4 Ps of marketing

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Marketing is the engine of business. An important place in this is “marketing mix” – a concept combining leading strategies for a successful project. A synergy of several basic principles achieves the best result. The 4 Ps concept confirms this rule.

The purpose of the 4 Ps marketing model, or marketing mix, is to control key aspects. And as a result, get a high-quality selling product that will be successful in the market. These four aspects – product, price, place, and promotion – are the marketing entry points for business growth. Therefore, they should be taken into account when developing and releasing a product/service to the market, as they greatly affect marketing productivity.

In his book “Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach,” the 4 Ps model was described by marketing expert E. Jerome McCarthy back in 1960. The author based it on a marketing mix invented by academician Neil H. Borden in the late 1940s. This is how the outdated functional marketing school was replaced with a more progressive one – management.

Over time, changes in marketing have added new Ps to the list. Nowadays, it sometimes reaches the 12 Ps. The quantity and components can be adjusted depending on the approach of each specialist, as well as the field of application. The most popular version is the 7 Ps. This model has a slightly different basis – understanding the difference between services and goods requires different techniques. The classic 4 Ps was supplemented with three more items – people, processes, and physical evidence.

The 4 Ps has also evolved into a digital marketing mix. The principles are the same, but the goals are achieved with the help of digital technologies.

What Are the 4 Ps of Marketing?

Let’s take a look at what the traditional 4 Ps marketing model is. The four main factors involved in marketing and interacting with each other are:

  • Product – a product or service that meets the customer’s demand.
  • Price – the cost that the client pays.
  • Place – where the product is sold and, in some cases, where it is advertised.
  • Promotion – advertising, public relations, and advertising strategies.

A careful analysis of these four marketing pillars, including those in the online marketing mix category, will lead to positive results. As a result, your product or service will be in demand, and the price will remain competitive.

The 4 Ps of Marketing: Product

By the word “product,” we can mean a tangible product or service. Modern examples include:

  • McDonald’s is an establishment for the preparation, sale, and delivery of fast food.
  • Amazon is a marketplace.

Both products, although different, respond to the needs of consumers and customers. Therefore, the main task is to determine the following aspects of the first of the 4 Ps – Product:

  • What requests and needs should it meet?
  • What makes your product unique and different from your competitors?
  • What do potential customers want from your product?
  • Where will the buyer use it?
  • Does it contain unnecessary, expensive items or features?

Who would think to ask themselves so many questions during product development? But this is only a part of the marketing research that a company can conduct to optimize a product before going to market. The quality and feasibility of a product increase its value. And here comes the second part of the 4 Ps.

4 Ps of Marketing: Price

The cost a consumer pays includes more than the final price. At the stage of determining the cost of a product, you need to take into account the following points:

  • What are the costs of production or organization?
  • How much does it cost to ship to the point of sale?
  • What is the average market value of the product, and what are the main competitors’ prices?
  • What pricing structure makes sense in your niche for your business?
  • When is it appropriate, and when is it inappropriate to offer discounts or price increases?

All this will help to avoid mistakes that can destroy a business. An example of poor pricing can be traced to the work of Turing Pharmaceuticals. In 2015, the pharmaceutical company acquired the rights to the infectious disease drug Daraprim and immediately raised the price from $ 13.50 to $ 750 per tablet. This caused a flurry of public criticism, and the company’s reputation suffered.

This example is a good example of how a rash decision can lead to disastrous results. People are not ready to accept price increases, even on a small scale. But on the other hand, consumers also treat low-cost goods and services badly, which demeans the product.

4 Ps of Marketing: Place

The next aspect of the 4 Ps is geographic location. And here it is worth asking the following questions regarding the geolocation of your product:

  • Are there points of sale located at the target audience’s location?
  • Is this place accessible to your buyers or clients?
  • Where are your competitors located?
  • Where are your customers used to purchasing the product?

The location may imply other aspects of the application as well. One of them is the location inside the store, on the actual shelves. For example, P&G requires its products to be prioritized at eye level.

Another more modern meaning of the marketing model is Place – the location of web marketing materials to attract customers. This is where the principles of the Digital Marketing Mix work. Namely:

  • Where do you advertise – do your potential customers visit these places?
  • What are the neighbors of your advertised products within the webpage?

Let’s give a simple and clear example of the unsuccessful use of the 4 Ps principle. An ad for Red Stripe beer was placed near a news column with a message about a teenager caught drunk driving. This was done unintentionally, but the readers did not know about it – the advertisement reflected badly on the attitude of buyers towards the product.

When posting content on the Internet, we conclude that carefully think over all the details.

4 Ps of Marketing: Promotion

In addition to the methods of advertising promotion, the Promotion item also covers the advertising budget. Its main goal is to spread information about the product and attract new customers. To analyze and make decisions, you will need to ask yourself several questions:

  • What audience do you need to attract?
  • Which methods will be successful for a specific target audience?
  • Which advertising channels are the most profitable for the company?
  • What methods and resources do competitors use, and how much money do they spend on advertising?

Think of the Absolut brand – it went through difficult times in the eighties. Of course, 10,000 boxes a year is not the best indicator. But by 2000, the company had boosted sales to 4.5 million boxes, thanks largely to its iconic advertising campaign. The brand launched a series of surreal images in the media: a bottle with a halo, a bottle-stone, or a bottle-outline of a ski slope. The result exceeded expectations, and the campaign made it into advertising textbooks.

A well-thought-out marketing strategy gives you more control over brand communication with consumers.


The four marketing principles only fully fulfill their roles when they interact with each other at all stages. Having correctly determined what, in what places, and at what price to sell/provide and what advertising strategies to use, the business will be on the path to success. And although current trends are encouraging to add new items to the 4 Ps, do not ignore the simplest and most traditional factors, as they are the basis for further action.

Andrew Chornyy - 001
Article by:
CEO Andrew Chornyy

CEO Plerdy — expert in SEO&CRO with over 14 years of experience.

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