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The Four Ps

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Marketing managers have a useful model known as ‘The Four Ps’ or ‘The Marketing Mix’. This model highlights four key areas in which marketers often have a significant interest as these areas can be critical to business success. A Total Quality approach looks for ways to improve and sustain quality in all parts of the organisation and its processes. Working closely with marketing people in these areas can have a significant benefit to the firm.



1. Product

Attention to the product/service is the classic first place to focus. Delivering what is needed, conforming to customer requirements and ensuring the product is fit for purpose is of deep interest to both quality and marketing people.


2. Price

Pricing products and services is a black art, where higher prices can create an impression of higher quality and even lead to greater sales. However, if this expectation is set then it is critical to ensure delivery results in delight, not anger.


3. Place

Sales usually have a geographic component that needs considering. Where will the buyer be when they order? How will the product be delivered to them? How long will it take? What logistics are involved? Much of this is a part of the buying experience and can affect customer satisfaction as well as adding to business costs. Quality reaches all the way up to when the customer takes delivery, and beyond.


4. Promotion

Marketers put particular effort into making potential customers aware of the product or service and how it is of benefit to them. Promotion can include advertising, personal selling, publicity, public relations and overall product brand activities. Quality here includes ensuring accuracy of communications as well as compliance with advertising and consumer communication legislation.


As with many popular models, a number of people have offered extensions and variations. Unsurprisingly, everything begins with P. The ‘Seven Ps’ add the following:

  • 5. People: People are variables in the overall process, especially in service delivery.
  • 6. Process: the whole end-to-end process, particularly around customer interface should be examined carefully.
  • 7. Physical evidence: To sell services, evidence such as case-studies, demonstrations and references can help with the sale.


Other models include extensions from ‘participation’ to ‘personalisation’.


 A counterbalance customer-focussed model to the four Ps is known as SIVA, where:

·         The Product creates a helpful Solution,

·         Promotion provides useful Information,

·         the Price point is one that is seen as good Value, and

·         the Place of sale is easily Accessible.


The bottom line throughout for both the quality professional and the marketer is to ensure a consistent customer experience that is aligned with the business brand, whilst sustaining minimum necessary costs in doing so. Happy customers, as we all know, lead to more happy customers, and more sales lead to happy shareholders, happy bosses and more jobs.


Next time: The McKinsey 7s


This article first appeared in Quality World, the journal of the Chartered Quality Institute


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