My personal overview about the 4 P’s of Marketing in the Mauritian context

I have just finished replying back to my British-French pal, and I remember that one of the main points on which we discussed recently was about Hotmail’s new look, since a new version recently appeared. According to my friend, here is, translated to you in English, an extract of what he thinks about those renovations for new softwares and hardwares in computer:

All organisms change and update our computers and programs without preventing us, nor asking for our opinion. They don’t even ask us whether we would be interested to change them. They always make us believinv that it’s for “improving the performances”and for “security”, which is completely wrong!

Further on, he explained me that, through his own experience with softwares for a couple of 30 years, he had more problems with newly computer designs, whereas he almost never faced any difficulties with the very first brand new computers… It reminds me of my history and economics tuitions I followed when I was still in college, especially on how durable products in the beginning of the century on how products were more durable in the past, but much more expensive. I retrieved the extract of that article, translated in English through Google Translate, which certifies exactly the same problem that my friend told me about, and that extract is logical for those who think that having a cheap product helps you making more economy, which is completely wrong:

But there is one thing we forget is that these wonderful immortal vacuums were very expensive. My mom found the bill for its Electrolux Z325 purchased in 1976: CHF 648.-, about 1125 Euros current counting inflation of 2%. According to [12], only 50% of households had a vacuum cleaner at the end of 1968; If we extrapolate the price reduction of 30% in 8 years of home appliances (ie 4.5% per year), we find that the cleaners now cost about 7.5 times less than in 1968. As an Electrolux vacuum cleaner now costs in 200 Euros, that of our mothers cost the equivalent of 1,500 Euros today. So what vacuum cleaner is cheaper? The Electrolux 1500 Euros over 25 years either 200 4?

This is a translated version of what I obtained from Google Translate which I presented you previously, but I hope that you understood it too. I have noticed that in Mauritius, people rush a lot in supermarkets, for shopping malls or any hobbies and activities proposed in the country for the holidays, only because they are looking after the price according to the budget that they have for their household. Unfortunately, all the products that they buy are, for the most of them, defectuous products that they need to buy again and again after consumption is over, instead of contenting themselves with a more expensive product which will make them gaining more economy.

I remember that, when I was still student at the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the beginning of the 21st century, in Marketing, I studied the principle of the 4 P’s, which consists of Price, Product, Promotion and Placement, and on which I will give you some examples that they are very complex to adapt within the daily social and professional environment, especially in a country like Mauritius, after I share with you that extract which explains those principles perfectly:

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The Four Ps Model

  • Product – The first of the Four Ps of marketing is product. A product can be either a tangible good or an intangible service that fulfills a need or want of consumers. Whether you sell custom pallets and wood products or provide luxury accommodations, it’s imperative that you have a clear grasp of exactly what your product is and what makes it unique before you can successfully market it.
  • Price – Once a concrete understanding of the product offering is established we can start making some pricing decisions. Price determinations will impact profit margins, supply, demand and marketing strategy. Similar (in concept) products and brands may need to be positioned differently based on varying price points, while price elasticity considerations may influence our next two Ps.
  • Promotion – We’ve got a product and a price now it’s time to promote it. Promotion looks at the many ways marketing agencies disseminate relevant product information to consumers and differentiate a particular product or service. Promotion includes elements like: advertising, public relations, social media marketing, email marketing, search engine marketing, video marketing and more. Each touch point must be supported by a well positioned brand to truly maximize return on investment.
  • Place – Often you will hear marketers saying that marketing is about putting the right product, at the right price, at the right place, at the right time. It’s critical then, to evaluate what the ideal locations are to convert potential clients into actual clients. Today, even in situations where the actual transaction doesn’t happen on the web, the initial place potential clients are engaged and converted is online.

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The politic of price in Mauritius – Food and beverages consumption as the perfect example

The politic of price is the one which appears the most in Mauritius, when it comes on first necessary products like food, beverages, clothing, accessories and on hobbies. As I mentioned before, Mauritians tend to rush wherever supermarkets and shops show promotions and sales, especially when there is flow of stocks. And most of the products that they buy for a cheaper price get damaged easily, create some negative impacts on their health and in their daily use… and also it creates negative impacts in their budget as well. Let’s take an example for food and beverages. Most of the time, people buy stuffs because of the promotion given on the actual price of the product in the market. They do it, either to obtain some special gifts, or they do it because their budget doesn’t allow them to have something better for an expensive price. The result is that, after having consumed those food and beverages products, the unavoidable happens after: people fall sick, and also they have to go to hospital, or to consult a doctor for check-up and for receiving short term or long term treatments. And Mauritius is one of the worst destinations crowded with people suffering with diabetes! Also, the costs get accumulated in their budget: Cost of public transportation for those who have to take a taxi or travel by bus; cost of fuel if they have their own transport to drive; cost of the consultation, treatments and medicines to follow… And above all, so much useless time spent to recover. And if we add all those additional expenses to the cheap food and beverage products that people consume every day, the budget explodes! So what is the need of buying something cheap for consumption, if afterwards it will create such a negative impact on our health and also on our expenses? And why not buying something expensive but efficient today, and which will make us saving money on those additional and also useless procedures to recover our health?

The politic of price on services… Especially when there are some promotional activities organized for tourism

Mauritius is very well known for being varied for its numerous touristic activities and attractions, which are developing more and more to promote tourism and to make of Mauritius one of the best touristic destinations worldwide. They are known to be very expensive, especially since they are high quality services proposed for the tourists, and which unfortunately are avoided by Mauritians themselves because they are too costly. Also, Mauritians can seize the opportunity for enjoying those activities only when there are some promotions shown on local newspapers, on TV or on the Internet. Personally, I already participated into some hotel activities which were cheaper during promotional campaigns for Mauritians, but which were of top quality. Unfortunately, when there are such promotional campaigns, those places are mostly crowdy and very few lucky people succeed into participating in them to have a good day, whereas the other ones have to wait and to queue for long hours until their turn comes up.

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The politic of product: From the newly designed high tech products to the good quality products which are inexistent on the market

The politic of product is more complex than the politic of price. You have two kinds of products that Mauritian people are looking for. In one hand, you have a product which is in vogue on the market, and that Mauritian people won’t hesitate to buy. In another hand, but in a rarer case, you have those kind of products which you will never find in the market, nor online, but which requires another kind of marketing by passing through tele-agents, agents or a chain of distribution. Let’s take an example about high tech products. My friend mentioned about the newly laptops and Iphones, who propose some attractive products which may damage easily if an accident occurs, since tactile screens are very delicate and need lots of caring for manipulation. If by accident your screen gets broken, or that you throw some liquid on it while it’s switched on, you will have to bring it to a supplier to repair it. It may take a lot of time to be repaired, and not only you will have to pay for the repair and maintenance of the product, but you will also have to repair for the purchase of some new accessories which will be useful to repair those products. Another kind of product which is rarer, but where the politic of product, this time, is positive, it’s regarding some high quality and durable products which are very expensive, not soldable on the market, and for which you need to pass through an agent of distribution or a chain of distribution. I remember having worked for the account of a chain of distribution, which was selling some high quality pads, which don’t exist on the market, but which had some special virtues on women’s health and comfort during menstruation, compared to other products on the market. I myself bought and tried those products, and they really had a different impact on my health, since I am someone who suffers a lot from menstruating belly pains and high fever. I really felt more comfortable wearing those pads, and was more active and productive in my daily life. But such products are rare, and for this you need to pass through an agent of distribution… and agents aren’t always efficient since they are known to perceive commissions on the product to enrich themselves, and are mostly known as dream sellers when they try to influence people, not only about the product, but also to talk about the product in the aim of making money and becoming more independent. The politics of place and product, then, work hand in hand there, especially in the Mauritian context.

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Promotion and Placement: A complex equation, but which works perfectly together for the politics of Price and Product

When you hear about the politic of Placement, it may automatically come in your mind that we are talking about the attractiveness of the shops and especially of the showcases of the shops as from first sight, the radius of supermarkets and the emplacement of those shops and supermarkets regarding their accessibility to the client. In shopping malls, it’s on that detail that shop owners and managers insist the most to attract their customers, either it may be in Mauritius or overseas. When there are some special promotional sales, some showcases present the products together with some stickers showing price reductions, and there we are following the politic of price. There are also some places, where you have shop owners or managers asking for you to come in their shops, either because there are some affordable prices on their products (especially in fairs like in Mauritius), or because they have some attractive products to show to clients, like in the Gold Souq of Dubai, but which necessitate that you haggle a lot with the suppliers since they will tend to give you some good products but at an expensive price, whereas in reality they don’t want to sell their best products and prefer proposing some cheap products instead. The more you haggle, the more they will come to a point that they will have to look for some more attractive products in their store to satisfy your needs. I remember, while writing those lines, that I have had that similar experience when I went to shop my wedding saree with my mother a decade ago. At first, in the shop, I was proposed some sarees which had very ordinary designs and which looked cheaper. But my mother haggled a lot with the shop sellers since she wanted a good product and not something cheap. After ten minutes of haggling, the shop seller finally found in her stock a very beautiful, heavy and attractive sari, which was very expensive, but of very good quality, even though it was heavy. This is the trick that is mostly found in such placements, because it’s a way for them to attract their customers and to, either making the customers paying immediately if they found the perfect item, or keeping the best product for later for being sold to a more fortunate customer.

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There is another politic of promotion which is also practised, either with a weak politic of placement, or without politics of placement, and which matches the best with the politic of product than the politic of price, the politic that you will never retrieve in open places, but behind open places, which is the concept of network marketing. This type of network marketing exists for high quality shops and products such as the well known Yves Rocher, Avon and even the Tupperware products, which exist in shops and supermarkets, but which are also sold through meetings or door to door with some agents, who perceive some commissions on the products and make you paying more expensive prices than on supermarkets, drugstores and in shops, since those products are different and of better quality compared to the ones retrieved in supermarkets, drugstores and shops. You also have some agents who operate for a specific shop selling products that you will never retrieve in any markets, but only in their specific shops only. Let’s take the example of the Stanhome products. I remember that, when I was still in Mauritius, I used to buy a lot of those products, which were of very high quality for the laundry and for housekeeping, and of course more durable and more expensive. We used to go in Stanhome shops to buy those products, and we even saw some agents taking the products there according to the demand of their clients, to be delivered at home and to allow the agents to perceive a commission on their sales. Same applied for the Aptamil infant milk, which we retrieve in drugstores and in supermarkets, but which are also delivered at home by agents when there is a high demand, and it allows the agent to perceive a commission on the number of items as well.

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The examples I gave you are examples of politic of promotion with weaker placement politic. But now, here are, and this is much rarer, other examples of politic of promotion without placement. Those types of promotion are more discreet, and much rarer, and most of the time criticized for being fraudulous. The first example I will cite is to have a product sold through a chain of distribution, which will allow you at the same time talking about the product and earning some money by being part of that chain of distribution. This is another type of network marketing, which is rarer as it concerns products that you will never retrieve in stores, nor in shops, nor in drugstores nor in supermarkets. I mentioned before about the sanitary pads I bought through that chain of distribution. But not only did I have to use the pads, but I was also influenced by the sellers to talk about the efficiency of the sanitary pad, by being at my turn a part of the chain of distribution, in exchange of being well remunerated in return. Unfortunately, that kind of network marketing, though it’s a very interesting concept, is known to be very fraudulous and known to be dream sellers for those who desperately need extra money for their families. I myself was part of that network marketing for a couple of months without my husband’s consent and had the bitter experience, by being all the time mistreated, criticized, my superiors being unsatisfied with my performances though I was giving the best of myself, and the worst in all was that I already had my own prospects when I started my own network within that chain of distribution, but I was never paid for what they dued to me! The worst was also that this chain of dsistribution wasn’t yet registered and was operating fraudulously for years!

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Another example that I have also experienced and which is also a rare case: Companies or people who promote themselves through their products or by being part of other products to have their business being fructified. A friend of mine once saw a documentary stipulating that there are some very affluent businessmen in India who are at the head of high business industries, and who promote their own image to make their business fructifying, by taking part into some soap operas or festivals, so that they would increase their audience more to have their business being fructified. That kind of promotion has a monetary aim, since those actors promote their images for allowing their businesses being fructified, but there are also people who promote themselves without any monetary aim, since they have some further ambitions to become rich and famous over the head of the people they influenced. Also, there, we shouldn’t talk about self promotion, but rather about self bragging. An example I have there is a local celebrity who organizes workshops, conferences and seminars for free in Mauritius, and who uses one of his books as a way to promote his own image, by freely distributing it with his audience after the conference, workshop or seminary is finished, so that he can attract more people besides him to give him his chance becoming more famous and to increase his chances for climbing the steps of his journey into politics. Those same kind of people who later will influence people to work for him for free, and who will afterwards enrich themselves over the back of their blind followers and victims. I never accepted that case before, but I may admit that all the people who were against him and who didn’t understand why he didn’t sell his book in libraries or online were completely right and saw the danger from afar.

CONCLUSION

For writing that article I didn’t really look for some examples from the Internet, since I succeeded into having some examples as per my personal experience, and which showed about the complexity of the 4 Ps nowadays, and which vary according to each consumer’s and each human being’s needs. The 4 Ps can match all together, partially together or separately according of each human being’s needs and there are no specific rules to interconnect them or not. But promotion and placement are the most dangerous actors among the 4 Ps since they are the most powerful tools to attract people as per their needs and as per their budget. It’s always important then to be well informed about the products, the side effects, what it will bring to your budget, and even be well informed on the placement and on the approach used for the selling of those products and regarding the quality of the product itself if we don’t want to be trapped. Unfortunately very few people will think about doing it before purchasing anything, since they are too much in a hurry to satisfy their needs, and they tend to do it mostly when they have either good or bad experiences with the product. So we should act quickly before it’s too late.

 

 

 

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Author: ekasringavatar

Always be yourself unless you can be a Unicorn. Then, always be a Unicorn.

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