Marketing Mix - The 4 Ps

 Introduction to Marketing Mix

"Marketing Mix" is a general phrase used to describe the different types of choices that organizations need to do throughout the process of bringing a product or service to the market. The 4PS are the most Known to define the marketing mix and was first expressed in 1960 by EJ McCarthy in his book, "Basic Marketing - A Managerial Approach."

What are the 4 Ps?

The four Ps are key factors involved in the marketing of a product or service. They are product, price, place, and promotion. Often referred to as "Marketing Mix", the four Ps are limited by internal and external factors in the overall business environment, and they interact significantly with each other.

The 4Ps of Marketing is a model to improve your "Mix Marketing" components - in the way you take new products or services to the market. It helps you determine your marketing options in terms of price, product, promotion, and place so that your offer meets certain customer needs or requests.

In short, the 4 Ps means putting the right product in the right place, at the right price, and the right time.

The 4Ps are:

  • Product (or Service).
  • Place.
  • Price.
  • Promotion.
To understand the 4Ps, it is a good way to know the questions that you need to ask to define your marketing mix. Here are some questions that will help you understand and determine each of the four elements:

Product (or Service): 

  • What does the customer want from the product/service? What needs does it satisfy?
  • What features does it have to meet these needs?
    • Are there any features you've missed out?
    • Are you including costly features that the customer won't actually use?
  • How and where will the customer use it?
  • What does it look like? How will customers experience it?
  • What size(s), color(s), and so on, should it be?
  • What is it to be called?
  • How is it branded?
  • How is it differentiated versus your competitors?
  • What is the most it can cost to provide and still be sold sufficiently profitably? (See also Price, below.)


  • Where do buyers look for your product or service?
  • If they look in a store, what kind? A specialist boutique or in a supermarket, or both? Or online? Or direct, via a catalog?
  • How can you access the right distribution channels?
  • Do you need to use a sales force? Or attend trade fairs? Or make online submissions? Or send samples to catalog companies?
  • What do your competitors do, and how can you learn from that and/or differentiate?


  • What is the value of the product or service to the buyer?
  • Are there established price points for products or services in this area?
  • Is the customer price sensitive? Will a small decrease in price gain you extra market share? Or will a small increase be indiscernible, and so gain you extra profit margin?
  • What discounts should be offered to trade customers, or to other specific segments of your market?
  • How will your price compare with your competitors?


  • Where and when can you get your marketing messages across to your target market?
  • Will you reach your audience by advertising online, in the press, on TV, on radio, or on billboards? By using direct marketing mailshots? Through PR? On the internet?
  • When is the best time to promote? Is there seasonality in the market? Are there any wider environmental issues that suggest or dictate the timing of your market launch or subsequent promotions?
  • How do your competitors do their promotions? And how does that influence your choice of promotional activity?

How the Four Ps Work


Product refers to a good or service Offered by businesses to customers. Ideally, a product should fulfill an existing demand. Or a product may be so compelling that customers believe they need to have it and it creates a new demand. To be successful, marketers must understand the life cycle of a product, and business executives need to have a plan for dealing with products at every stage of their life cycle. The type of product also partially tell how much companies can charge for it, where they should place it, and how they should promote it in the marketplace.

A lot of successful products have been pioneers in their category. For example, Apple was the first to create a touchscreen smartphone that could play music, browse the Internet, and make phone calls. And as of November 1, 2018, total sales of the iPhone equaled $2.2 billion. Apple revealed that it had sold its one billionth iOS device on November 22, 2014. And in 2018, the company announced they were approaching selling their two billionth iOS device.


Price is what customers pay for a product. The marketing team must connect the prices to the products perceived value, but they also have to consider the supply costs, seasonal discounts, and competitors prices. In some cases, company executives can raise prices to provide a luxurious appearance to the product. Or, they can reduce prices so that more consumers can try the product.

Marketers also need to determine when and if the discount is appropriate. Discounts can sometimes attract more customers, but can also give negative impressions that the products are less exclusive or less luxurious compared to when it was higher priced.


When a business makes a decision regarding place, they are trying to determine where they should sell a product and how to deliver it to the market. The goal of company executives is always to get their products in front of the right consumers.

In some cases, this may refer to placing a product in certain stores or on a specific store's display. Also, placement may refer to the act of including a product on television shows, in films, or on web pages in order to garner attention for the product.


Promotion includes advertising, public relations, and promotional strategies. The aim of promoting a product is to reveal to customers why they need it and why they have to pay a certain price for it.

Marketers tend to tie promotion and placement elements together so they can reach their targeted audience. For example, In the digital era, the "place" and "promotion" factors are as much online as they are offline. Specifically, where a product appears on a company's web page or social media, as well as which types of search functions trigger corresponding, targeted ads for the product.

Using the 4Ps

The 4Ps can be used to help you take a new of existing offer to the market. Whether you are considering a new or existing offer, follow the steps below to help you to define and improve your marketing mix.

  1. Start by identifying the product or service that you want to analyze.
  2. Now go through and answer the 4Ps questions – as defined in detail above.
  3. Try asking "why" and "what if" questions too, to challenge your offer. For example, ask why your target audience needs a particular feature. What if you drop your price by 5 percent? What if you offer more colors? Why sell through wholesalers rather than direct channels? What if you improve PR rather than rely on online advertising?
  4. Once you have a well-defined marketing mix, try "testing" the overall offer from the customer's perspective, by asking customer focused questions:
    1. Does it meet their needs? (Product.)
    2. Will they find it where they shop? (Place.)
    3. Will they consider that it's priced favorably? (Price.)
    4. And will the marketing communications reach them? (Promotion.)
  5. Keep on asking questions and making changes to your mix until you are satisfied that you have optimized your marketing mix, given the information and facts and figures you have available.
  6. Review your marketing mix regularly, as some elements will need to change as the product or service and its market grow, mature and adapt in an ever-changing competitive environment.


The marketing mix helps you define the marketing elements for successfully positioning your market offer.

One of the best-known models is the 4Ps of Marketing, which helps you define your marketing options in terms of product, place, price, and promotion. Use the model when you are planning a new venture, or evaluating an existing offer, to optimize the impact with your target market.

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