The 4 P’s of Marketing or Please stop calling it self-promotion


I’m allergic to the term “self-promotion.”

Many crafters refer to sharing-their-work as “self promotion” and I cringe every time. I bet you do to. Self-promotion sounds gross. In fact, just promoting yourself, telling everyone how great you are, is kinda gross. No one wants to be around the girl who can’t stop talking about how hot she is. (You know the girl.)

But it’s not just icky, calling it self-promotion is dangerous.

Because “promotion” is only one part of the job of sharing your work. And if “promotion” is the only way you’re thinking of marketing, you’re probably avoiding doing it at all. And that’s dangerous, because you’re probably avoiding all the other aspects of marketing, too.

Marketing, however, is the process of communicating with your people, about your product, your business and how it can help them.

Promotion is only (a small) part of the marketing equation.

It might help to know that traditional marketing (as defined in my past-life, MBA marketing classes), Promotion is just one of the 4 P’s of Marketing. In other words, it’s only one quarter, of all the marketing you do for your business.

The 4 P’s of Marketing is a framework for thinking about your marketing mix (all the things you do to communicate with your people). Inherent in the concept of a marketing mix is the belief that Promotion isn’t everything; that your focus should not only be on telling people about your work.

The other P’s:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place

Product – It all starts with what you’re selling – Is it something people want? If so, what about it do people want? Is that clear? Is it remarkable? Is there a new product you can add (or delete) from your line to reach a new market? (More on marketing with Product here.)

Price – You already know that pricing is not a benefit…but it is a tool for marketing. Not just special pricing (a sale or discount), but the overall pricing strategy: Do you have a range of prices? Do your prices appeal to one market over another? What does your price say about the quality of your product? (More on marketing with Price here.)

Place – Where your product is sold directly effects the market it reaches. Is your product where it’s people can find it? If you only have an online store, do you know your Right People shop online? When you pick a craft show, do you make sure your people will be there? How do you pick a shop to carry your goods? Where does news of your business show up? Is that really where your buyers are? (More on marketing with Place here.)

So you see, there’s lots of marketing to do that doesn’t involve promotion…marketing that will feel a lot less icky than “self-promotion.”

What Ps do you use in your marketing mix?

Is there one you want to explore?

Join us today for our last Marketing Madness #OMHG chat to talk about the 4 P’s of marketing & the end of icky self-promotion!


  1. Marisa says:

    Great post Tara – self-promotion is so icky! I like to think of it as sharing vs promoting – it feels better that way.

    I think your Price note is really important – having a range of prices & a range of products really opens up sales opportunities to a wider range of people. For example – postcards/art prints/original art for an artist – there you are tapping into three distinct price points – $2/$20/$200 – plus we don’t always have room for more art (sacrilege, I know), but who doesn’t need more stationery?! 😉

    • Tara Swiger says:

      Thanks, Marisa!

      And great point about Price – this is usually one of the first places I look when an artist says she isn’t selling a lot. Getting some more Products at other price points can really open up your options.

    • Tara Swiger says:

      Thanks, Jennie! Actually, I think People is far above all these other. If you don’t know WHO you want to reach, you won’t be able to think through the 4 Ps…each of the Ps has to be aimed at the Right People!

  2. I AM THE LAB says:

    Love the post. Perhaps the 5th P could be persistence. If a marketing strategy fails to produce the desired results after a reasonable period of time, we need to have the humility to regroup, reassess and re-strategize. Some of the greatest marketing campaigns began as a Plan B.

  3. Thanks for the great tips and all the link goodness, Tara! I think the P I really need to work on is that last one. Figuring out the right place to showcase my work to the right audience has been an ongoing struggle for me. Just having an Etsy shop wasn’t working, so I’m trying to branch out. It’s an explorative process 🙂

  4. Cindy Hoeppner says:

    tara, i’m with you sister! in fact, i’m more than allergic to the term self-promotion, i may be allergic to self-promotion. thanks for the great read! cindy

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