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“Product or Marketing” which is the king?

What’s your opinion? For me, it was like “What came first The Egg or The Chicken?” I know! I know! this is not a new topic and many experts have said or written about this topic in different ways. I am just trying my luck on this. So let’s get started…

During the time of my MBA in my first class of marketing our professor told us “There is marketing even in our daily life.” The example he gave us was “When you feel hungry you shout, Mom I am hungry! and she gives you food. Thus, here ‘Food’ is the product and your shouting is ‘Marketing’.” This fantastic example has fascinated me towards this subject. Now let’s see what is marketing. According to The Father of Modern Marketing Dr. Philip Kotler “A social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with each other.” Marketing is more than any other business function, which deals with customers. Creating customer value and satisfaction are the heart of modern marketing thinking and practice. Marketing is the delivery of customer satisfaction at a profit. The two fold goal of marketing is to attract new customers by promising superior value and to keep current customers by delivering satisfaction. But now a days it is turning out that Marketing = Business. Sometime businesses are misusing marketing in such a way that the product isn’t fulfilling any need or want despite that the customers are purchasing it.

Then it comes to the part of “4 ‘P’s of Marketing” or popularly known as “Marketing Mix” which was introduced in 1960 by American marketing professor and author Edmund Jerome McCarthy  in his book Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach.

Marketing Mix

After knowing about the 4 ‘P’s I was pretty sure that marketing is the real king because ‘Product’, ‘Place’, ‘Price’ & ‘Promotion’ everything falls under this one umbrella. Now after so many years, after working with different companies in diverse fields, I got a separate view of this in my Digital Marketing Internship Programme. Here Deepak Sir told us about his take on this i.e. “CATT- Content, Attention, Trust and Transaction”. According to him “Wealth= n^CATT”, here ‘n’ means Niche or in my words The Product.

CATT Funnel by Digital Deepak


So, let’s go anti-clock wise with the Marketing Mix and talk about ‘Promotion’ first and also we will see what Deepak Sir is trying to make us understand. There is a very funny thing about this part, for many people, the last ‘P’ in this list i.e. ‘Promotion’, actually comprises their view of marketing. They view the other three items in the list as part of other business processes (such as accounting and operations). However, this is not the case at all. In my view there are mainly two aspects of promotion- one is ‘The Message’ and another one is ‘Where to show that message’. Many of you can oppose with me because there are other several factors in creating a good promotional strategy. But no matter what result or opportunity the other factors provide us, if something has to be promoted then there should be a Message about it and it has to be circulated in some way.

Here, The Message is all about the good communication skill. Thus we can say The Message is The Content about the Niche. More understandable, attaching as well as attractive the message is, more it will gain the attention of the people. No matter how much understandable or attractive the message is, it is of no use if it doesn’t reach its intended audience. Here we will take a sneak peek into the market penetration of different medium and also understand the economics involve in it in India.

 Image Source: www.ibef.org

From the above image we can see the Market Size as well as the Market Penetration of different mediums available. What is also interesting to see in the projected graph of Sector Composition of FY22 is the change in share of Major Industry Segments. According to news published in The Economics Times, 2019 “Based on an analysis of responses from just 235 families, the industry body claimed that Indians residing in big cities are now spending less than half the time reading newspapers and watching television as compared to 3-4 years ago”.  This clearly shows that TV, Radio and Print media is shrinking and digital media is catching up.India has the world’s second-highest number of internet users after China, with around 570 million internet subscribers, growing at a rate of 13 per cent annually” – The Economic Times, 2019. What comes of a much surprise though, the number of internet users in India increased by 23% in FY19 and 35% FY20 as per IBEF, which is almost double for FY19 and more than double in FY20. So, we have 50% internet users of our population which is almost 627 million. A thing to note here is that almost 35% of Indian population lives in urban area. Thus, the digital platforms are slowly penetrating in rural India. So, it is very important to select the right message and the right medium to communicate with people.


Now it comes to ‘Price’. The most important element of pricing is it needs to sustain the business. It is a predominant factor for a product because pricing is related to sentiment of a customer. It also impacts almost every aspect of a business from finance to product’s positioning in the market. There are many strategies those businesses implement when it comes to price a product correctly. But the most basic things to be considered are:

  • Variable Cost
  • Fixed Cost
  • Profit

Note: If a person works in his /her own business then their salary falls under the variable cost part.

A product should be priced correctly for its targeted customers, neither too high nor too low. It reflects the ‘Transaction’ part of the CATT Funnel.


One might have a perfect product which satisfies the customers in every aspect but what is the advantage of such product that doesn’t reach the customers’ in time? The product won’t sell and the business doesn’t make any profit, which is the core motive of any business. When a company makes decisions regarding this ‘P’ of marketing mix, they try to determine where they should sell a product and how to deliver the product to the market. Place in marketing mix strategy ensures the availability of product to its intended consumer. There are mainly 3 aspects:

  • Right Place: As for example, FMCG products can be found in our next door store or even in a supermarket but bespoke products are sold through specialized stores.
  • Right Time: Winter wears come in the market before onset of winter and stays available throughout the season. If winter wears stays available in summer season it will attract very minimal customers.
  • Right Quantity: Generally people purchase one car at a time by comparing several models and different features. However when people go for purchasing grocery they buy products in volume and compare lesser factors.

Now a day’s products are not only sold in offline market like retail store and wholesale market neither it follows the traditional channel of distribution, but also it is being sold through online platforms like websites, online stores and ecommerce interfaces. All thanks to the exponential growth of internet users in our country. For the products sold over online platforms, Place simply means transportation of the product to the end consumer through a series of intermediaries.


Now let’s talk about one of the contenders of this discussion, the first ’P’ of marketing mix. It is the most important part of marketing mix. That’s because Product is like the Sun and the whole Marketing Universe is circulating around it. Every strategy, every calculation is made keeping the Product in mind. So, let’s see how a product is made.

To develop a product companies adopt certain methods and action, it includes all aspects of producing innovation, from thinking of a concept to delivering the product to customers. Here are the 7 fundamental aspects of product development.

  • Idea Development: It is basically brainstorming for new products and ways to make existing products more relevant.
  • Editing and Selection: During the selection process, the product development team determines which ideas have the most potential to do well in the market.
  • Prototype Creation: After selecting the correct idea, companies create a prototype or draft version of its proposed product. This prototype can be used to determine if the product functions as intended and appeals to your target audience.
  • Analysis: At this stage of product development, the company studies market research and evaluates the possible problems with the product.
  • Product Creation: After correcting upon the notes taken from the analysis into the prototype, the finished product can be created.
  • Market Testing: Before releasing the product to a wider audience, products are often released to a smaller market or focus group. The market testing phase includes evaluating customer feedback and the effectiveness of the product’s marketing.
  • Commercialization: The final stage of product development occurs when adjustments are made based on market testing and the product is released to the full market.

These strategies are vital because its uses market research to turn an idea into a profitable product or modify an existing product to keep it relevant throughout its lifecycle or simply adjust existing products and grow the business. Product is that thing which helps to grow a business by adding value to the customer. The product must deliver a minimum level of merit; otherwise even the best work on the other elements of the marketing mix won’t do any good.

 Now we are getting close to the conclusion.

The first ‘T’ in the CATT Funnel i.e. Trust could grow within the customers in every phase of Marketing Mix. For example, a person can trust on a product by getting attracted by an advertisement, by its attractive price, on recommendation of his next door shop or simply loving its features. Whatever the reason might be this Trust leads a person towards transaction.

 In one hand we have Marketing, it’s like a universe and everything falls under it. On the other hand we have the Product which fulfill and satisfy customers’ needs and wants. In my opinion every business runs on one principle keeping in mind “Customer is the king”. So, my vote goes to Product. Ultimately, a customer uses the product and not the marketing strategies. As the 4P’s are the pillars of Marketing likewise Product is the pillar for a business.

I don’t know if I had made any justice to this topic. So, you people kindly comment, what is more important for you ‘The Food’ or ‘The Hunger’?


Choose your path between Tradition Marketing and Digital Marketing with this blog & to know about Digital Marketing go through this article Why To Do Digital Marketing?

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