The 4 Ps are the first thing you learn in the marketing industry. People often refer to it as a marketing mix. It is a combination of tools and variables used by marketers to achieve their marketing objectives. The 4 Ps framework was formulated by Neil Borden in the 1950s. He stated that the 4 variables are interconnected. Hence, a change in one results in a change in another.
SaaS marketing differs from most types of marketing since you are not selling a tangible product. However, differences do not translate to difficulty. You can optimize your marketing strategy with just a few tweaks and an understanding of the marketing mix. Most people try to control the result of their marketing strategy. Instead, they should focus on controlling the variables. With the marketing mix framework, you can manage the disease instead of trying to deal with the symptoms.
Here, the 4 Ps in SaaS marketing refers to products, price, place, and promotions. There are other Ps in marketing, but we will cover them later.
This is the first part of the 4 Ps. Without a product that solves a customer’s problem, your market shares are bound to dip past negative. More often than not, this is the stage most startups fail in. New entrepreneurs do not realize that there is a chasm between what they are developing and what their audiences want. This discrepancy occurs because people do not think ahead. You can not have a successful business by developing a product and then finding people that fit. That’s not how the market works. You first study people, find what they need, and then develop a product. We define the business world as a ‘customer-first’ enterprise. Therefore, define your audience before you design your product. This is the only way to succeed since you need customers more than they need you.
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Product pricing is a challenging part of marketing. It is a crucial aspect of a product’s success, yet many companies do not have a comprehensive pricing strategy. In a study conducted by OpenView, about 55% of participants said they do not have someone handling product pricing. The remaining 45% stated that product pricing is a small part of someone else’s job. Therefore, most companies do not have a dedicated person/team that handles product pricing strategies. Which begs the question: why is pricing not a priority when it can enhance your sales? The guessing game never works when it comes to pricing. You can’t simply pick a number and leave it at that. You need a strategy because companies lose hundreds of subscribers monthly. The best way to retain subscribers is to have multiple pricing plans that your review regularly to optimize the same.
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You vastly improve your chances of boosting sales by optimally ‘placing’ your product. What does this mean? This means you have a presence on all platforms where your audience is. By enhancing your presence, you become more searchable hence, it is easier for your audiences to find you. This includes SEO, social media, Q&A websites, etc. Additionally, it is easier to get audiences to engage with you when you are in front of them. Over time, your target audience will turn to you when they need help. Once you have their attention, you can work towards converting them through high-value content and excellent customer support.
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This is the last part of the 4 Ps framework. The ‘P’ in this framework refers to the promotion conducted by the company, content that communicates value, and public perception of the brand. It helps you build your brand perception and reputation. Hence, it is the cumulation of publicity, marketing, and influence. When we talk about promotion, we mean the what, why, who, and how. By answering these questions, you can form your marketing communication. Moreover, you can apply this to advertising, sales, PR, and other forms of marketing. The goal is to boost reach, consequently, increasing product/service sales. You can activate this through blogs, webinars, tutorials, etc. By providing high-value content, you are fostering trust and relationships with your audience.
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Other Ps that you should know
There are 7 Ps in actuality. We covered four of them above. Let’s see what the other three are. And how they work in SaaS marketing.
Customers help run a business, but employees make up a business. So, you should be careful who you let into the team. Selecting the right people for the job is not enough. You need to choose people who are right for the business and your project. Since these people are developing the products, they need to work cohesively and in tandem. Teams are like puzzle pieces. You need to pick the right ones to get the right picture. Otherwise, you are opening up your project to delays, errors, and grievances. Having the perfect team is an internal advantage that shows several outwards effects on your product. Therefore, pick people who you trust to get the job done in a way that aligns with the business values. This is by far the most impactful variable outside the 4 Ps method.
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You can loosely define a process as a flow between stages or steps. You should be able to describe your product as a process. Or even as a set of functions that work together. While this is not the most crucial component, it helps. How can you expect your audience to understand your product if you can not describe it? Moreover, processes ensure that things are done with consistency. Hence, they are a great way to set expectations and execute plans. However, rigidity and processes will hinder agility. A lack of processes will affect execution. It is up to you to strike a balance.
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While the 4 Ps of marketing were formulated in the 1950s, it is still relevant, with a few tweaks. Plus, this is not a part of the original 4 Ps method. But it is still relevant and perhaps the most modern of them all. Physical evidence is the value your product is bringing to your customer. You can think of it as proof of delivery. Moreover, the proof of delivery does not end at giving access to your product. Your product should do what it was designed to do. For instance, let’s take Netflix. Physical evidence does not end with having a login ID and password. It ends when the customer can access the facilities the product promises and use them. That’s physical evidence.
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