Apr 20, 2017

4 Ps of Marketing and Retail Packaging

Do you consider your marketing mix when it comes to packaging? In a fast-paced world where consumer habits and the retail landscape are constantly changing, it’s easy to brush off the basics.
However, there are foundational concepts and best practices that remain crucial to companies large and small. The original “Four Ps” are the perfect example of a framework that can be applied to practically any situation in which you must make marketing decisions.
For example, Product, Price, Placement, and Promotion are all directly connected to a fifth important “P” … Packaging. So, before getting caught up in the latest trends and technologies, take the time to examine your retail packaging strategy through the lens of the Four Ps.

1. Product

Your product is quite simply what you are selling. Hopefully, that product meets a consumer need and fulfills a demand. It should have specific features and benefits that help you sell it and, potentially, a selection of different styles and options to create separate product lines.
The challenge for CPGs today, both online and in retail stores, is that shoppers have an overwhelming abundance of choices. There is no shortage of products ready to satisfy demand. In a way, everything is becoming a commodity. That’s to say it’s more challenging than ever to differentiate one product from another.
This makes the modern consumer tough to please, and it drives prices down because cost becomes the primary distinguishing factor. Thankfully, commoditization is a problem that sound marketing and a good packaging strategy can overcome.
Packaging is Part of the Product
In a store full of “me too” products, the package provides an excellent opportunity to stand out. Packaging is more than just a box or wrapper that keeps products contained. Packaging becomes the product and part of the brand.
For example, people pick Dutch Boy paint for the innovative twist and pour container just as much as the paint inside. Packaging design can improve the overall customer experience because it directly affects the functionality of the product itself.
From a branding perspective, if you’re selling a natural product, it would make sense to choose sustainable packaging materials that complement what you’re selling. There are some iconic examples of how packaging becomes crucial to branding. Consider the memorable, blue Tiffany’s box or how packaging for Apple products mirrors the company’s commitment to sleek design.
Packaging design should be an essential part of your product development process because it can easily become the reason a consumer chooses your brand over the competition.

2. Price

Of course, customers will pay a price for your product, but that involves more than just the dollar amount. Consumers also pay with their time. Did it take a lot of effort to make a purchasing decision? There are mental and emotional prices on products to consider in addition to the monetary price.
The perceived value of your product is particularly significant if you want to battle commoditization. When people view your product as more valuable, they’ll be more willing to open their wallets, and that’s another area where packaging can help.
Packaging Influences Price
Packaging is a cost to the manufacturer and that impacts price. Reducing the cost of packaging may allow you to reduce the price or increase your profits. However, packaging also directly affects the price people are willing to pay.
Consumers will certainly choose one brand over another based on the packaging. You can quickly boost the perceived value of a product with the right packaging, especially if the package provides a way to make a customer’s life easier. That could mean it’s easier to carry, store, open, use, improves safety, protects the product, or keeps something fresh longer.
If you’re positioning your product as a premium option, your packaging needs to reflect that. Packaging will substantiate the price of your products.

3. Placement

Placement involves the distribution of your products, meaning where they are being sold and how they are being delivered to market.
This not only encompasses what stores are selling your brand’s products, it includes where in the store they are put on display, which affects how people perceive your products. Notice how fruit snacks and fruit roll-ups are usually found near applesauce and granola bars … not in the candy section.
Kellogg’s and Meijer recently experimented with placement of cereal in grocery stores. An article from Quartz explains that Kellogg’s wanted to see if shoppers responded differently when cereal boxes were placed in the produce section next to healthy fresh fruit.
Packaging Impacts Placement
Brands usually can’t dictate exactly where in the store products are put on display. However, packaging can influence where retailers decide to stock certain items.
One of the best ways to ensure products make it out of the warehouse and into the store faster is adopting a retail ready packaging (RRP) strategy. This type of packaging makes it easier for retail store employees to identify your products in storage, to get them out onto store shelves, and to restock products when the time comes.
All of that puts you in good favor with retailers while reducing their labor costs. Learn more about the importance of implementing a retail ready packaging strategy here on our blog.

4. Promotion

Promotion is the part of the mix most commonly associated with marketing efforts. It entails the communication strategies used to help raise awareness about your product and persuasively sell its features and benefits to consumers. However, promotion goes beyond traditional advertising.
There’s no denying the fact that consumer habits have changed. The majority will conduct research online and learn about your product through digital promotions such as social media.
While it’s certainly important to create digital touchpoints for your brand, many times the ultimate touchpoint still occurs in a retail setting. Research from Forrester in 2013 indicates “visiting a physical store is the most influential source of information used by consumers when making purchasing decisions across all categories.”
Packaging Helps Promote Products
When consumers enter a retail store, promotional efforts, such as the work put into product packaging, are your last chance to convince them to buy. It often provides the final push needed to persuade people to place an item in their shopping carts. That’s why your packaging strategy should be in harmony with your brand’s overall marketing strategy.
Effective packaging design makes a product jump out from all the other options. It communicates benefits and triggers an emotional connection through packaging by creating a unique experience for the customer.
As renowned retail magnate, Harry Gordon Selfridge, pointed out more than a century ago, “Excite the mind and the hand will reach for the pocket.”
Think ‘Beyond the Box’ with Menasha
If your brand is looking to “excite the minds” of customers, Menasha has the experience and the vision you need in a packaging partner.
From our role as a pioneer in corrugated packaging to our ongoing innovations, Menasha provides retail product packaging solutions that can be just as influential as pricing and product features.
Menasha’s packaging designs and retail displays can accelerate sales and get your products noticed. Not only do we design packaging, we also create shipping solutions that protect merchandise, improve processes, and generate cost savings. Contact us today to find out more about our capabilities and how Menasha can partner with your brand.