The 4 Ps of Marketing: What They Are and How to Use Them (2023)



The 4 Ps of Marketing: What They Are and How to Use Them

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Learn what the 4 Ps are and how they can help you on your next marketing endeavor.

The 4 Ps of Marketing: What They Are and How to Use Them (1)

The four Ps are a “marketing mix” comprised of four key elements—product, price, place, and promotion—used when marketing a product or service. Typically, businesses consider the four Ps when creating marketing plans and strategies to effectively market to their target audience.

Although there are many other “marketing mixes,” the four Ps are the most common and foundational to creating a successful marketing plan. In this article, you will learn more about their purpose, history and find a detailed breakdown of the four Ps.

What are the 4Ps of marketing? (Marketing mix explained)

The four Ps are product, price, place, and promotion. They are an example of a “marketing mix,” or the combined tools and methodologies used by marketers to achieve their marketing objectives.

The 4 Ps were first formally conceptualized in 1960 by E. Jerome McCarthy in the highly influential text, Basic Marketing, A Managerial Approach [1]. There, McCarthy noted that while the text of the book was “similar to that found in the traditional texts, the approach is not.”

McCarthy’s novel approach was influenced by the still-recent “marketing mix” concept, which Harvard Business School professor Neil. H. Borden popularized in the 1950s. In fact, Borden himself had been influenced by a 1948 study written by James Culliton, in which the author equated business executives to “artists” or “mixer[s] of ingredients” [2]. Rather than using the same approach for every situation, then, Culliton and Borden recognized that successful executives instead mixed different methods depending on variable market forces.

McCarthy streamlined this concept into the four Ps—product, place, price, and promotion—to help marketers design plans that fit the dynamic social and political realities of their time and target market. In effect, the purpose of the four Ps remains the same today as when McCarthy first published his book: “developing the ‘right’ product and making it available at the ‘right’ place with the ‘right’ promotion and at the ‘right’ price, to satisfy target consumers and still meet the objectives of the business” [3].

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The four Ps

The four Ps form a dynamic relationship with one another. Rather than one taking priority over the other, each is considered equally important in crafting a strategic marketing plan.


The product is the good or service being marketed to the target audience.

Generally, successful products fill a need not currently being met in the marketplace or provide a novel customer experience that creates demand. For example, the original iPhone filled a need in the market for a simplified device that paired a phone with an iPod, and the chia pet provided a humorous experience for consumers that was utterly unique.

As you are working on your product, it is essential to consider your target audience and their unique needs. Some questions to consider when working on a product include:

  • What is your product?

  • What does your product do? Does the product meet an unfilled need or provide a novel experience?

  • Who is your product’s target audience?

  • How is your product different from what others offer?

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Price is the cost of a product or service.

When marketing a product or service, it is important to pick a price that is simultaneously accessible to the target market and meets a business’s goals. Pricing can have a significant impact on the overall success of a product. For example, if you price your product too high for your targeted audience, then very few of them will likely purchase it. Similarly, if you price your product too low, then some might pass it up simply because they are concerned it might be of inferior quality and cut into your potential profit margins.

To identify a successful price, you will want to thoroughly understand your target audience and their willingness to pay for your product. Some questions you might ask yourself as you are considering your product’s price include:

  • What is the price range of your product’s competitors?

  • What is the price range of your target audience?

  • What price is too high for your audience? What price is too low?

  • What price best fits your target market?


Place is where you sell your product and the distribution channels you use to get it to your customer.

Much like price, finding the right place to market and sell your product is a key factor in reaching your target audience. If you put your product in a place that your target customer doesn’t visit—whether on or offline— then you will likely not meet your sales target. The right place, meanwhile, can help you connect with your target audience and set you up for success.

For example, imagine you are selling an athletic shoe you designed. Your target market is athletes in their early twenties to late thirties, so you decide to market your product in sports publications and sell it at specialty athletics stores. By focusing on sports stores over shoe stores in general, you are targeting your efforts to a specific place that best fits your marketing mix.

To decide the best place to market and sell your product, you should consider researching the physical or digital places that your target audience shops and consumes information. Some questions to consider include:

  • Where will you sell your product?

  • Where does your target audience shop?

  • What distribution channels are best to reach your target market?


Promotion is how you advertise your product or service. Through promotion, you will get the word out about your product with an effective marketing campaign that resonates with your target audience.

There are many different ways to promote your product. Some traditional methods include word of mouth, print advertisements, and television commercials. In the digital age, though, there are even more marketing channels that you can use to promote your product, such as content marketing, email marketing, and social media marketing.

Some questions to consider as you are working on your product promotion include:

  • What is the best time to reach your target audience?

  • What marketing channels are most effective for your target audience?

  • What advertising approaches are most persuasive to your target audience?

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Other marketing mixes

The four Ps aren’t the only marketing mix used today. Some other modern marketing mixes include the five Ps, the seven Ps, and the 5 Cs. Although each of these reflects certain aspects of the four Ps, they also each possess some unique elements that alter their emphasis on the marketing process.

The five Ps

The five Ps are product, price, place, promotion, and people.

Today, many marketers use the five Ps over the four Ps because it centers the experiences of customers and staff in the marketing process. Typical considerations include how a customer behaves, their experience with the product, and their overall satisfaction with the business.

The seven Ps

The seven Ps are product, price, place, promotion, people, processes, and physical evidence.

The seven Ps are a further elaboration of the five Ps, adding considerations of the processes that define the customer experience and the physical evidence that the target market needs to see to become customers. While processes might involve the specific customer service processes that define a product, physical evidence can be websites or store displays that help the target market imagine themselves using the product.

The five Cs

The five Cs are customer, company, competition, collaborators, and climate.

In some respects the five Cs reflect many of the same concerns of the four and five Ps, but with added emphasis on external factors, such as possible outside collaborations and competitive research.

Furthermore, while “climate” refers to the social, political, and economic context surrounding the market, “customer” refers to the target market and customer experience. “Company,” meanwhile, refers to the place of the company and their available resources in the marketing process.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

All of the 4 Ps—product, price, place, and promotion—are important components of your marketing strategy. They work most effectively when marketers use them in conjunction with one another. You may find yourself focusing on one or another at different phases of business development. For example, you might focus on product and price at earlier stages, while place and promotion might become priorities at a later stage when you’re preparing to introduce the product to the market.‎

Although the 4 Ps of marketing has been around since the 1960s, the concept is still considered useful, even as marketing rapidly evolves and becomes increasingly digitized. You can think of the 4 Ps as comprising the foundation to developing effective marketing strategies. At the same time, it’s a good idea to use some of the other models—the 5 Ps (product, price, place, promotion, and people) or the 5 Cs (customer, company, competition, collaborators, and climate)—to build a more thorough approach to marketing.‎

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  • 10 In-Demands Jobs You Can Get With a Business Degree (2022)

Article sources

1. Oxford Reference. “E Jerome McCarthy,” Accessed July 29, 2022.

2. Guillaum Nicaise. “The Concept of the Marketing Mix,” Accessed July 29, 2022.

3. HathiTrust. “Basic Marketing: a managerial approach,” Accessed July 29, 2022.

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(Video) Marketing Mix 4Ps | McDonald's Examples


What are the 4 main Ps of marketing? ›

The four Ps of marketing is a marketing concept that summarizes the four key factors of any marketing strategy. The four Ps are: product, price, place, and promotion.

What are the 4 Ps of marketing and why are they important to both small and large businesses alike? ›

The 4 Ps of marketing include product, price, place, and promotion. These are the key elements that must be united to effectively foster and promote a brand's unique value, and help it stand out from the competition.

What are the 4Ps in marketing which is the most important to you why? ›

I believe this highlights why the product is the most important aspect of the four P's of marketing – Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Without a product, you cannot implement any one of the other three elements of the marketing mix. And great products are easy to market as they serve both a need and want.

What is an example of a product in 4ps? ›

An example of product

A media streaming subscription is an example of a product. The company may offer a limited, free plan but also provide another tier of service for a monthly fee. As the marketing team considers the product, they may note that this plan offers more types of media than their competitors.

How does 4 principles affect the marketing industry? ›

There are four original principles of marketing referred to as 4Ps or 4P marketing Matrix that companies use for their marketing strategy. These four basic marketing principles Product, Price, Place, and Promotion are interconnected and work together; hence, they are also known as Marketing Mix.

Why are the four Ps of marketing very important for an entrepreneur? ›

The 4 P's of marketing (Marketing Mix) help companies to get a basic understanding of what they are trying to do and who they are trying to reach. It helps brands understand what their digital media strategy is, how they are using social media and SEO, and what changes need to be made for them to reach their goals.

What are the 4Ps of marketing and how does each p impact the sales and promotions of products? ›

Product, price, promotion, and place form the four Ps of the marketing mix. These are the key factors that are involved in introducing a product or service to the public.

What marketing mix do you think is the most important and why? ›

What is the most important part of a marketing mix? Pricing is the most important element of your marketing mix. The price you set for a product or service will significantly influence your potential customers' choice to purchase it.

How do you market a product example? ›

Here are 12 strong tactics to effectively market a product or service.
  1. Offer customers an exclusive preview. ...
  2. Create gift guides or bundle collections. ...
  3. Use customer-generated content on social media. ...
  4. Leverage email signup discounts. ...
  5. Create a subscription service. ...
  6. Utilize all content marketing platforms. ...
  7. Use targeted ads.
Jul 19, 2022

What is the marketing mix and how do companies use it? ›

The marketing mix is the set of controllable, tactical marketing tools that a company uses to produce a desired response from its target market. It consists of everything that a company can do to influence demand for its product. It is also a tool to help marketing planning and execution.

How to use marketing mix to increase sales? ›

One of the most common ways to sum up a marketing mix strategy is the “Four P's,” meaning the product, price, place, and promotion. Making sure that each of these are aligned with your customers can help streamline the sales process and earn you more loyal fans. This means considering each component with care.

Why is it important to use the marketing mix? ›

Importance of Marketing Mix

Helps understand what your product or service can offer to your customers. Helps plan a successful product offering. Helps with planning, developing and executing effective marketing strategies. Helps businesses make use of their strengths and avoid unnecessary costs.

Which questions are used to talked about the 4 Ps? ›

What Questions Should You Be Asking About the 4Ps?
  • What do the consumers of my product/service want?
  • What are the benefits it offers?
  • What needs does it satisfy?
  • Are there other ways to satisfy the same needs? ...
  • What are the characteristics of the product/service? ...
  • How and where is my product going to be used?

What is an example of place mix? ›

Place Mix Examples

For instance, Apple came up with the notion of having its own retail shops, or Apple stores, to sell its products exclusively. The main factor in these stores is that the staff is more helpful because Apple's operating system is highly complex, and it may not function as any regular operating system.

What are the 4Ps of the marketing mix and how does the 4 C's relate to them? ›

The 4Ps of product, price, place, and promotion refer to the products your company is offering and how to get them into the hands of the consumer. The 4Cs refer to stakeholders, costs, communication, and distribution channels which are all different aspects of how your company functions.

Why is pricing important in 4Ps marketing of the marketing mix? ›

Effective pricing meets the needs of consumers and facilitates the exchange process. It requires that marketers understand that not all buyers want to pay the same price for products, just as they do not all want the same product, the same distribution outlets, or the same promotional messages.

Which of the 4Ps of marketing deals with delivering value? ›

If no one knows about your product, they won't use or recommend it to others. This is where place, the third p of marketing, comes into play. The place is the location where you deliver value to your target audience. It's also where your target audience hangs out.

How do you identify your marketing mix? ›

How to Choose the Right Marketing Mix for Your Business
  1. Start With Your Competition. ...
  2. Identify Your Ideal Customer. ...
  3. Create Specific Goals. ...
  4. Optimize Your Acquisition Strategy. ...
  5. Determine Budgetary Limits. ...
  6. Test, Tweak and Analyze the Results.
Apr 10, 2015

How do you sell a product to a customer? ›

What are some techniques for selling?
  1. Completely understand the product you're selling.
  2. Know your market and who will buy your product.
  3. Position the product as a solution to a problem or make something easier.
  4. Make your customer comfortable with you as a seller.
  5. Show first, then sell.
  6. Don't talk down to your audience.

When were the 4 P's of marketing? ›

The 4P's of marketing, also known as the producer-oriented model, have been used by marketers around the world for decades. Created by Jerome McCarthy in 1960, the 4Ps encourages a focus on Product, Price, Promotion and Place.

What are the 4 Ps of marketing multiple choice? ›

The 4P's make up the typical marketing mix and it includes Product, Place, Price and Promotion.

What are the 4 Ps of marketing and how does each p impact the sales and promotions of products? ›

Product, price, promotion, and place form the four Ps of the marketing mix. These are the key factors that are involved in introducing a product or service to the public.

Which of the 4 Ps of marketing deals with delivering value? ›

If no one knows about your product, they won't use or recommend it to others. This is where place, the third p of marketing, comes into play. The place is the location where you deliver value to your target audience. It's also where your target audience hangs out.

Are the 4 Ps of marketing still relevant? ›

Traditional Strategies and understandings…

The 4P's of Marketing have been part of a fundamental process in getting the right product in front of a specific group of people so they can decide to buy. Although this is still used in Marketing today, even in the digital age.

What are the four Ps in the marketing mix and why are they called controllable Why does a firm wish to control them? ›

The Four “P's” of the Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is the combination of the four controllable variables–product, place, promotion, and price (the four Ps)–people are sometimes added (but that's within HR). Chanimals blend these variables to create a mix that satisfies the needs of the target market.

What is the 4 Ps of marketing definition quizlet? ›

product, place, promotion, and price, which together make up the marketing mix.


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