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4 P's of marketing: How to achieve the perfect marketing mix

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2 февраля 2024 г.
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The 4 P’s of marketing are price, promotion, place, and product—the four key factors every marketer should use to guide their campaign strategy. Our guide covers the 4 P’s of marketing and gives a breakdown of each step involved.

Product, price, place, and promotion. According to the marketing mix theory, these 4 P's are the building blocks of any successful marketing campaign. While no strategy is a guaranteed path to skyrocketing sales, covering the four P's in your marketing campaigns can significantly increase your likelihood of success.

The 4 P's approach works for any industry, and can be applied to any business, from solopreneurs to enterprise organizations. In our guide, we'll cover what the 4 P’s of marketing are, then break down exactly how to incorporate them in your next marketing campaign.

What are the 4 P’s of marketing?

The 4 P's stand for product, price, place, and promotion, the four primary factors that marketers need to consider when designing a campaign strategy.

A marketing strategy should:

  • Communicate what the product will provide the customer

  • Demonstrate why the product's value fits its price

  • Appear in the places the company's target audience will encounter them

  • Use effective promotion strategies to reach potential customers

Keep these four objectives in mind as you craft your marketing strategy. The 4 P's should influence your product positioning, marketing channel selection, advertising decisions, promotional strategy, and copy choices throughout the campaign.

Free marketing project plan template

How do the 4 P’s work?

Knowing what the 4 P’s are isn't very helpful unless you also know how to implement them in your marketing strategy. Below, we'll break down each P to help you better understand what they are, why they're important to your marketing efforts, and how you can incorporate them into future campaigns.

The first P: Product

[inline illustration] The first P: Product (infographic)

In the marketing mix, "product" is shorthand for whatever it is that you're selling, whether it's a physical product or a service. A strong marketing campaign starts with a clear and detailed understanding of the product and how it appeals to the target customer.

For example, a car advertisement that only highlights details like what the car looks like and how much it costs isn't very compelling. Guided by a complete understanding of the product they're selling, a more skilled marketer might pitch an SUV crossover advertisement that emphasizes unique safety features in order to specifically target parents of small children. 

Example product questions

  • What problem is your product solving? Consider what challenges your target customers encounter and what impacts those challenges have.

  • Who is your target customer? Think about what type of person is most likely to find value in your product.

  • How does your product address your target customer’s needs? Home in on how specific features of your product address specific customer demands.

  • What does your product offer that competitors' products do not? Determine how your product solves customers' needs more quickly, effectively, or affordably than competing products.

Put yourself in your target customer's shoes to more thoroughly understand what your product has to offer. With a better understanding of the specific ways in which your product offers value to the customer, you'll be able to market that product more effectively.

The second P: Price

[inline illustration] The second P: Price (infographic)

The second P of marketing stands for “price.” This is how much you should charge for your product in order to make a profit. When creating your pricing strategy, a good place to start is by looking at your competitors. 

Checking how much your competitors charge gives you a good sense of how much potential customers are willing to pay for similar products. Combine that with the perceived value of your product—in other words, what you want your price to imply about your product. Are you a luxury, standard, or budget option?

You can use your marketing messaging to focus on these different price points. Don’t forget to also think about coupons, discounts, offers, and bundles that are popular in your marketplace.

Example price questions

  • What do competing products cost? This is a great starting point for market research and gauging your product’s price range.

  • How much are your customers willing to spend? Thinking about how much your potential customers are willing to spend will help give you a price cap.

  • Can your product have multiple price points? Looking at the potential to have several price points for different levels of subscriptions or products can open you up to a larger demographic.

  • What does your product cost to create? Understanding how much it will cost you to make a product or provide a service will help you determine your profit margins.

If you've priced your product correctly, you should be selling it at a cost that's affordable for your target customer and still brings in a profit.

Free marketing project plan template

The third P: Place

[inline illustration] The third P: Place (infographic)

The third P of marketing stands for “place.” This encompasses where you are in relation to where your customer is, as well as where you need to place your advertising in order to reach your target audience.

It doesn't take a master strategist to know that a physical product or service needs to be available where potential customers live, shop, and work. However, place will impact your marketing strategy, too.

If you operate a physical store, it's unlikely that customers will come from far away to buy your product. Generalized marketing methods will always be effective, but you may get a greater return on investments in local SEO, advertising in town newspapers, and co-sponsoring community events.

The same principle applies to locating your target audience online. For example, if you're targeting Gen Z social media influencers, you'll probably be wasting valuable budget by advertising on platforms that cater to older audiences like Facebook or LinkedIn.

Example place questions

  • Where does your target customer purchase similar products? Think about whether your potential buyers will purchase your product in a store, conference, online, etc., in order to determine the best place to sell your product.

  • Where is your customer located? Knowing where your customer lives or spends their time shopping is an important aspect of developing a marketing strategy.

  • Are you business or consumer-focused? Deciding whether you are selling directly to individuals or businesses will help you determine where to sell your new product.

  • Where are your competitors selling their products or services? Use your successful competitors as a guide on where to sell your products. They are great indicators of which place(s) will be most successful.

The fourth P: Promotion

[inline illustration] The fourth P: Promotion (infographic)

The last P of marketing stands for “promotion.” If product is what you're selling, price is how much you're selling it for, and place is where you're selling it, then promotion is how you're promoting the sale. 

In designing your promotion strategy, think through how you want your messaging to be received. Is your brand fun and clever, upscale and luxurious, or serious and intellectual? Nail down your brand voice and then keep it consistent across all of your marketing.

It's also important to determine what messages will perform well on different platforms. A multiple-paragraph post will be ignored on Facebook or Instagram, but might make an excellent SEO opportunity for your blog. You might be targeting audiences that use both LinkedIn and TikTok, and you may even be promoting the same message across channels, but you'll need to tailor the format of your content to match each platform.

Example promotion questions

  • Who is your target audience? Understand who you're speaking to so you can decide what voice and tone will resonate the most.

  • How do you want your brand to be perceived? Think about what brand personality makes sense for your product and industry.

  • What distribution channels does our target audience use to consume information? Don't sabotage your message by promoting it in the wrong place.

  • How are competitors promoting their products? Using your competitors as your guinea pigs for promotion experiments is a great way to find out what works and learn from their mistakes.

  • Can you capitalize on seasonality? If your target audience's behavior changes drastically from summer to winter, create different marketing strategies for different times of the year.

Read: Level up your marketing with a perceptual map (with template)

4 P’s vs. 7 P’s of marketing: What’s the difference?

The 4 P's first appeared in a book called Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach that was published in 1960. Though the 4 P's are still just as applicable today, the original marketing mix didn't account for modern factors like the specific challenges of online marketing or the massive variety of products available today. 

That's why some marketers like to use an expanded list that contains an additional three P's: people, physical evidence, and process.

The 7 P's of marketing

The 7 P's of marketing include the original four (product, price, place, and promotion) plus three people, physical evidence, and process.

  • People represent a company’s internal team and staff members that provide a service or sell the product. Impressing potential clients with great customer service is important because many people can’t separate their feelings toward a  product from their buying experience.

  • Physical evidence is "proof" that the claims and statements you're making in your marketing and advertising materials are true. This proof can include customer reviews, case studies, and testimonials that show your target audience that your existing customers are satisfied with your product.

  • Process pertains to the transportation and delivery of your product. Word-of-mouth is one of the most effective forms of advertising there is, so investments in safe and speedy delivery, pleasant purchasing interactions, and effective customer support are really investments in marketing.

Use the 4 P's to start your marketing campaigns on the right foot

The 4 P's aren't something you can implement as an afterthought. To utilize the 4 P's effectively, incorporate them into every step of your marketing campaign. 

From your initial organizing stages all the way through to campaign launch, the presence of the 4 P's should be evident in your marketing strategy every step of the way.

Free marketing project plan template

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