Health food products and dietary supplements have become a multi-billion dollar business. At the core of each successful product is a skillfully implemented marketing plan that addresses the "Four P's" -- product, price, placement and promotion. The marketing plan contains the primary objectives that the campaign must achieve to bring the product to market, raise awareness of the product and gain a foothold in a highly competitive market.

Product Differentiation

With so many different health supplement products on store shelves, customers often have a difficult time distinguishing the benefits and efficacy of one product from another. The health supplement manufacturer's marketing plan must differentiate its offering from those already in the marketplace, with the objective of moving the product to the forefront of consumer awareness. Showing how the product is more beneficial, has better ingredients or delivers faster results than the competitor's similar product is the target marketing message. For instance, the product can include different types of protein that can enhance muscle growth and recovery.

Price Level

Health supplement products can vary widely in price. Price is also a major consideration when a customer makes a purchasing decision. Some customers may go for the least expensive product available, while others may equate high price with high quality. Price considerations will drive the marketing plan. Price influences how consumers will view the product as well as how much of a profit margin the manufacturer can expect from a sale. Customers can compare the prices on energy drinks with similar ingredients and factor the prices into their decisions.

Placement Options

Product placement options will shape the location and flavor of your customer approach. Health supplement manufacturers must consider if they want their products available in outlets geared toward a niche audience, such as specialty health-food outlets and fitness centers, or in retail outlets with a wider reach, such as nationwide drug stores and grocery stores. The niche-audience approach carries a level of prestige -- and possible price flexibility -- while nationwide retail outlets provide a higher sales volume. A situational awareness of positioning in the marketplace can help your company reap the benefits of placement strategy.

Promotion Channels

A major objective of the marketing plan is the development of your promotion channel strategy. Promotion channels include traditional media, such as glossy magazine ads or radio and TV commercials, online media, including web sites and social media, and on-site promotions. Health supplement manufacturers can use a blend of all of these channels, with ads in bodybuilding magazines, commercials during health-focused programs and in-store appearances at gyms and health food stores. The marketing plan can determine if an in-store appearance to promote a new vitamin supplement would be as effective as a TV commercial.