years, there has been some confusion regarding how the element of place is captured in this venue. Edgar et al. (2015) shared that in social marketing there is often less attention focused on the elements of product, place, and price and more concentration on promotion. Although promotion is attractive, it is important that organizations not fail to give ample attention to the other 3 categories as well. The authors highlight two primary confusion points with place in social marketing. First, social marketers may confuse place with where the actual promotional materials appear versus where the product or service is actually available to the consumer for purchase. The communication channel where the promotion occurs is separate and unique of the element of place. Secondly, place is often underutilized with social marketers (which is often of commercial marketing). Possible causes of this is the marketer’s desire to build brand awareness and brand strategy first or developing strategies around changing consumer behavior.
Omni-channel marketing is when there is a consistent and seamless branding and messaging online and offline that is takes into consideration a consumer-centric view. With the rapid growth of communication channels, it is very easy for marketing messages to be incomplete or even confusing. It is critical that marketers align their communication and ensure that messaging is consistent across the various touchpoints (Payne et al., 2017). This is even more critical as consumers now have exposure to multiple channels that can help build brand engagement. Print, kiosks, direct mail, retail stores, and digital media are all platforms that messages can be carried out to the consumer. These channels should all carry elements of place so that consumers know where the product or service can be purchased. A unified message across the various channels can allow customers to have a seamless shopping experience irrespective of the channel that was used, breaking down traditional marketing silos.
Internet marketing has boomed in recent years. Kiang et al. (2000) share that marketers need to understand the various implications of effective internet marketing. Functions such as customization, availability, logistics, and transaction complexity should all be considered as relevant factors in internet marketing. These factors can play an important role in the product’s internet success. Online marketing offers many benefits such as a more robust and expansive place for consumers to purchase service. During the most recent COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals did not have the option or opted not to go into brick and mortar stores due to closures or health concerns. During this time, consumers relied on online options to make purchases. Businesses revamped their online platforms to be more robust and engaging to the consumer. Likes and dislikes of the browsers were tracked by businesses through artificial intelligence, thus catering various search options to what the individual browsers prefers. An easy and hassle free option of online shopping became and remains very popular. Amazon has done an amazing job at being a one stop shop for nearly anything a consumer wants. The place is easy in this scenario and can be easily accessed from anywhere in the world.
Each element of the 4Ps represent an important component to marketing that should be considered within a business’s marketing strategy. Place should be not be forgotten as it will route consumers to the ultimate purchase of the product. Brick and mortar is only one option for place in this day and time. Consumers have the luxury to shop nearly anything from the convenience of their homes through the internet. Having a marketing strategy that shares a similar message of branding, products, and place across all channels will provide consumers with a consistent message every time there is an exposure to the marketing.
The concept of place can be seen as significant in Christianity as well. Early churches in the Bible were created as a place to build and encourage new believers. Similarly today, churches serve the same purpose – it is a place for believers to fellowship, worship, grow, and encourage others in the faith. Online church platforms also became popular through the pandemic, offering a place for individuals to meet their spiritual needs during mandatory lock downs. Technology helped fill the gap in this scenario but should not replace to importance of Christian fellowship and engagement with other believers.
CFI Team. (2022, May 7). 4 p’s of marketing. https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/knowledge/other/4-ps-of-marketing/
Constantinides, E. (2006). The marketing mix revisited: Towards the 21st century marketing. Journal of Marketing Management, 22(3-4), 407–438. https://doi.org/10.1362/026725706776861190
Edgar, T., Huhman, M., & Miller, G. A. (2015). Understanding “place” in social marketing: A systematic review. Social Marketing Quarterly, 21(4), 230–248. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524500415607453
Kiang, M., Raghu, T. S., & Shang, K. (2000). Marketing on the internet — Who can benefit from an online marketing approach? Decision Support Systems, 27(4), 383–393. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0167-9236(99)00062-7
Payne, M., Peltier, J. W., & Barger, V. A. (2017). Omni-channel marketing, integrated marketing communications and consumer engagement: A research agenda. Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, 11(2), 185–197. https://doi.org/10.1108/JRIM-08-2016-0091
The rollout of the smartphone, tablet and smartwatch has revolutionized virtually every aspect of our lives. This rings true especially from advertising’s perspective. Why? For decades its script tended to follow the advertising model Constantinides (2006) referred to as “4P” (Product, Price, Promotion, Place). It was in some respects a much simpler method of marketing which was largely defined by radio, newspaper/magazine advertising and the then-nascent technology known as television. One detraction of the 4P model, however, was it did not allow for customer segmentation or feedback vis-a-vis the product or service being sold. Fortunately, the advent of the internet and mobile technology of the past fifteen years or so has allowed customers and marketers to interact as never before. A review of several recently published articles dealing with mobile advertising and “Place” (i.e., where a product/service is marketed), though, shows the rise of issues regarding personality and privacy which perhaps nobody foresaw. Resolving them will be among the great challenges for 21st-century marketing.
First, Anand et al. (2021) addresses research which apparently evidences that although both iOS and Android customers use smart technology, they have apparently different social beliefs. Their research indicated iOS users were more altruistic and compassionate than Android users. However, the authors also noted the survey population was very small (509 respondents), and may have an over-represented students (56% of all respondents). Therefore, the survey sample almost certainly did not truly represent a subsample of users. What the results ultimately say to prospective marketers, however, is that the type of operating system being used by the customer could indicate personal/social preferences or biases. A marketer with a product/service with a particular emotional tug would perhaps do well focusing the advertising on one particular operating system, and not necessarily a broad marketing campaign.
Second, Greene and Shilton (2018) address a very controversial issue roiling the mobile industry: privacy concerns. The authors note Apple and Google are known as having different notions of privacy–the former tends to view itself as a privacy gatekeeper, the latter tends to leave privacy matters to developers. The questions regarding privacy are vast, and cross the oceans. There are passionate debates regarding the right to privacy, what privacy means in the age of the internet, and who (or what) would maintain safeguards for all involved. Those debates are international in nature, and will almost certainly have to be resolved via legislation and/or court system(s). Advertisers, realistically speaking, have to prepare themselves for the possibility (if not probability) that the mobile “Place” may at some point in the future block abilities for them to collect demographic data vis-a-vis users. A further complication is that “privacy” can potentially carry different legal meanings across the world. While outside the scope of this post, this could mean developers having to create country-specific data sharing policies with advertisers.
Lastly, Polykalas and Prezerakos (2019) address the adage of “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” as it applies mobile products/services. Specifically, thousands of apps call themselves free-to-download, which is technically true. However, the tradeoff for “free-to-download” is either a very complex data gathering process (with, as mentioned above, still-unclear privacy guidelines) and/or substantial advertising. Thousands of applications and games–Facebook, Angry Birds, to name a few–have functioned like this for the past decade or more. As long as developers have been allowed to do so, they have passed data such as age, gender, location, operating system, and other potent demographic data to advertisers for significant revenue. However, more robust privacy policies (especially from Apple’s App Store) have restricted the amount of data developers can gather and/or sell to advertisers. “Opting out” of data gathering has proven to be highly popular. Long-term, though, as “opt outs” increase, advertisers will almost certainly cut back on spending to developers. This will perhaps in time mark the end of “free-to-download”, as developers lose the ability to subsidize a free app download. This will in time probably herald a period in which games or apps no longer carry any advertising, because advertisers have no data to purchase.
The 4P’s have significantly grown and evolved over the past sixty or so years. The evolution of mobile technology has allowed advertisers to reach their audience like no other time in history. However, a Pandora’s box of sorts has opened with regards to just how much access advertisers as well as broader privacy concerns. While the future remains murky, it is almost certain any long-term resolution will have to be resolved in the halls of legislature and/or court systems, and be international in nature. If so, they (advertisers) would perhaps be better off forming international alliances to head off any potentially ruinous laws or rulings.
Anand, A., Vessal, S. R., Rathi, K., & Ameen, N. (2021). Show me your mobile and I will tell you who you are: Forecasting consumer compassion and altruism behaviour through smartphone type and usage. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 63, 102657. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2021.102657
Constantinides, E. (2006). The marketing mix revisited: Towards the 21st century marketing. Journal of Marketing Management, 22(3-4), 407-438. https://doi.org/10.1362/026725706776861190
Greene, D., &Shilton, K. (2018). Platform privacies: Governance, collaboration, and the different meanings of “privacy” in iOS and android development. New Media & Society, 20(4), 1640-1657. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444817702397
Polykalas, S.E. and Prezerakos, G.N. (2019), “When the mobile app is free, the product is your personal data”, Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 89-101. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPRG-11-2018-0068
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