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.

The four Ps of marketing: product, price, place and promotion

The marketing mix can be divided into four groups of variables commonly known as the four Ps:

  1. Product: The goods and/or services offered by a company to its customers.
  2. Price: The amount of money paid by customers to purchase the product.
  3. Place (or distribution): The activities that make the product available to consumers.
  4. Promotion: The activities that communicate the product’s features and benefits and persuade customers to purchase the product.

Marketing tools

Each of the four Ps has its own tools to contribute to the marketing mix:

  • Product: variety, quality, design, features, brand name, packaging, services
  • Price: list price, discounts, allowance, payment period, credit terms
  • Place: channels, coverage, assortments, locations, inventory, transportation, logistics
  • Promotion: advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, public relations

Marketing strategy

An effective marketing strategy combines the 4 Ps of the marketing mix. It is designed to meet the company’s marketing objectives by providing its customers with value. The 4 Ps of the marketing mix are related, and combine to establish the product’s position within its target markets.

Weaknesses of the marketing mix

The four Ps of the marketing mix have a number of weaknesses in that they omit or underemphasize some important marketing activities. For example, services are not explicitly mentioned, although they can be categorized as products (that is, service products). As well, other important marketing activities (such as packaging) are not specifically addressed but are placed within one of the four P groups.

Another key problem is that the four Ps focus on the seller’s view of the market. The buyer’s view should be marketing’s main concern.

The four Ps as the four Cs

The four Ps of the marketing mix can be reinterpreted as the four Cs. They put the customer’s interests (the buyer) ahead of the marketer’s interests (the seller).

  • Customer solutions, not products: Customers want to buy value or a solution to their problems.
  • Customer cost, not price: Customers want to know the total cost of acquiring, using and disposing of a product.
  • Convenience, not place: Customers want products and services to be as convenient to purchase as possible.
  • Communication, not promotion: Customers want two-way communication with the companies that make the product.

References

Kotler, P., Armstrong, G., Cunningham, P.H. (2005). Principles of Marketing. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada. pp. 67-70.