What Are the 4 Ps of Marketing? The Marketing Mix Explained [Example]
If you’ve been a marketing professional for years now, learning about the four Ps of marketing might seem like a throwback to you.
However, for those of us who work in the industry but didn’t study marketing in college, it’s entirely possible you haven’t heard of the marketing mix.
Below, let’s learn about the four Ps of marketing and how they’re still relevant in today’s marketing landscape.
What are the 4 Ps of marketing?
The four Ps of marketing are product, price, place, and promotion. These are the key factors that are involved in marketing a product or service. You take the four Ps into account when creating strategies for marketing, promoting, advertising, and positioning your product or brand.
The four Ps are meant to help marketers consider everything about a product or service when they’re deciding how to market it for their business. Framing your marketing around the four Ps will help you learn what the competition is doing and what customers want from you.
How to Use the 4 Ps of Marketing
You can use the four Ps to answer questions about the product, price, place, and promotion of your product or service.
For example, you can ask yourself:
Product: How does your product meet your customer’s needs? What problem(s) does it solve? What unique value or features does it offer?
Price: What is the value of your product? What are my competitors charging?
Place: Where are customers looking for your product?
Promotion: How can you differentiate your product from competitors? Where can you reach your audience?
Always consider the needs and preferences of your target audience. Ultimately, your product, its price, its place of distribution, and its promotional strategies should appeal to your customers the most.
Thinking about your marketing in terms of the four Ps will help you strategize how to reach your customers. The 4 Ps of Marketing are also known as your marketing mix — more on that below.
What is the marketing mix?
The marketing mix is also known as the four Ps of marketing. It refers to the four key elements of a marketing strategy: product, price, place, and promotion. These elements guide the marketing initiatives, wording, and positioning for a product or brand.
To develop a marketing mix, you’ll need to think about how you can uniquely position your brand amongst the competition. The most important part of thinking about the marketing mix — or the four Ps of marketing — is to understand the customer, the competition, and your company. You’ll evaluate your product and how to promote it.
But getting started isn’t easy. That’s why we’ve created the ultimate collection of marketing mix templates you can use to visualize your marketing mix and share it with your employees or investors. Use the templates to organize your initiatives and activities by the right section.
Use the template to follow along with the 4 Ps of marketing below.
The 4 Ps of Marketing (Example)
1. The First P of Marketing: Product
When you think about your product, consider exactly what you’re selling. Is it a specific product? Or is it a service? Your product can be a physical product, an online app, or a service such as house cleaning. Really, anything that you’re selling is the product.
Then, think of your brand messaging, the services you offer, and even packaging. When you define your product, think about what problem your product solves for your customers. Consider how your product is different from competing products. What features are unique to your product?
It’s important to know your product intimately so you can market it.
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2. The Second P of Marketing: Price
When it comes to price, you have to consider how much you’re going to charge customers for your products or services. Of course, you need to make a profit.
When coming up with your pricing strategy, you also need to think about what competitors are charging for the same product or service and how much customers are willing to pay. You can also think about what discounts or offers you can use in your marketing.
When you decide on a price, you want to think about perception. Do you want to be known as a cost-effective option in your industry? Or perhaps you’re a luxury brand and the price is slightly higher than competition on the market. Keep in mind that pricing SaaS products is a little different than pricing physical products.
Either way, the language you use to market your product will be greatly impacted by the price of your product.
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3. The Third P of Marketing: Place
When it comes to place, this might mean the physical location of your company, but it could also be defined as anywhere you sell your product, which might be online.
The place is where you market and distribute your product.
Remember that not every place makes sense for every product. For example, if your target market is seniors, then it won’t make sense to market on TikTok. It’s important to choose the right places to market your product and meet your customers where they’re at.
Think about possible distribution channels and outlets you could use to sell your product. Be sure to take into account whether your business is B2B or B2C.
At this point, you’ll need to think about how to market your product on all the various channels that make sense for your company.
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4. The Fourth P of Marketing: Promotion
Promotion is the bread and butter of marketing. This is when you’ll think about how to publicize and advertise your product.
Product: iPhones, Macs, iPads, Apple Watch, AirPods, Software, and Services (i.e., Apple Music, Apple TV, iTunes, etc.).
Price: Apple products are often priced at the higher end of the market. The brand commands premium pricing due to its reputation for innovation, quality, and design.
Place: Consumers can purchase products online and in retail stores. Apple products are sold worldwide and have a significant global market presence.
Promotion: Apple places a strong emphasis on cultivating a dedicated and loyal consumer base. Their marketing campaigns reinforce the idea of being part of an “Apple ecosystem.” Once users buy one product — like an iPhone – they’re more likely to choose other Apple products like MacBooks, iPads, Apple Watches, and more. This ecosystem fosters a deep brand loyalty. This sense of loyalty is evident in their product launches, which are a must-see event in the tech industry.
Product: e.l.f. offers a comprehensive range of makeup and skincare products, brushes, and beauty tools.
Price: One of e.l.f.’s main value propositions is its affordability. Many of their products have a low price point, making the brand accessible to a wide range of consumers. Its lower price point sets it apart from other brands in the beauty space.
Place: e.l.f. products are widely available in drugstores and big-box retailers like Target and Walmart. It also has a a strong online presence, selling products directly through their website and other online retailers.
Promotion: As a challenger brand in the beauty space, e.l.f. seeks to establish itself as a recognizable and reliable option at the drugstore and beyond. The brand is proactive across social media, including TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, to engage with younger demographics. In addition, their campaigns often involve user-generated content to foster a sense of community with their audience.
Back to You
Even though marketing has changed since the four Ps were developed, the foundational elements of the industry haven’t. You can apply the concepts of the marketing mix to create winning marketing strategies that help you profitably launch and promote your company’s products.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.