Page 4: The marketing mix: product and price
The 5 Ps
Traditionally the marketing mix the balance of elements needed for effective marketing is referred to as the 'four Ps'. These are Product, Price, Promotion and Place. Portakabin adds a fifth 'P' to this mix with 'Positioning'. This shows how the business intends to position itself to customers so that it is different from its competitors. It is closely linked to its Unique Selling Point (USP). Portakabin has positioned the brand at the top end of the market, offering high quality buildings and high levels of service. It gives customers added value in terms of confidence and peace of mind. This is supported by the Portakabin Customer Charter which promises buildings will be delivered on time and on budget.
This promise gives Portakabin a significant competitive edge over traditional-build suppliers. The Portakabin Hire Customer Charter has built in penalties of one week's free hire for every day that the project is late. The Portakabin Sales Customer Charter gives an additional 12 months product warranty free of charge if there is delay. Since the launch of its innovative warranty package in January 2004, Portakabin has sold over 2,000 buildings and only 0.17% of customers have made a claim against the warranties.
Portakabin assures product quality through a process called the '3 stage gate'. This is the planning, manufacturing and delivery of the solution. Its external accreditation process also demonstrates approval of its standards by an independent body.
An example of getting the product right can be seen in its Portakabin Decant School concept. The process of moving a school into new buildings is often a difficult and lengthy one. Many short-term buildings may be needed during the move. The Portakabin Decant School provides a total accommodation solution designed to enable a school to transfer with minimum disruption.
To understand what teachers and students needed, Portakabin referred to government recommendations for standards of space and light in schools.
The buildings it provided exceed government standards for space per pupil. A variety of other products and services such as access ramps and steps, security and fire alarms, air conditioning, interactive whiteboards and data cabling mean that Portakabin provides a 'one-stop-shop' for all the needs of a school. This makes the transition from old to new buildings quicker and minimises disturbance to students' learning.
The price of Portakabin buildings is set at a competitive level. However, this may be higher than rivals to reflect the better levels of building quality and service that are offered. High quality, support services and the Customer Charter mean that Portakabin can charge a premium price for its premium service.
Portakabin has moved away from its original focus of construction site accommodation (now only a small part of the business) to office, education and health environments. For example, it was able to replace the health centre facilities destroyed by floods in Cockermouth, Cumbria in 2009 in just 15 days. It provided 21 consulting rooms, patient waiting areas and ample office space. The new building offered a standard which, according to the clinical director 'exceeded expectations'.