The third P stands for place, although it's really referring to distribution. I guess you can think of it as the "place" of purchase. The strategy behind how you sell and distribute your product is a very important element of your marketing mix. Do you want your product to be available everywhere? If you do the math, that could be a very lucrative strategy. Or, do you want to create demand for it because it's exclusive and hard to find, requiring the right connections or even traveling to large cities? (The latter would also allow for higher pricing, by the way.)
Just like with pricing, the places where your product is available say a lot about both the quality and "status" of the product. Your channels of distribution must match the image goals of your product. In other words, if you're selling hand-made exotic wood picture frames with luxurious cloth matting, you probably don't want to go to Wal-Mart to sell them. You would use the high-quality, luxury-item image and sell them in an exclusive boutique or other shop. On the other hand, if your product is a mid-line car-care product, then Wal-Mart would be perfect.
Here are some things to remember when planning your distribution strategy:
- Match your product's "image" with that of the distribution channel and with your customers' perception of your product.
- Stay on top of changes in the market that should also make you change your distribution strategy.
- Make sure your product can get the attention it needs in your chosen channel -- both from the sales staff (are they knowledgeable?) and from a shelf-space standpoint (how many competing products does the distributor also carry?).