The 4 P’s of Marketing Your Product on the Internet

Unlike product management, product marketing focuses on the outbound marketing elements. There are four of these basic elements, known as the 4Ps. These 4Ps are product, pricing, placement, and promotion. Product marketing focuses specifically on marketing your product to current customers, prospects, and potential customers.

When you deal with product marketing in your business, you need to address four strategic issues. First, what product or products will be offered; in other words, what will be your product line? Next, you need to determine who your target customers will be. Then, how will your product(s) get to those customers. What distribution channels will you use? Finally, why should your customers choose your product(s) over the product (s) offered by any competitors.

New products pass through a number of stages. These stages start with their introduction, continue through their growth, pass through their prime, and eventually decline. This is a product life cycle or sequence that can be linked with changes that occur in the marketing situation and affect the marketing strategy.

When you introduce a new product, your first want to build awareness of the product. You need to establish the products branding and quality level, and be certain that you have the proper property protection, including patents and trademarks. You will decide on your pricing strategy, whether you are seeking to build your market share quickly with low pricing or to recover development costs with higher pricing. At first, distribution will probably be very selective as you seek to build consumer awareness and acceptance of your product. The promotion that you use at this point may be aimed at customers who are innovative and like to try new things before everyone else. You will be using your marketing communication to build product awareness and inform potential customers about your product.

During the growth period, you will be trying to build consumer preference for your brand or product and increase your share of the market. You will want to maintain product quality and may consider adding more features or services to your product. The pricing should be maintained at this point while you enjoy the increasing demand for your product. At this point, you may not have to be overly concerned about competition. Your distribution should increase and widen during this stage as demand increases and more customers want your product. Your promotion at this point will be aimed toward reaching a wider potential customer base.

When your product is in its prime, you will see that your sales growth may moderate or even shrink. Your objective at this point should be to defend your market share from any competitors that may be emerging while maximizing your profit. You may decide to improve some of the product features to make your product stand out again or lower your pricing due to new competition in the market. Your focus on distribution may become more intensive. You may even decide to offer incentives to increase customer preference for your product. At this point, your promotion strategy will be to emphasize how your product is different and better from any competitors in the market.

Eventually, sales of your product will decline. At that point you will have several choices. You could keep the product and possibly breathe new life into it by marketing new uses for it or even adding more features. You could simply harvest your product by trying to reduce your costs but continuing to offer it to loyal customers. Your ultimate choice at this point may be to discontinue the product and liquidate any inventory that remains, or else sell it to a different firm that is interested in continuing the product.

Clearly, the Internet has greatly changed the way that businesses can communicate with customers. Companies are no longer limited to communicating with their customers and potential customers using PR firms or expensive advertising formats. The rules have changed.

Consumers who visit your company’s web site are not interested in your slogan or your logo. They may be looking for the detailed description of your new product, what they really want is to find out how your product can solve their problem or serve their purpose. You can give them what they need with just the click of a mouse.

It is simple to use product marketing to leverage the potential of the Internet for your business. You can reach buyers directly, establish a personal connection with both current and potential customers, and even reach targeted niche buyers at a fraction of the cost of older advertising techniques. You can easily learn how to post the content that people want to read and discover what search engines look for. The Internet can provide you with the best way to market your product.