The 4 P’s of Marketing – The Marketing Mix strategies

The term “marketing mix” was coined in the early 1950s by Neil Borden in his American Marketing Association presidential address. This is one of the preliminary knowledge every marketer must have and is considered to be the basics of every marketing theory, which emerged henceforth.

The basic major marketing management decisions can be classified in one of the following four categories, namely Product, Price, Place (distribution) and Promotion.

Product: It is the tangible object or an intangible service that is getting marketed through the program. Tangible products may be items like consumer goods (Toothpaste, Soaps, Shampoos) or consumer durables (Watches, IPods). Intangible products are service based like the tourism industry and information technology based services or codes-based products like cellphone load and credits. Product design which leads to the product attributes is the most important factor. However packaging also needs to be taken into consideration while deciding this factor. Every product is subject to a life-cycle including a growth phase followed by an eventual period of decline as the product approaches market saturation. To retain its competitiveness in the market, continuous product extensions though innovation and thus differentiation is required and is one of the strategies to differentiate a product from its competitors.

Price: The price is the simply amount a customer pays for the product. If the price outweigh the perceived benefits for an individual, the perceived value of the offering will be low and it will be unlikely to be adopted, but if the benefits are perceived as greater than their costs, chances of trial and adoption of the product is much greater.

Place: Place represents the location where a product can be purchased. It is often referred to as the distribution channel. This may include any physical store (supermarket, departmental stores) as well as virtual stores (e-markets and e-malls) on the Internet. This is crucial as this provides the place utility to the consumer, which often becomes a deciding factor for the purchase of many products across multiple product categories.

Promotion: This represents all of the communications that a marketer may use in the marketplace to increase awareness about the product and its benefits to the target segment. Promotion has four distinct elements: advertising, public relations, personal selling and sales promotion. Advertising may include using specialty packaging to showcase products, utilizing promotional products for your company, or online ads. A certain amount of crossover occurs when promotion uses the four principal elements together (e.g in film promotion). Sales staff often play a major role in promotion of a product.

So how does a marketer strategize to attain success in a marketing program, using these 4 P’s?

Offering specificity introduces the contextual customization of what needs to be done to address the questions raised in each of these 4 Ps of Marketing. What is it that the marketer is trying to provide value, through each of the “disguised value proposition” to the end consumer. In there very essence, the 4 Ps of marketing is actually a framework that allows the marketer to structure the value proposition of an existing product (or a new product at the time of launch) so as to garner the highest mindshare by distinctly structuring the same. However, that is easier said that done and many marketers fumble when it comes to playing with the real life nuances and bringing out a crisp value proposition.

Do let us know if you liked our article or if you have any questions.

Have you read our article on the 4 Cs of Marketing Mix?

Also did you read our article on the 7 P’s of Services Marketing?

These articles are highly popular posts in our educative blog.

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Arpan Kar

Professor at IIT / IIM
Prof. Kar (PhD) is a faculty member of the Information Systems & Management area in Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, one of the top universities globally. He has extensive experience in teaching, training, consultancy and research. He has over 35 high impact publications. Prior to joining academia, he has rich experience in Cognizant Business Consulting and IBM Research Laboratory. He is the Editor of Business Fundas.
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