The 4 P’s of marketing
Definition and guide to the marketing mix
For anyone beginning (or refreshing) their education in digital marketing, the “marketing mix” model is one of the core concepts to understand. A marketing mix is often defined using the four P’s of marketing (product, price, place, and promotion) or expanded to seven P’s (adding people, process, and physical evidence). This marketing strategy is used by businesses as a checklist or a set of variables and factors for marketers to consider to help reach the right customers, maximize profit, improve marketing efficiency, and more.
What is a marketing mix?
A marketing mix is a collection of factors or elements that a business can control to help inform customers about a product or service. In 1948, Harvard University marketing professor James Culliton first introduced the concept to business executives as a creative mixture of ingredients. Over the course of the next few decades, Culliton’s colleague Neil Borden continued to refine this to develop the idea of the “marketing mix” as a list of “forces which govern the mixing of marketing elements.” Using this marketing mix model, businesses can work to define their marketing objectives and make strategic decisions to reach the right customers with the right messaging.
What are the 4 P’s of marketing?
In his 1960 book, Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach, E. Jerome McCarthy further distilled the “marketing mix” into the four P’s of marketing, writing that “a marketing mix is developed next out of four ingredients, called the four P’s: product, place (that is, channels and institutions), promotion, and price.”
So, let’s dig even further into the four P’s of marketing:
Within the four P’s of marketing, this is defined as the goods or service that the business offers. In this stage, businesses focus on decisions to find the right products or services to reach relevant audiences. Here, businesses can take into account the value of the product or service, the customers who need it, and the customer journey. Learn more about product marketing.
After businesses have a detailed understanding of the product or service they are offering, they must decide on the price they will charge. Based on the real and perceived value of the product or service, businesses must charge the right amount that maximizes the sales and profit. Businesses need to review consumers’ expectations, competitor pricing, discounts, and revenue.
This category involves where, when, and how products will be offered and sold to customers. At this stage, businesses need to consider, for example, if their products or services would be sold online or in a brick-and-mortar store and how they would be displayed. Businesses also need to think about distribution, inventory, supply chain, or any other factors that may involve informing or providing customers access to the product or service.
The purpose of promotion is for businesses to determine how they will inform customers about their products or services. This involves everything from advertising, public relations, social media, discovery bar optimization, email, video marketing, audio marketing, and any other means through which the business spreads awareness about their products or services.
The 7 P’s of marketing
What are the 7 P’s of marketing?
In more recent years, some scholars have expanded the model of the marketing mix to include seven P’s of marketing. This concept adds people, process, and physical evidence to the original four P’s. The seven P’s were developed to help businesses create a successful marketing mix that better catered to the different strategies needed for products and services.
Within this expanded model, people refers to any employees who interact with customers.
The process is the mechanism upon which the business runs—including logistics, delivery, checkout, performance, operations, and more.
Finally, physical evidence is the quality of the experience customers have with a business. This includes the facilities the business provides (such as furniture, equipment, surroundings) or anything that can reassure the customers that the business is providing value (like online reviews, testimonials, case studies, and more).
Using the 4 P’s of marketing in a marketing strategy
A brand’s marketing strategy is a long-term plan for reaching consumers. A successful marketing strategy encompasses products and pricing offered, as well as brand marketing and the promotion of products. Your brand’s marketing strategy should cover everything from advertising and raising brand awareness, all the way to purchases and transforming customers into repeat visitors.
A marketing strategy will be an invaluable resource internally as you continue to engage new customers, and it could also be adapted into a pitch deck or presentation to showcase your brand to external business customers. The four P’s of marketing provide a framework for businesses to craft a solid marketing strategy. By defining the product, price, place, and promotion, businesses can outline the launch of a new product or service and ensure they’ve considered the essential elements of the marketing mix.