The 4 Ps of marketing is the cornerstone to all great brands and it’s definitely one of the 4 Ps that you can’t work without. If you’ve never heard of it, your mind will be blown when I tell you about how powerful 4 Ps is for marketing purposes. Not only does 4Ps help with graphic design, but 4Ps makes sure that your business becomes targeted and reputable; something worth trying out if you haven’t already!
Introduction to the 4 Ps of Marketing
Here’s the deal: as a designer, you need to be able to market yourself and your work effectively in order to help yourself and assist your clients; otherwise, how are you ever going to make a reliable, sustainable income as a designer? So, I’m going to go through one of my favorite marketing frameworks today. The 4Ps of Marketing is one of the Sciences of Marketing, so I want to give you a little bit of context about how it came about before diving too far into the training.
The 4 Ps have been around for a long time and they’re also part of something called the Marketing Mix. That Marketing Mix has been massively adopted by millions and millions of successful companies that have used this method. It was pioneered by a guy named James Culleton who was a professor of marketing at Harvard, so he gets the majority of the credit for what I’m going to talk about today. The 4 Ps of Marketing framework is crucial for you to understand, as is the way it impacts you as a designer. It’s worth noting that there are other versions of this, such as the 8 Ps of marketing, but we’ll focus on the four key ideas.
4 Ps of Marketing: Product
The first P that I want to talk about is the one and only Product. This simply means the thing you’re selling. For example, you could be selling website design or logo design. You could be selling branding or you could be selling trade show displays. There are all different types of products as a creative that you could be selling, and it just depends on what you’re pushing. Now the different products can be tangible and intangible. You may be selling a package that includes some printing or includes some vehicle wraps and there’s design and print involved in that so that’s a package deal. So it’s just what you’re selling at the end of the day. But there are five questions that you want to ask yourself when it comes to your product to make sure that you actually have a product that people want.
Product Question One
That is the first question: is it a product that people want? Is there a demand? This is really important. A lot of people create products that don’t have much of a demand thinking that people in a highly specific niche will just automatically find them. When there’s no search volume, there are no people actively seeking out what it is that you’re selling. If people live in Alaska, they’re not searching for a glass of lemonade; they’re looking for hot cocoa or hot coffee. So understand that you need to make sure you actually have a product that is in demand and it’s something that people want.
Product Question Two
The second question you want to ask yourself is, “Is the product good, and if so, what makes it good?” Do you have special ingredients? Is it the way you package it? Is it the bottle? Is it the presentation? Is it the process? What is it about your product that makes it stand out, that makes it different, or makes it better than your competitors? This is an important question you have to ask yourself because you can be sure your target market will ask it of you.
Product Question Three
The third question is, “Is your product unique? What is different about it?” Does your process make the difference? Is it your system? Is it the way they buy it? Sometimes just the experience and how your client or customer buys the product is enough to really set the price differently. If they’re going to buy it in a walk-in retail storefront, or if they’re going to buy it online–those are two completely different experiences–and based on that, that’s going to help you determine your price which is coming up next.
Product Question Four
The fourth question, and probably one of the most important, is, “What problem does it solve?” No one is buying a logo design or a vehicle wrap design just because they are bored and they want to throw some money at something. They are looking to solve a problem. The bigger problem that they need to solve, the higher the price. So understand that you are solving somebody’s specific problem with what you’re selling.
Product Question Five
The fifth question I want you to ask yourself is, “Will people talk about this?” In my experience, when they’re buying a product, and they enjoy the experience, people talk about it. They brag about it. Whether it’s online or offline if they’re buying that product from you, are you giving them a story to tell? When they buy a product, you should give them some sort of story to tell. Even if it’s after they purchase the product and you send them a nice handwritten thank you card or right after their purchase you send them an email thanking them or you send them a quick video. Whatever you’re doing to separate your product from everybody else’s and differentiate it, you want to make sure that they’re going out and talking about your product.
Using the 4 Ps of Marketing: Product
So it needs to be high quality, priced appropriately, and offer a lot of value. These are the things that really make up a great product, and this is what I want you to focus on–not just selling yourself as “Your Name Here, the graphic designer”. Instead of just promoting yourself and selling your time, start selling the products and packaging of your products together, as well as your services as a package.
4 Ps of Marketing: Price
The second P is Price. Understand that anything that has to do with price connects to other factors. Be tactical in how you actually structure it, where you put your work, the strategies that you’re using, and also discounts you use. These are all important things you want to plan out that you want to think about ahead of time. Don’t go out and just start selling time. A lot of designers fall into this trap of selling their time for $10-$30 per hour and they end up getting stuck.
This is something that I don’t want any of you guys to be stuck dealing with. I want you to sell value instead of selling time. This is a way that graphic design can actually be really fun for you and you can have a lot of success and you can live well. Ultimately, what I want for you is to make more money so you have more resources to live the life that you truly want to live. So again, I have five questions in this category that I want you to ask yourself.
Price Question One
The first one is simple: how much are your clients willing to pay? Ask how much they are willing to invest. Is your product an expense or is it an investment? If you’re a creative entrepreneur like me, it should always be an investment. That is the terminology I want you to use. I want you to get rid of “expense” or “cost” or “fee” and I want you to start using “investment” to describe the price. Be proud of your price and you also need to know where your price point is. Are you a low ticket offer, like anything under a thousand bucks, or are you a high ticket offer of $5,000-$10,000 or more? The price that they’re willing to pay is based on the value that you’re able to show in your presentation and in your offer. If you’re solving a big problem, you can solve it by charging a high price.
Price Question Two
The second question I want you to ask yourself is, “Does my client/customer have to sacrifice any time or effort in this project?” For example, are they going to have to spend an hour or two with you? Are they heavily involved in the process or do they have no involvement in the process? The fewer contributions a client has to make, the more money they will be willing to pay. Understanding that is a value proposition and it’s something that you can add to your packaging.
Price Question Three
The third question I want you to ask yourself is “Who sets the pricing in my industry?” Expand on this by considering if there are other agencies doing it at the same level that you’re doing it. If they’re charging three to ten times more, you should be too. I would encourage you to mystery shop or secret shop your competitors and see what they’re charging for the same type of work and caliber of work that you’re doing. If you’re a really high-level award-winning graphic designer, you should be charging the rates of other high-level award-winning graphic designers. If you’re a brand new beginner and you’re just trying to build a portfolio and get started, compare your prices to people that are on the same tier.
Price Question Four
The fourth question I have for you about price is tricky. What is the perceived value of your product or your service or what it is that you’re offering? Is it cheap? Is it expensive? Is it affordable? Is it irresistible? You have to understand where your pricing is in comparison to the marketplace. Are you at the high end or the low end of the spectrum? Are you just trying to crank out a high volume or are you more of a “quality versus quantity” person? You have to understand where your pricing is in relation to your competitors. A lot of people like to fall right in the middle but that’s where everybody else is getting forgotten about. People only remember the cheapest company and the most expensive company, and they associate quality with price. Think McDonald’s vs. a restaurant with 3 Michelin stars.
Price Question Five
The fifth question you want to ask yourself is whether your offerings are rare or abundant. If you’re a brand-new designer and you don’t have any clients, you have an abundance of time available for you to go out and create. On the other hand, if you’re an experienced company and you have a high demand for your services then your time is rarer and so you’re going to sell that for a higher dollar amount. You’re not selling per hour, you’re selling on value, but when you price it out you still have to consider the time that the project is going to demand and how much that time is worth.
Using the 4 Ps of Marketing: Price
You are not a commodity; you are a precious resource that is not duplicatable unless you train personnel and you build complex systems and automated processes. If you don’t have those things in place, you need to be really thinking about your time and how you’re pricing it out. We’re halfway through the 4 Ps. I also have tons of articles like this that you’re not going to want to miss, including the Ethos Pathos Logos Marketing article about my secret marketing strategy video. I have a lot of methods that I’m enjoying teaching and this is just one of them.
4 Ps of Marketing: Place
The third P is Place. Now, this is really commonly overlooked but Place is what’s going to help you understand how to generate the most revenue possible so you need to pay attention here. In fact, I hope you’re taking notes on all this information because this is going to be super valuable to you. if you’re a graphic designer who has a brick-and-mortar store and you’re in a town of 2,000 people, you’re probably not going to make a whole lot of money. However, if you have an online store that’s open to the entire world where you can advertise and place your business in the most strategic places, you’re going to be able to make way more money.
So you have to compare where you’re at now with where you want to be. If you’re in a town with 2 million people and you’re in the hub of the town, then it’s probably a better place than even online. Why? Because your visibility and your placement are very, very high in a high-density area. So you have to really take this into consideration and understand that the better the place you put yourself in, the better the clients you’re going to attract. When it comes to place, you have to think about four main things.
Place Question One
The first question I want you to ask yourself is: where are you selling your products and services? Where are you placing your brand and your business? You need to write that down. Write that question down, and where are you putting it? Are you getting all your business from LinkedIn? Are you getting all your business from Craigslist? Are you getting all your business from Facebook? What platform are you using right now to promote and push your product? This article and the video it’s based on are part of a specific strategic placement where I place myself in front of creatives like yourself. This is what I’m talking about. This is the perfect example of a place so you really need to understand this piece when considering where you’re placing yourself.
Place Question Two
The second question is rather amusing, but I really want to send this home. Where does the woman in white gloves get the chocolate popsicle? Is it on the website? Is it face-to-face or over the phone? Is it through instant messenger? Is it on Facebook? Is it through a marketplace like Fiverr or Upwork or one of those sites, for example? Understanding where your customers are and where they may buy your products is critical if you want to help them solve their issues. You must locate yourself on a platform or in a location where your ideal dream customer is looking for solutions to their problems.
Place Question Three
Now, the third question I want you to ask yourself is: “How much do they know about my business?” This is an important aspect of the equation because your experience and dealing with you will be handled either online or offline, whether it’s brick-and-mortar or virtual. Recognize this and how that previous client encounter might impact your pricing, marketing, and really establish your brand as an authority in the right environment. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, the way you’re going to position that versus being an online store is going to be totally different. I’m going to have a-frame signs outside. I’m going to have signage on my building. I’m going to promote it in my local community. I’m counting on my local community to come in and support me, so I’m going to sponsor local teams and local groups. But if you’re online, how are you going to promote and build your brand and place yourself online in the virtual space–this is something you really need to think about and plan out.
Place Question Four
The fourth question to ask yourself when it comes to place is how are you conducting your conversations and your communications with them? Are you doing this via Zoom or email, or via phone conversations? The key to this is understanding where you’re delivering your product or service—online or offline—and whether you’re going to clients’ offices and meeting with them, or they’re coming to your office.
Using the 4 Ps of Marketing: Plac
Understanding where the delivery is and where that service is actually being provided is super important. I’m working on some really neat strategies with Instagraphics to enhance that experience of delivering a high-quality graphic design service virtually and very quickly. So this is something I’m actively working on that I want you to take into consideration as well. That covers all the considerations when it comes to Place, and now we’re going to move on to Promotion.
4 Ps of Marketing: Promotion
The fourth P is Promotion, which implies that you must know where you’re telling people about your product or service, and how you’ll do it. I mentioned all of the various social media platforms, as well as the internet and the real world. I feel it’s critical to grasp that every business has its own distinct combination of methods; some will only use organic marketing, while others will employ advertising and marketing. Some businesses will combine several techniques such as digital marketing and offline marketing.
In addition to your product, it also covers your sales and marketing techniques for promoting your products and services, as well as how you’re informing others about it. Are you using a challenge funnel, a click funnel, a blog, or a podcast? These are all crucial elements to consider in your business because whether you’re advertising via a podcast or a Facebook group, those are going to be two completely different strategies. So you really need to be thinking about that promotional strategy and I have three questions that I want you to ask yourself that are going to help you really narrow that down.
Promotion Question One
The first consideration—having a clear, concise message—is extremely important. What I want people to know is that I am speaking for myself and my agency. What I want people to know is that we want to work with brands that are socially conscious, so we focus on companies that have a social consciousness agenda, mission, and message to actually impact the world in a positive way besides just making money. This is an example of what I’m saying for you to do this, not necessarily what I’m doing. So it’s totally up to you but you want to find a message that’s going to resonate with your audience if you want them to be able to understand the problem that you’re trying to solve for them and push on those pain points. This is really important inside of the promoting section.
Promotion Question Two
The second question I want you to ask yourself when it comes to promotion is the medium where is your target client–your dream client–congregating? Where are they spending their time, whether online or offline? They may be on blogs like this, on forums, or platforms like YouTube. I know that my audience specifically is on my site, on YouTube, in Facebook groups, and they are on LinkedIn. Those are the areas I focus my time and energy on and I love YouTube because of the power of video communication, and I love transforming that information for those who prefer to read (like yourself). For me using videos to promote my brand, my message, and my mission is the way I like to go about it but you have to find what works specifically for you
Promotion Question Three
The third one is one that so many people miss. This is the third question you have to ask yourself: are you considering your consistency and the frequency of your contact? A lot of graphic designers take on a client, sell the project, and work with them for a week or two. Then, they never talk to that client again. There may be an email if the client needs something or has a change, and they never hear from their client again. They don’t do any email marketing – they don’t do any ongoing marketing – they don’t do any retargeting or advertising or social media marketing. When it comes to project management, they may just drop off the face of the planet.
So when a client needs another project, what are they going to do? Do you think they’ll call you if you’re not regularly posting and keeping that top-of-mind awareness? They’ll go out looking for another designer because your communication wasn’t effective and you didn’t make them feel like a top priority. I recently read a blog post by someone who was advising people on how to improve their SEO and he wrote that one of the most important things in ANY marketing campaign is developing relationship currency. They’re getting it at incredibly inconvenient hours when they could be sleeping or doing anything other than inputting your company’s information into Google, which shows us just how valuable this process is. You have to think about the frequency.
Using the 4 Ps of Marketing: Promotion
It takes 13 to 14 times of somebody seeing you over and over again to actually make a connection and take an action so this is really important for you to understand. The frequency is the name of the game. If you follow up with the person 8 to 10 times, you have a 96% better chance than your competitors who only follow up twice and give up. The average is about 80% of people give up after the second follow-up. With that, you have all four of those Ps for your marketing. Hopefully, you have them all written down and you’ve answered all those questions. Now it’s important to take that information and actually apply it because that’s where you’re going to get the real transformation.
Invitation and Final Thoughts on the 4 Ps of Marketing
I want to extend a personal invitation for you to actually become part of the Instagraphics Pro Network. It’s absolutely free; there are no strings attached. The Facebook community is a private community and I don’t let very many people in. I actually turn down about 50% of people but all you have to do is fill out four questions. If you fill out every single question, I will let you in. If you don’t, I can’t let you in so this is important.
This is a community where we’re building each other up. We’re doing training seminars; we’re doing live events. We’re doing all kinds of really fun stuff and I’d be honored as a fellow creative to have you in that community as well. Also, thank you guys so much for reading about the 4 Ps of Marketing and the marketing mix. I hope this was super valuable for you; I know it was for me. I’ll be looking forward to seeing you guys on the next article. I’m Adrian Boysel and as always, keep looking up!