In 1960, Edmund Jerome McCarthy proposed the concept of the 4 Ps marketing mix in his book Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach. This text has been a go-to-text for many marketing students and professionals since its publication.
The ‘Marketing mix’ is widely seen as a foundation model for businesses and historically was centred around the product, price, place, and promotion (also known as the “4 Ps”). The marketing mix is defined as the “set of marketing tools that the firm uses to pursue its marketing objectives in the target market“.
- Product refers to an item that meets a consumer’s need. Products are either tangible (goods) or intangible (services, ideas, or experiences).
- Price refers to the asking amount on a product, or the sacrifice consumers are willing to make to acquire a product (e.g. time or effort).
- Place refers to a location where customers can access a product. It could be a store or website
- Promotion refers to marketing communications. May comprise elements such as advertising, PR, direct marketing and sales promotion.
My experiences in product development have led me to conclude that the 5th P of marketing is Perception. By perception, I mean how a customer perceives a product at the mere sight or perceived value when a customer picks up a product.
The attention of the customer is primarily drawn by the look and feel. There are two main reasons for this:
- Branding – the distinctive design of a product
- Packaging – the presentation of a person or thing in an advantageous way.
Some might argue that they are the same, but I see them differently. “Branding” focuses more on the design of the product from a product owner’s viewpoint and “packaging” is mostly deals with the feeling you want to evoke from the customer.
Below are a few ways by which businesses can improve product perception and customer perception.
- Use colours that draw the attention of your customer and go well with the product. For example, green symbolizes “Natural”.
- Designs can be very effective. Product developers may review how designs of well-established companies have worked to their advantage.
- Use pictures that are clear and relatable to the customer.
- Use sturdy packaging materials. When customers see the investment in the pack or packets, there is an unconscious belief that the product is of high quality.
- Fix gaps early –It is advisable to fix production inefficiencies as soon as possible. Such ineffiencies include substandard materials, delays in manufacturing, quality decline, change in suppliers
- Social Platforms – Use social media platforms to brand ethos and values. This could be through celebrating milestones and reaffirming what the brand stands for.
- Consistency – Committing to the same level of quality and standard helps to reaffirm the product ideals to customer.