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What Is The Marketing Mix? Defining The 4, 5, 6, & 7 Ps Of Marketing

Published April 13, 2022
/ Updated December 15, 2022

The marketing mix is the framework of a great marketing strategy. Like a great recipe, the Ps of marketing must work harmoniously for a product to sell successfully to an ideal target audience.

What Is Marketing Mix?

Marketing mix definition:

The marketing mix describes the overarching business approach to influence profitable customer action by selling a single product or service. The marketing mix is closely associated with the 4 Ps of marketing (Product, Price, Place, and Promotion).

The 4 Ps of marketing are:

  1. Product: Anything sold for profit
  2. Price: The monetary value charged in exchange for a good or service
  3. Place: The geographical area where a product is available
  4. Promotion: Advertising, social media marketing, public relations, and media placement

Marketers use the mix framework to:

  1. Create products and services that solve problems and provide value for ideal target customers
  2. Assign monetary value the products that will influence target customers to purchase
  3. Choose distribution channels through which the business will sell its products to target customers
  4. Market promotional activities that will reach and influence target customers to take action.

Another marketing mix model is the 4 Cs of marketing, which takes the 4 elements of the marketing mix and places them within the buyer’s perspective instead of the seller’s. Below is the list of the 4 Cs next to their 4 Ps equivalent.

The 4 Cs of marketing are:

  1. Customer needs and wants: Product
  2. Cost: Price
  3. Convenience: Place
  4. Communication: Promotion

Marketing is more likely to succeed when all of these are integrated in the right way. Together, these influence a company’s actions to build, value, distribute, and reach its target audience.

Businesses that offer multiple products may leverage multiple marketing mixes to develop and promote products for unique target markets.

What Are The 4 Ps Of Marketing? (Expanded)

The four Ps of marketing are Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. This marketing mix model was documented in 1960 in the textbook Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach by co-author E. Jerome McCarthy, a marketing professor at Michigan State University, revising previous models down to these four simple ingredients of a marketing mix.

In his book, McCarthy firmly details that these core 4 Ps must be marketing-led:

“When we define marketing as the performance of the activities that direct the flow of goods and services we mean just that: direct. Marketing should start with the consumer, not the plant. Thus, marketing should determine what products are to be produced (product development, design, and packaging), what prices to charge (credits and collection and pricing policies), and where they are to be available (warehousing and transportation)—as well as selling and advertising.”

E. Jerome McCarthy, Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach 1960 p.34

The 4 Ps of marketing are (expanded):

  1. Product: Your product may be anything sold for profit, whether that means a physical good or a service.
  2. Price: In simplest terms, the monetary value charged in exchange for a good or service. Prices must be set competitively against market rates, taking profit margins and other factors into consideration.
  3. Place: In this context, place refers to the geographical area where a product or service is shipped or made available.
  4. Promotion: Once a product or service is on the market, it needs to be promoted. Here is a short (and by no means comprehensive) list of broad promotional channels:
    1. Digital and traditional advertising
    2. Content, email, and social media marketing
    3. In-store signage
    4. Public relations and media placement

These 4 Ps have become the most commonly known marketing mix definition. While sales tactics constantly evolve to keep up with the modern world, these objectives are still fundamental to a marketing strategy.

What Does Product Mean In The Marketing Mix?

Product Marketing Mix Definition

Product is the first P in the marketing mix and is defined as physical goods or services sold to make a profit for the business.

The product is why marketing exists, and the best products are created to solve consumers’ real-world problems.

“Marketing’s role is to act as a liaison between the consumer and the production side of the business.”

E. Jerome McCarthy, Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach 1960 p.34

A good product begins by fully understanding an unsolved value a target market needs.

What is a problem the target market experiences? What is a challenge through which a target market struggles?

Target market research may include:

  1. Socioeconomic status: What are the income levels of your target market? Does the target market more frequently buy luxury or bargain products? Why?
  2. Regional influences: What local, cultural, and/or nationality factors impact the target market’s perception of solutions in your product category? What are your target market’s preferred shopping methods (e.g. wholesale, retail, etc.)? What are your target market’s preferred shopping channels (e.g. physical, online, mail order, etc.)?
  3. Use cases: How will the target market use your product? Where will the target market use your product?
  4. Product categories: How would your target market describe the product? What alternatives might they consider?
  5. Demand levels: How prevalent is the problem your product solves for the target market?
  6. Quality factors: What does your target market expect from products in your category?

Marketing may then direct businesses to produce products based on consumer needs, wants, and desires for value.

What Does Price Mean In The Marketing Mix?

Price Marketing Mix Definition

Price is the second P in the marketing mix, referring to how much the business charges for its good or service.

Prices can reflect how consumers view your business, be determined by profitability and competitors’ prices, and be reasonable for the target audience. Conversely, the price must be appropriate for the target audiences.

“Through careful blending of the needs of the consumers with the capabilities of the company, marketing management attempts to maximize consumer welfare. This is not done altruistically, it should be emphasized. Generally speaking, consumers are willing to pay the highest prices for, or buy more of, those goods which best satisfy them.”

E. Jerome McCarthy, Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach 1960 p.34

How expensive a product should be must be weighed against the perceived value the target market gains through the product’s use.

Marketers apply pricing strategies to products based on the market, competitors, and costs of goods sold to generate profit margins whenever possible.

What Does Place Mean In The Marketing Mix?

Place Marketing Mix Definition

Place is the third P in the marketing mix. Place determines where the good or service will be sold based on the target audience’s location or searching for the product.

“Within this category, the major problems are where, when, and by whom the goods and services are to be offered for sale. Wholesaling, retailing, transportation, storage, and financing are discussed. Under ‘place’ will be considered all the problems, functions, and institutions involved in getting the right product to the target customer.”

E. Jerome McCarthy, Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach 1960 p.47

With the rise of the digital world and e-commerce stores, place has evolved tremendously over the past decade. Brick-and-mortar businesses have had to adapt by either selling their products online or persuading their customers to continue to shop in-store.

Urging customers to shop in-store is a prime example of how the 4 Ps intertwine. Often, marketers will set prices online to be higher than what they are in store, or they will offer discounts and rewards for those who physically come into the shop. In this case, altering the price hopes to influence the place that the customer shops.

What Does Promotion Mean In The Marketing Mix?

Promotion Marketing Mix Definition

Promotion is the fourth P in the marketing mix. Once a product is ready for market, strategies need to be developed to make the public aware and interested.

“Promotion is concerned with any method which communicates to the target consumer about the right product which will be sold in the right place at the right price. In this category, all the problems of sales promotion, advertising, and the development, training, and utilization of a sales force must be covered—that is, the development of the ‘promotional mix.’”

E. Jerome McCarthy, Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach 1960 p.47

Of the 4 Ps, promotion is perhaps one of the most complex due to the wide variety of marketing tactics used to bring a product to market.

Typically promotion will have a mix of its own as marketers attack multiple avenues of advertising and marketing to spread brand awareness to as many consumers as possible. However, their efforts must be targeted and delivered with intent.

Promotion is considered an investment, and the ROI (return on investment) is often closely monitored in successful businesses.

Again, we can see how the 4 Ps work together, playing an essential role in promotion. Marketers must decipher the best marketing channels to deliver their messages based on where their customers are most likely to find them.

What Are The 5 Ps Of Marketing?

The 5 Ps of marketing are everything in the 4 Ps of marketing, plus packaging.

The 5 Ps of marketing are:

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Place
  4. Promotion
  5. Packaging

What Does Packaging Mean In The Marketing Mix?

Packaging Marketing Mix Definition

Packaging is the fifth P in the marketing mix. This refers to the process of designing wrappers or containers to protect the product for transportation and distribution.

Packaging is both a science and an art form. The packaging should be suitable to keep the product in its intended form, and it should also be designed in a way that catches the eye, has relevant information, and promotes the product.

A consumer’s eyes will dart quickly around the shelves meaning a first impression is essential. When their eyes flash over to a product, they should be able to tell exactly what its intended uses are and get a sense of the brand’s identity.

What Are The 6 Ps Of Marketing?

The 6 Ps of marketing are everything in the 5 Ps of marketing, plus positioning.

The 6 Ps of marketing are:

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Place
  4. Promotion
  5. Packaging
  6. Positioning

What Does Positioning Mean In The Marketing Mix?

Positioning Marketing Mix Definition

Positioning is the sixth P in the marketing mix. A marketer’s goal with positioning is to establish the brand’s identity according to what the target audience desires. They want to influence consumers to perceive their brand or product differently and distinguish themselves from competitors.

For example, Nike has built an identity as a clothing brand for those that are serious about sports and fitness. They feature top-level professional athletes in their advertisements, and their motivational slogan “Just Do It” targets those that are driven to become the best in their sport.

Compare this to another famous clothing brand such as Vans. This company saw its rise to popularity with skateboarders and eventually developed into a brand for rebellious or identified as misfits of the world. Their “Off The Wall” slogan encourages creativity just as much as their wide selection of colors and styles.

Nike and Vans both sell similar products, yet your mind instantly identifies a specific type of crowd when either one comes to mind. This sort of stereotyping is the result of successful positioning in marketing.

What Are The 7 Ps Of Marketing Mix?

The 7 Ps of marketing are everything in the 6 Ps of marketing, plus people.

The 7 Ps of marketing are:

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Place
  4. Promotion
  5. Packaging
  6. Positioning
  7. People

What Does People Mean In The Marketing Mix?

People Marketing Mix Definition

People is the seventh P in the marketing mix. This refers to anyone involved in the business, whether via sales, product design, management, or any other field that will affect the business’s success.

Having the right people in your business is vital as they determine the quality of customer service. It’s not only important for employees to treat customers with respect, but also must be well trained to allow them to perform their tasks proficiently.

A business will be filled with individuals that have unique personalities and skillsets. Each employee’s abilities should be considered and put into a position that will set them up for success. For example, a person may have a wealth of knowledge in their field of work but an introverted personality that doesn’t work well face to face with customers. These people would work better in analytical office roles.

What Is The Purpose Of Marketing Mix?

The marketing mix provides a solid framework for the decision-making process involved in putting together a marketing campaign. As the field of marketing has evolved, the marketing mix has followed suit, expanding from 4 Ps to 7.

Expanded Marketing Mix

  1. Product – Product design, new product lines, and features.
  2. Price– Pricing strategies for the highest profits, discounts, and payment methods.
  3. Place– Determining the location for distribution, shipping, and logistics.
  4. Promotion– Increase brand awareness via advertising, public relations, sales promotion, and direct marketing.
  5. Packaging– Designing a protective casing for delivery that appeals to the consumer.
  6. Positioning– Establishing brand identity to advertise towards the right target market.
  7. People– Recruiting and training, customer service.

Who Coined The 4 Ps Marketing Mix?

The 4 Ps of marketing were brought to life in 1960 by Michigan State Professor E. Jerome McCarthy. In his book Basic Marketing:  A Managerial Approach, he combines concepts from several previous marketing models and simplifies them into four easy-to-remember categories. Before the 4 Ps, the “functional school of thought” was the model that dominated the marketing industry.

While many new ideas surfaced in the 1950s, McCarthy’s marketing mix was the first idea that created a fundamental shift in how we developed marketing strategies. It is widely known as being the demise of the functional school of thought, and we shouldn’t disregard that marketers still resort to this approach over 60 years later.

In honor of his efforts, McCarthy was voted to be one of the top five leaders in marketing according to the field’s experts and received the American Marketing Association’s Trailblazer Award.

What Is A Marketing Mix Example?

We cover marketing mix examples in a related piece here.

For a luxury jewelry brand, the marketing mix may include:

  1. Product: Diamond earings marketed to wealthy middle-aged women
  2. Price: Luxury pricing (higher cost than most competitors to signify perceived wearer’s high, wealthy status)
  3. Promotion: Vanity Fair Magazine, Jetset Magazine, retargeting ads, etc.
  4. Place: The brand’s own physical retail stores, the brand’s own website (no other distributors)