How to Apply the 4 P’s of Marketing to PPC

4psMarketing principles permeate into every aspect of online marketing, but they’re less pronounced and little discussed. Especially in PPC. Having a basic understanding of these principles and knowing how they correspond to your campaigns can give you a leg up over competitors.

Last time we discussed How to Apply the AIDA Marketing Principles in PPC. AIDA is a customer centric theory that talks about how customers go through the buying process, from start to finish. The 4 P’s are marketer centric and discuss how marketers make decisions about their marketing strategy.

Let’s jump in and see how you can make similar decisions in your marketing campaigns.


In traditional marketing, product refers to the physical product itself. The ergonomics, colors, packaging, etc., but for online marketing we don’t really get to make those choices. We have an entirely different challenge. When you go to a store, you can hold something in your hand. You know exactly what you’re getting because you can see it, touch it, smell it, hear it. Online, we have to make up for that lack of physical contact. In online marketing, product refers to your representation of the product/service online. To make sure you’re holding down the fort on product, make sure your landing pages have the following features available for your potential customers.

  • Pictures: we don’t get to hold your products. Give all all the relevant images possible. Maybe a standard view of the product is fine, or maybe you should have a model using the product to give customers an idea of practical applications.
  • Descriptions: give a detailed write up of the tangibles for your product. Weight, size, anything that is a physical feature of the product, but not a major selling point. Give your audience the best idea of what they’re getting.
  • Features: here’s where you write about your major selling points. Maybe your product is ergonomically designed for ease, maybe it is made of ultra durable glass. Whatever sets you apart, this is where you tell them.
  • Benefits: what positive outcomes should your customers get from your product? These can be either measurable outcomes (e.g. saving time) or non-measurable ones (e.g. feeling good because your product is eco friendly).
  • Tutorials/Demos: you’ll not always get your point across with just images and text. Sometimes you need to put motion to your products to get the idea across. Put together a short 30 second video or demo to help customers understand your product.


Knowing where to advertise your product or service can sometimes be just as important as the product itself. You’re product could be the best thing since sliced bread, but if you’re not in the correct market space, you’ll never turn a profit. In PPC, we’re given some pretty amazing ways to hit large market spaces, but also to narrow down within those areas to be more effective.

  • Channels: are they active on social media sites? Do they prefer Google, Bing, Yahoo, Youtube, or smaller third party search engines? Nail down where your target market is on a big scale then start targeting them.
  • Networks: does your audience actively look for your products/services from search engines? Do they regularly peruse websites with content similar to your products? Know if search and/or display work for you before you jump in head first.
  • Devices: is your audience mobile friendly? Do they typically comparison shop in store? Do they typically search for you on tablets? Are desktops where they do their heavy research? Not only should you know your audience’s device preference, you should also know what information they want on each device.
  • Time: when does your audience try to find you? Morning, midday, night, week days, weekends, some combination of them all? Luckily we’re given incremental impact over each time frame so you can be as prominent as you like during your customer’s peak shopping hours.
  • Geography: where in the world is your audience? Where all can you profitably do business?
  • Keywords: for search, people look for your good with keywords. Each SERP is like a mini-store front. Know the keywords your audience uses to find you or similar products so you can grab their attention at the right time.
  • Placements: similar to keywords, where is your audience active on the internet and also responsive to ads? Similar to an end cap at a store. Your audience might not necessarily be looking for you, but with the right combo of messaging and descriptors, they could add you to their cart.


Now that you have your product and you know where your audience is, you need to be enticing. Promotional materials can manifest in many ways for PPC, but for the most part, they’re all part of grabbing the greatest amount of attention with ad copy.

  • Ad Copy: what does your audience find most appealing about your product/service? Do you have competitors you’re trying to beat out? What are their messages? Make your ads as appealing as possible, while still driving toward end sales. Attract and convert.
  • Sitelinks: what supporting pages of your site would convince someone to buy from you? Include these as your sitelinks to ensure your audience that if they don’t find they info they need on your landing page, it can be found elsewhere on your site.
  • Reviews: have past customers that rave about your product? Have your products/services been reviewed by prominent publications? Let your audience read about those experiences. Again, being online creates a disconnect with the tangible product. Show your audience that others have had positive experiences and they’ll more readily believe they can too.


Male thinking of dollar signsPrice sounds pretty straightforward, but online pricing can be a bit tricky. Essentially, the online price is whatever the customer gives you to get your product/service. The price of a good or service online can be broken down into two pieces: actual price and perceived price.

Actual Price

This is what you normally think of when you think of price; something with a dollar sign in front of it. These can either be a one time purchase, monthly subscriptions, or a pay per use basis. Sometimes shipping and handling is an additional cost on top, but either way, it’s quantified.

Perceived Price

Here’s where things can get a bit tricky. Let’s look at a scenario for someone trying to get a quote for insurance, then take a look at some of the perceived prices of that quote.

You’re ready to get your free insurance quote. You do your search, read a solid landing page and are convinced this is the service for you. You go to enter your information to make an appointment and they ask for your name, phone number, mailing address, email address, and what time would work for you for an appointment. To the customer service reps at the insurance company, they just got what they needed to get started on paper work. But to a potential customer, here are some perceived prices of that information:

  • Email Address: influx of spam.
  • Phone Number: solicitations from call centers.
  • Home Address: junk mail.

Now, for a legitimate business, this wouldn’t happen. You wouldn’t automatically get spammed on all channels just because you gave them info. But not all businesses are as upstanding. Just one story about a bad experience with a sales team and you can kiss that customer goodbye. The same thing can happen in ecommerce. You give your credit card information, but there’s a chance their site could get hacked and someone steals your info.

All of these are worst case scenarios, but sometimes they happen. Just be aware that whatever you’re selling online, there may be an additional perceived price on top of the actual dollar amount that you’ll have to overcome to win someone’s business. There are ways to mitigate these concerns through trust symbols, check boxes to say you wish to not receive promo emails, or that you won’t sell people’s contact info.

For any marketer, online or off, the 4 P’s are a very basic foundation of your offerings and how they translate to customers. Knowing the strategies behind each of these areas can help you understand your online efforts better and out perform your competition.