The 4 Ps Of Marketing (2024)

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations.

The four Ps of marketing—product, price, place and promotion—serve as a framework for marketing success. Sometimes referred to as the marketing mix, the four Ps help guide businesses in the creation of winning business ideas that deliver what customers want, where and how they want it at a price that’s most appealing.

Building a solid marketing plan structured around the four Ps can help you increase awareness for your brand and its products or services, drive sales and achieve overall stronger bottom-line results.

What Are the Four Ps of Marketing?

The idea of a marketing mix was first popularized in the 1950s by Neil Bordon, a Professor of Advertising at Harvard. Drawing from Bordon’s work along with the work of other prominent marketing and business leaders, E. Jerome McCarthy introduced the four Ps of marketing in his book Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach.

You may recall from your Intro to Marketing college course that product, price, place and promotion are the four Ps of marketing. While the four Ps have been around for decades, the concept is just as relevant to businesses today as it was when the four Ps were first introduced.

The First P: Product

The first P in the four Ps of marketing is product. A product can come in a variety of forms, such as a physical product, digital product, service, event or experience. The product is the actual item you are selling; the features or attributes you include or build into your products can help you differentiate your offerings from your competitors.

There are many dimensions that you must consider when deciding which products to develop and sell. Does your product solve a problem? Or does the product fulfill consumers’ wants and desires? Why would someone want to buy it? Product quality, design, packaging, variety, adaptability, sustainability, safety and production must all be considered.

Your marketing plan should outline the key features of your product, what makes it unique and who your target audience is for that product. This will help ensure you meet the needs and desires of your ideal audience.

The Second P: Price

The second P in the four Ps of marketing is price. Naturally, you need to price your products in a way that allows you to operate profitably. However, pricing is far more complex than calculating the cost of goods and adding on an additional amount that will let you meet your desired profit margin. How you price a product will convey its relative value and quality.

Walmart uses low-cost pricing to attract a broad audience of value-driven shoppers, while Saks Fifth Avenue sustains much higher prices, which is common among luxury goods sellers who target wealthy buyers. If you decide to serve different types of customers, you’ll need to develop a customer segmentation strategy, which will include pricing strategies for each segment you serve.

There’s also a psychological factor in product pricing, which is why products are often priced at $9.99 rather than $10. Products with prices ending in .99 seem cheaper than those that end in zero, and hence more shoppers are drawn to the $9.99 price tag.

The Third P: Place

The third P in the four Ps of marketing is place, which refers to the channels or locations where you sell your products and services.

You may want to sell products via a brick-and-mortar store or at less permanent physical locations, such as special events, fairs, pop-ups or temporary markets. Or, you may prefer to list your products for sale via an e-commerce software—by either building your own e-commerce website or by selling through popular online marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon or Etsy.

Where you sell your products will influence how you manage product inventory and product transportation or shipping. Location also influences the relative size of your reachable market. Some businesses find they can optimize sales by offering goods and services via multiple outlets.

The Fourth P: Promotion

The fourth P in the four Ps of marketing is promotion, which is how you get the word out about your products and what tactics you use to convert prospects into buyers. Your promotion strategy may include advertising, public relations, social media marketing, content marketing, direct marketing and influencer marketing, as well as the discounts and special offers you extend to generate sales.

Even the best product in the world doesn’t stand a chance if you don’t have a strong promotion strategy behind it. While there are some promotional tactics that can be done on a shoestring budget—such as do-it-yourself blogging and social media—others can be costly. It’s important to factor anticipated promotional costs into your product pricing strategy.

Featured Partners

Advertisem*nt

1

Sprout Social

Pricing starting from

Standard $199/seat/month; Professional $299/seat/month; Advanced $399/seat/month *pricing is based on annual subscriptions

Free Option

30 day free trial (all plans)

Supported Platforms

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, TikTok, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, Yelp!, Glassdoor, Trip Advisor, Google My Business, and more

1

Sprout Social

The 4 Ps Of Marketing (1)

The 4 Ps Of Marketing (2)

Learn More

On Sprout Social's Website

Pricing starting from

Professional $99/month; Team $249/month *pricing based on annual subscriptions

Free Option

30 day free trial (all plans)

Supported Platforms

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, Threads (beta), Google Business Profile and more

2

Hootsuite

The 4 Ps Of Marketing (3)

The 4 Ps Of Marketing (4)

Learn More

On Hootsuite's Website

Examples of the Four Ps in Marketing

Understanding the four Ps is the first step in creating a strong marketing mix. Knowing how to execute the four Ps correctly is key to achieving success. Let’s look at examples of how different organizations use the four Ps in different ways.

Examples of Product

The music industry offers many examples of how related products are sold in different formats––from physical products to digital downloads to digital streaming to live events.

While compact discs—a physical product—are no longer the norm, they are still available in some brick-and-mortar locations as well as in online marketplaces. Vinyl albums are making a comeback among certain audiophiles, which is a reminder to consider your audience’s specific interests when designing your product.

The popularity of various product formats can change as new technologies emerge. There was a time when you needed an Apple iPod or similar device (i.e., “product”) to listen to music online. Now you can use just about any internet-enabled device to purchase music via digital downloads, or you can subscribe to popular subscription-based audio streaming sites such as Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music, which grant you access to millions of songs.

Live performances are another popular music product—just ask any Taylor Swift mega-fan about the magic of scoring a ticket to one of her sold-out concerts. Of course, when you attend a live event, you will find there is plenty of physical music merchandise to purchase—from T-shirts to pins to caps and hats to collectible programs.

Examples of Price

You can buy a watch for under $100 or spend $100,000 or more; both watches will tell you the time. The price a person is willing to pay for a watch says a lot about their means, interests, style and quality preferences and what they value in a timepiece.

Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Armani all sell high-priced clothes, jewelry and accessories. Yet, what these brands are actually selling is a luxurious lifestyle. The premium prices these luxury brands charge reflect quality and exclusivity; their target audience has the means to purchase the products and the desire to live a rich life.

Old Navy, meanwhile, targets budget-conscious shoppers with its everyday modest prices and regular promotional discounts. Dollar Tree is an example of a brand that appeals to lower-income consumers and those seeking extreme values. Dollar Tree, which has had to raise average product prices up from $1.00 to $1.25, has seen profits surge in recent years.

No one magic price range will produce exceptional results for all product lines. When pricing your product, you must consider not only the cost to produce the item but who your ideal buyer is and what they’re currently spending on the products they purchase.

Examples of Place

Today’s businesses have more options and flexibility in places to sell their goods and services. The best point-of-sale (POS) systems and credit card readers let you accept payments from nearly anywhere.

You used to need a brick-and-mortar building to open a restaurant, and now budding restaurateurs and bakers can sell their edible creations via food trucks, pop-up events or shared kitchens.

Artists and crafters can sell their goods via their own galleries or display their works at others’ galleries. Artists also sell art online via their own websites or popular online marketplaces such as Creative Market, Etsy, Amazon Handmade and Fine Art America. Art and craft fairs are growing more popular, as are festivals and pop-up markets that invite artisans to showcase their work.

Many businesses start by selling their products online or via a retail location and then expand to other outlets once sales grow. A multi-location strategy is often the best way to boost your product sales.

Examples of Promotion

If you want your business to be successful, you must find ways to promote your business effectively. Some promotional efforts—such as national paid advertising—require a relatively large promotional budget, which is feasible for mega-brands like McDonald’s, Amazon and Toyota, but can be difficult for smaller businesses.

Examples of promotions that work for small businesses include creating a business website where you offer discount coupons and promote current sales. You can also ask customers for their email addresses and use email marketing software for ongoing business promotion. If you have a brick-and-mortar business, consider placing attention-grabbing banners, flags or a blow-up character in front of your business to draw the attention of those passing by.

Featured Partners

Advertisem*nt

1

Constant Contact

AI Content Generator

Yes

Free Live Phone And Chat Support

Yes

Additional Features

Advanced Automation (Abandon Cart Reminders, etc.)

1

Constant Contact

The 4 Ps Of Marketing (5)

The 4 Ps Of Marketing (6)

Learn More

On Constant Contact's Website

2

Drip

Pricing

Starting at $39/month

Key features

Powerful email automation and segmentation, targeted onsite campaigns

Additional features

Industry leading deliverability, melt-your-face customer support

2

Drip

The 4 Ps Of Marketing (7)

The 4 Ps Of Marketing (8)

Learn More

On Drip's Website

3

Omnisend

24/7 expert support

Free for all customers

AI

AI email content generator

Features

Email marketing, SMS & Web Push Notifications

3

Omnisend

The 4 Ps Of Marketing (9)

The 4 Ps Of Marketing (10)

Learn More

On Omnisend's Website

4

Brevo

Pricing

Free; Unlimited contacts

Enterprise-level, customizable plans

Available

Marketing Automation

Yes

4

Brevo

The 4 Ps Of Marketing (11)

The 4 Ps Of Marketing (12)

Learn More

On Brevo's Website

Other types of promotions can work for a wide array of businesses, such as customer loyalty programs. Kohl’s loyalty program, called Kohl’s Rewards, gives members cash back each month based on their spending. Since Kohl’s requires you to submit your contact information to join the program, the company can use that information to regularly email you to tell you about current sales and new products.

How To Use the 4 Ps of Marketing

Think of the four Ps of marketing as your road map for introducing and launching successful products and services. Your marketing strategy should include extensive details on how you intend to approach each of the four Ps.

For example, when developing your product, consider what’s already available and what features you can embed in your product to serve a need or solve a problem better than any other available product. How will your product stand out in a crowded marketplace? Also, think about who your ideal audience is and what they value most.

When developing your pricing strategy, don’t just consider the price point where you make a sufficient margin. Be sure you understand your ideal customer’s sensitivity to pricing. Is this a luxury item? Then deliver the quality that appeals to high-end buyers at a price point that affirms luxury and exclusivity. Are you providing the best value on the market? Then use a value-based pricing model.

Placement is also key. Where does your target market already go to purchase similar products—online, in specialty retail stores, big-box stores, discount stores or elsewhere? It’s important to place your products where your ideal clients already shop, which may mean placing them in multiple sales channels.

Finally, give special attention to how you promote your products. Your promotion strategies must be compelling and give you maximum reach for your promotional dollars.

How and where you choose to promote your product needs to align with the type of customer you are pursuing. The promotional choices you’ll select for more traditional middle-aged suburbanites will be considerably different than those you’d use to appeal to members of Generation Z. Always make sure your advertising choices and messaging align with who you’re targeting.

What’s the Difference Between the Four Ps and the Seven Ps?

While the four Ps came first, you may have also heard of the seven Ps of marketing, which rose in popularity in the 70s and 80s. The seven Ps include the original four Ps plus people, process and physical evidence.

People

The fifth P refers to the people within your organization who work together to create an exceptional experience for your customers. You can differentiate your business from competitors by creating a customer-centric culture that consistently delivers a memorable, high-quality customer experience.

If you are a service-based business, it’s vital that you pay close attention to the people you hire to interact with your customers. Bad reviews on Google Reviews or Yelp can put you out of business.

Process

The sixth P, process, is how you get your product to the customer. Is it easy and seamless to purchase from you, or are there barriers that make the buying experience difficult or issues with your shipping or delivery system that negatively impact the experience?

For example, did you ship a product to an environmentally conscious customer via a styrofoam container—or did you use sustainable, eco-friendly shipping and packaging methods? Make sure the processes you use make sense for what you’re selling and who you’re selling to.

Physical Evidence

The seventh P, physical evidence, involves things that enhance or detract from the shopping or purchase experience. Physical evidence includes branding and packaging.

When a physical environment is involved—such as in a retail store, restaurant or service office—physical evidence includes the layout, ambiance and overall aesthetics of the physical location that contribute to the impression you make on prospects and customers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the seven Ps of marketing?

The seven Ps of marketing—sometimes referred to as the marketing mix—include product, place, price, promotion, people, physical evidence and process.

Which of the four Ps of marketing is the most important?

Many consider the product to be the most important of the four Ps of marketing. That being said, even excellent products can only be successful if a business strategically deploys all vital aspects of the marketing mix, including the remaining three Ps: place, promotion and price.

What are the marketing four Ps and four Cs?

The four Ps of marketing are product, place, price and promotion. In an article in Advertising Age, Bob Lauterborn introduced the four Cs, which he stated was a more customer-centric marketing model. The four Cs are consumer, cost, convenience and communication.

What is the purpose of the four Ps of marketing?

The purpose of the four Ps of marketing is to help businesses create a viable, complete strategy for selling goods and services. The four Ps are essential pillars for success that can help you drive better results when launching any product or service.

What’s the difference between the four Ps and the seven Ps of marketing?

The seven Ps include the original four Ps—product, price, place and promotion—plus people, process and physical evidence.

The 4 Ps Of Marketing (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Last Updated:

Views: 5552

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (59 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Birthday: 1993-07-01

Address: Suite 763 6272 Lang Bypass, New Xochitlport, VT 72704-3308

Phone: +22014484519944

Job: Banking Officer

Hobby: Sailing, Gaming, Basketball, Calligraphy, Mycology, Astronomy, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Rev. Leonie Wyman, I am a colorful, tasty, splendid, fair, witty, gorgeous, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.