4Ps of Marketing (Marketing Mix with Examples) The 4Ps of Marketing or the Marketing Mix is one of the most basic concepts taught in Marketing. At the same time, it makes up for an extremely large part of a successful marketing plan. The fact is, the 4Ps of Marketing are really important because they, together, form the marketing strategy of your company. Let me tell you more about it.

Marketing Mix 4Ps Super Heuristics

Marketing mix - the 4Ps of marketing can never be overestimated when it comes to determining the success or failure of a marketing campaign.

In this article, I will explain to you what is marketing mix and also each of the 4Ps of marketing mix. Not just that, I will share with you four examples of how each of these elements of marketing mix makes a lot of difference in marketing.

Before that, let’s ponder over something basic. And also let me tell you what all I will be covering in this detailed article on the 4Ps of Marketing.

Let me begin by telling you, what exactly is Marketing Mix all about?


What is Marketing Mix? 

Marketing Mix is ideally a brilliantly coordinated combination of Product, Price, Place and Promotion strategies.

I wrote about marketing it in detail in my blog post titled ‘But really, what is Marketing?’. In simple terms, you could say marketing is about “putting the right product in the right place, at the right price, at the right time”.

That is what it really is.

That one statement defines everything, from what is marketing to what is marketing mix to how to create and deliver an amazing marketing campaign.

4ps of marketing mix

Source: thefinancialbrand.com

If you’re in marketing, you have some basic ingredients that you would use to create some magic out of your marketing plan, these ingredients are called the 4Ps of Marketing or the Marketing Mix.

What is Marketing Mix?
Marketing Mix is a set of elements, the 4Ps, that are the four decision-making areas in Marketing. Again, getting any of these elements wrong may destroy the rest of the factors you got right.

This is true because, the 4Ps factors are interdependent and rely on one another for an effective strategy. And if you begin to think, any marketing decision that you take essentially lies in any one of these areas.


What is the purpose of the 4Ps of Marketing Mix?

Its purpose is to ensure the creation and execution of a successful marketing strategy; the attempt is to satisfy both the customer and the seller. You will often come across your managers telling you to create marketing plans.

And this is what a marketing plan predominantly covers. The purpose is to ensure that every marketing initiative that you take is brilliantly coordinated with each other.

Marketing incorporates all these physical and non-physical, real and perceptual attributes into four elements of the marketing mix.

The 4Ps is basically about asking relevant questions that will help you to define your marketing mix.

4ps of marketing infographic

Let me explain to you each of the elements of the Marketing mix, or the 4Ps of Marketing here. Stay tuned for the later part of the article where I will share with you the examples for each of the 4Ps.


Product 

First, it is important to understand the problems your product is trying to solve, because without it, you don’t have a place in the market, and you certainly can’t sell or advertise something that doesn’t exist or doesn’t have any demand.

The key to get this element of the marketing mix correct is by writing down a product definition.

This should include what is your product, what is your target market and most importantly why is your product different from the alternatives out there.

A product can be a physical object, an intangible service, an idea, a campaign or even a personality.

Also, the Unique Selling Proposition of the product must be determined as well as the potential buyers of the product.

There are questions you need to ask when you want to determine the kind of product you should have. They include:

  • What problems can this product solve for customers?
  • What features are included in the products to meet this need?
  • What will differentiate it from the competitor’s own if any?
  • How is it supposed to be used by the customer?

Let me know take you through the second P of the 4Ps of marketing - which is Price.


Price 

The price of a product should reflect its value to the customer. This also entails the relative price versus quality level that the product maintains against the competitors.

The marketer’s challenge is to come up with a price that is attractive to consumers while still turning an acceptable profit for the company.

The price of a product will directly affect how it sells. This must be determined by what value the customers attach to the product rather than the objective cost of the product.

If the product is priced higher or lower than its perceived value, then it will be difficult to make sales. Simply put, the value of the product in the eyes of the consumer determines the price.

I have written a series of articles on how to price a product and those articles shall help you with this particular element of the 4Ps of the Marketing mix. Here are some of those posts:

Hence, if the value is low or negative , the product may need to be under priced to make sales.

The questions to ask here are:

  • What is the perceived value of the product to the buyer?
  • What is the market fixed price for this kind of product? 
  • How much is your price when compared with the competitor’s? 

Moving on to the third element of the marketing mix and the 4Ps of Marketing - the Place.


Place 

There is a way how the product will be provided to the customer, this is the “Place” factor. Once the place has been decided, the marketing channel to reach the customer is chosen.

The place refers to where the product is to be sold (distribution).

In the past, this meant how visible your product was in the physical marketplace. In today’s modern world: where your product appears on the Internet is even more important because your reach online can be global whilst as your reach in the physical marketplace is limited by physical space.

You can determine this by answering questions like:

  • Where is the first place buyers check when looking for your kind of product. Is it a store, or a boutique, or maybe they check a catalogue?
  • How can you determine the best distribution channels?
  • Do you need to take a multi-channel approach? If yes, then which channels?

And finally, let me tell you about the 4th element of the marketing mix - Promotion.


Promotion 

Promotion refers to the marketing communication methods used to inform, persuade, and remind the target market of the product or services, basically any interaction that your company has with the consumer regarding your product.

This may include advertising, sales, promotions, special offers, and public relations.  Promotion is quite different from marketing, because promotion is the communication aspect of the entire marketing function.

The marketing mix is a crucial tool to help understand what the product or service can offer and how to plan for a successful product offering. 

  • What are the promotion methods of your competitors?
  • Which digital channels does your target market use often?
  • What is the return-on-investment from each of the promotion channels?

After a brief explanation of the Marketing Mix and the 4Ps of Marketing, I am going to talk about them in a more direct and practical way. I explain elements of marketing mix with examples to show you how simple (and impact driven) the Marketing Mix can be.


4Ps of Marketing - Video Explanation

Here is a decent video that I found on the 4Ps of Marketing. Purely Branded, explains in brief what the 4Ps of Marketing are all about and how to use them. For all of you who like to watch videos, I suggest you to have a look at it.


4Ps of Marketing - How to develop the Marketing Mix?

If you were to ask me the steps to determine the 4Ps of Marketing Mix, I would suggest to you the following 4 steps.

As you use these four steps in your marketing projects at your college or your work, you will realize that these are the exact steps that will help you bring out the best and the most coherent marketing plans.

    4 Steps to Develop the 4Ps of Marketing Mix

  • Identify the product to be analyzed. 
  • Answer the 4Ps questions surrounding this product. 
  • After getting a well-defined marketing mix for the 4Ps, try relating them with the 4Cs (i.e. from the customer's perceptive). 
        a. Product - Consumer Value 
        b. Price - Cost 
        c. Promotion - Communication 
        d. Place - Convenience
  • Review your marketing mix regularly, because things can change.

4Ps of Marketing - Key Features

I had to write this out as a separate section because of how important it is for you to understand the nuances attached with the 4Ps of Marketing.

Let me share with you the 4 points, the 4 features that will make a lot of difference in your understanding of the marketing mix.

  1. They are Interdependent variables. That is, they have different functions, but they must work together. One can hardly do without the other.

  2. The 4Ps of marketing are flexible in such a way that, you can always play around with each of the variables. See the the 4Ps of Marketing as the four lever that you as a Marketing Manager will have with you to pull and do different things with.

  3. Constant monitoring is required to make sure that the elements in the marketing mix stays relevant and updated. Again, as I mentioned, they are lever you can play around with.

  4. The focal point of the marketing mix activity are the customers. Therefore, as I mentioned in one of the paragraphs above, you should at all times evaluate the 4Ps of the Marketing Mix from the 4Cs stand-point, i.e. the standpoint of the customers.


Elements of Marketing Mix with Examples

In this part of the article, my aim is to give you a feel of the four elements of the marketing mix through relevant real-world examples of the 4Ps of marketing

In each of these examples, I will take you through those examples that caught my attention and will help you understand the concepts better.


Product: Coca-Cola Life 

When you come to know that there is a Coca-Cola with the Green Label somewhere in the world and that it is still not sold worldwide you probably think

“What-The-H...?”.

Most people still find it weird but after years of dominating the market with the product and powerful advertising campaign, Coca-Cola found itself in a world where everyone wanted to feel more sustainable and healthier.

So, after 5 years of research, they came up with the Coca-Cola Life, with less sugar and stevia, a natural sweetener.

After a Market test in Chile and Argentina, the product was launched in different countries of the world.

What does this teach about the first P of the marketing mix?

Well, that products must always respond to the needs of the market.

No matter how strong your starting position is, no matter how strong your marketing is (so strong that in the case of Coca-Cola they influenced the way the Western World sees Christmas), there are moments where you have to start from a product.

Seth Godin said: Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers. 


Price: Organic Apples aren’t Cheap 

Pricing doesn’t just mean: go as lower as you can to attack the market.

The Book “Ecological Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman talks of how producers and sellers of organic products must raise prices otherwise none will believe it’s REALLY organic!

This is the concept of Price Positioning on which I happen to have done a blog post some weeks back. 

Same happens with Apple: considering the hardware and the competition they can be defined unreasonably overpriced but if Apple will launch a new iPhone for 200$ the strong Apple fan base most probably will not react in a positive way.

So, choosing one price instead of another can automatically identify your product to your customers. 


Place: Don’t tell everyone what you did last Friday 

Another mistake that most people do is trying to get through as many channels as possible. A lot of “improvised” entrepreneurs without any education in that make this mistake to multiply their distribution channels. 

The problem is that people will also judge not just what you sell and how much you charge for it, but also where they see you.

Imagine that in your city there is a club that is famous for being a place where illegal activities happen.

Now imagine you end up there on a wild Friday night and your partner’s dad finds out: won’t he get a really bad impression of you?

At the same time, your friends will think you are a real bad-ass. 

So, the place where you are seen can give you a certain identity according to your target. You want your friends to know where you were Friday night but not your in-laws.

 This is the same reason certain brands decide to only sell in their own stores, others don’t sell online and some only sell online: you have to select your sales channels carefully. 


Promotion: Loud Enough doesn’t mean Louder 

This point can get into thousands of pages without saying anything. With the concept of promotion, you talk about marketing, advertising, sales strategy and a lot more. 

What people hardly understand at the beginning is that in a crowded market like our World, being loud enough to be heard in the constant buzz doesn’t mean being louder than everyone.

So, the promotion has nothing to do with exaggerated claims, fake claims, obsessive  advertising and all these old-school-tricks.

Yes, they still work for others in certain cases, but they don’t give long-lasting positive fame and sooner or later it will ruin your business.

These old tricks work when you didn’t work on the marketing mix for real (maybe because you don’t have anything valuable to sell) so you have to work all with the promotion.

We tend to think that the 4th P is the most important but this is just because it is the tip of the Iceberg. Promotion is what you see more but there is a lot more than you don’t see. 


Conclusion 

At the end of the day if you want to succeed in business you have to be looking to create long-lasting relationships with your customers. 

The four elements must be in harmony and none most portray conflicting messages. The marketing mix must be customer-centric, that is why the 4Cs must be used alongside the 4Ps while determining answers to the variables.

That is:

  • The price must be a cost the customer can afford
  • The promotion must solely be based on communicating with the customers
  • The product must offer a solution to the problem of the customer
  • The place must be one that is convenient for the customers to reach 

And, just as in your personal life, you don’t create any long-lasting relationships by shouting loud, showing off and lying.

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About the Author:

Darpan has worked as a Marketing and Product development strategist at an edu-corporate in New Delhi. He has also worked at a multinational business process outsourcing company in their Marketing & Artificial Intelligence business. He is an engineer by qualification and is currently pursuing MBA from Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Udaipur.