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

Published April 13, 2022
/ Updated June 15, 2022

The marketing mix is a traditional set of tools that provides the framework of a great sales strategy. Like a great recipe, the Ps of marketing must work harmoniously for a business to be successful.

What Is Marketing Mix?

The marketing mix describes the full set of tactics and actions a company executes to reach its audience and sell products. It 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

Another model is the 4 C’s of marketing, which takes the elements of a 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

A marketing campaign is more likely to succeed if all of these are integrated in the right way. Together, these influence a company’s actions to promote its products and reach its target audience.

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 points.

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

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.

What Does Price Mean In The Marketing Mix?

Price

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.

What Does Place Mean In The Marketing Mix?

Place

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.

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

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.

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?

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

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?

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

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?

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

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.