The Marketing Mix Applied to the Digital World – Product

The 4P’s or the marketing mix has long been seen as the main foundations of any marketing campaign but can this traditional concept relate to the new digital era? This blog post is going to explain why the 4P’s CAN be adapted to the digital marketing environment, starting with the first ‘P’, Product.

Digital/Virtual Products  

The first reason why ‘Product’ can be applied to the digital era is the recent rise of digital and virtual products.  Digital products are obviously intangible so they aren’t your standard items and could come in many forms, such as ones that can be accessed through a subscription or be downloaded.

Here are some examples of those digital products:

Subscriptions:  Access to The Times newspaper online, subscribing to Netflix to watch a film, signing up to a Sainsbury’s newsletter, upgrading to a paid account on LinkedIn

Downloads: Music from iTunes or Spotify, e-books from Amazon, games and films from Netflix

However, it could be argued that both these types of digital products are actually combined as you have a subscription on a site such as Netflix where you download films. Therefore, both can be interrelated in some way, although are independent too.  There are other forms of digital products that don’t really fit in either of the aforementioned categories such as paying for a PPC campaign via Google AdWords, registering a domain name on Go Daddy or applying for a loan on NatWest’s website.  Thus illustrating the vast array and diversity of virtual products!

There’s no doubt about it though that a whole new business opportunity and market has been created through the creation of digital and virtual products. But the question of whether these new virtual products have killed off the traditional or tangible ones is raised. This decline is evident in music as we now download our favourite songs from iTunes rather than buy the CD or buying the latest book release from Amazon onto our Kindle’s rather than the hardback copy.

Product Offerings

Another reason ‘Product’ can be applied to the digital era is through the rise of Ecommerce and the ability for products to be purchased online. Therefore, we’re moving away from selling virtual products back to selling physical products, only this time via websites. There are many benefits for customers of buying products online such as:

–  More choice and variety – No longer restricted to just what is on sale in a store
–  Greater product descriptions (price, images, info, sizes, reviews, technical info, stock levels)
–  Advanced search options (search by price, age, specification, size, type)

With the rise of a greater depth of products has seen the term ‘long tail’ coined. A concept popularised by Chris Anderson in Wired which is where retailers can stock less popular products. For example, Amazon sells many books that aren’t in the ‘top 100’, but through the long tail, they can offer these less known titles.

Improved Product Service

Finally, the rise of products being sold over the internet has also seen improvements in customer service levels.  Before buying a product customers can now access a multitude of information about the product prior to purchasing it.  This could include product reviews, customer comments, product ratings, endorsements, awards, case studies or testimonials which can all help with the final purchase.

In addition, if a customer requires help or has an issue they can find what they are looking for via pages such as ‘Help’, ‘Contact Us’ or ‘F&Q’s’.  Furthermore, with the rise of online warranties, guarantees and money back offers customers can easily change products without much hassle.

So ‘Yes’ the first element of the marketing mix, Product, can definitely be applied to the digital era, whether that’s taking something traditional like a product and combining it with something digital like selling it via a website, or creating an entire new product avenue of digital products.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next ‘P’, Price!

For more digital marketing news please follow my blog or my Twitter account @DigitalStuart.


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