The Marketing Mix

The Marketing Mix (+The 4P’s, 7P’s and

4C’s of Marketing) Learning Hub, by Hannah Tow | April 15, 2019

More than 70 years ago, the American Marketing

Association coined a term that has impressively remained

one of the most essential marketing fundamentals to this


The lasting popularity the marketing mix has earned throughout the years is

due to the fact that the “mix” we are speaking of encompasses every type of

tactic and technique that a marketer would need to successfully bring an offer

to market.

Think of the marketing mix as a tool box, and the 4P’s, 7P’s, and 4C’s of

marketing as the tools a marketing team uses to successfully accomplish its

marketing objectives.

Do you know exactly what you’re looking for? Jump ahead to:

 The 4P’s of marketing

 Product

 Price

 Place

 Promotion

 Using the 4P’s of marketing

 The 7P’s of marketing

 The 4C’s of marketing

What is the marketing mix? If you’ve ever taken an entry level marketing class, you have probably heard

the term “marketing mix” come up enough times to recognize it as an

essential term to know. The reason it is such a heavily covered topic is

because without the marketing mix, marketers would have no guidelines in the

strategy or execution of bringing a new product or service to market. It’s

basically every marketer’s starting point.

What does the marketing mix mean?

The marketing mix refers to the group of tactics that a company has strategically chosen

to take a product or service to market.

With that being said, you may be wondering how the 4P’s (and 7P’s and

4’C’s) of marketing fit into this. These topics are often confused with each

other, so let me remind you: the marketing mix and the 4P’s (and 7P’s and

4C’s) of marketing are not the same thing.

The marketing mix is a process that refers to the decisions marketers make

throughout the development of bringing their product or service to market.

Remember the tool box analogy? Whereas the P’s and C’s of marketing are

specific techniques within the marketing mix which a marketing team uses to

promote their offering. These are the tools inside your marketing tool box.

The concept of the 4P’s is certainly the most well-known because of its age

and near universal strategy. The 7P’s and 4C’s have emerged since the

creation of the marketing mix’s first structuring and account for major industry

changes and trends. Don’t worry though, this article will cover everything you

need to know regarding the go-to-market strategies marketers use everyday.

The 4P’s of marketing in depth The 4P’s of marketing were first introduced in the book Basic Marketing: A

Managerial Approach, by E. Jerome McCarthy. Since the concept’s

development in the 1960s, they’ve become the gold standard that marketers

use while creating their strategies.

The 4P’s, which refer to product, price, place, and promotion, have

become the most popular elements that marketing teams choose to

implement today. Its extreme popularity explains why so many professionals

use the marketing mix and the 4P’s of marketing interchangeably. The 4P’s of

marketing have maintained relevant even as the marketing industry itself has


Product This phase is about more than what you’re physically selling. In the product

stage, you have to determine your audience, test your product, decide where

it fits within the marketplace, and so much more.

Before you begin to think about marketing your product, you have to have an

extensive understanding of what your product is.

I know – it’s your product! You probably know it like the back of your hand. All

products go through a product life cycle, and it’s easy to overlook the simple

stages that ask questions like: Who uses it? What need will it satisfy for my

customer? How will it differ from your competitors?

Before you dive in any deeper, you’ll want to be sure you’re completely

confident on the above.

The next step is to determine if your offering is a new or existing product. If

you have an existing product, but you’ve revamped it, it’s crucial to perform a

competitive analysis. What makes your product any better from others of its

kind? Is it cheaper? Is it better quality? The answers to these questions will

help you determine the features you’ll highlight throughout the promotional


For example, if you were taking the Hydro Flask water bottle to market for the

first time, you’d likely highlight its ability to keep drinks ice cold for more than

24 hours and warm drinks piping hot for six hours. That trait is one of the

features that helps this brand stand out against its competitors.

Next, you’ll need to perform market research to identify and locate your target

market. Is there a matching market fit with your product? Utilizing a focus

group can provide vital feedback. Offer consumers who fit your target market

the opportunity to use and test out your product. The insights they provide will

guide your decisions when strategizing price.

Price Now you’ll need to choose how much you want your product to cost. Properly

pricing a product is critical to set your business up for success.

It is important not to get your pricing strategy wrong the first time, because too

high or low of a price may have an irreversible effect that. Pricing your product

too low is a genuine threat that many have made thinking consumers would

see it as the best value on the market. While this may work in some cases,

more often than not it’ll be considered cheap and poorer quality than its


However, pricing your product too high can be just as crippling. Especially

with a new product, it’s easy to overprice, thinking you have to start seeing

profit quickly to balance the high cost of developing and launching a new

product. And while that’s true, you won’t see any profit if no one is willing to

spend money on your product!

Just as we said in the product stage, research is imperative at this point.

Understand what your competitors are offering, administer surveys of your

target audience, and conduct general industry research that can help you

decide what an appropriate price range is.

Place When talking about product, we stressed the importance of finding out not just

who your customers are, but where they are. However, this time, “place”

doesn’t have to refer to a physical location. What this stage is really about is

selecting a distribution channel that will allow you to reach your customers,

whether it’s an actual format store or not.

When determining place, it is essential to understand where you’re most likely

to find your customer. Place can be an e-commerce website, a catalog or

magazine, and it can also be selling directly to consumers or relying on a

retailer to distribute your product. The market research you previously

conducted about your customer’s shopping habits is critical in determining the

distribution channel that will work for you.

Promotion The final phase, promotion, is what we think of when we think “marketing.” In

this stage of your marketing mix, you’ll develop and execute any promotional

strategies that will help kick start your product launch and entice your target


The tactics you choose to implement at this stage are dependent on your

product, price, and place. For example, if your offering is a convenience good

being sold at various grocery stores, coupons could be a successful

promotional tactic. On the other hand, if you’re trying to market a luxury

handbag, coupons likely won’t cut it. That customer is looking for exclusivity,

and promotional coupons make products more accessible to the masses and

less expensive, losing the essence of unattainability.

Implementing the 4P’s of marketing The 4P’s are a tried and true way of covering all of your bases and taking a

new product to market. It is also a helpful way to improve

your existing marketing strategy. If you think you may have prematurely taken

your product to market and are realizing your current marketing mix is not

cutting it, the 4P’s can take you back to the basics and allow you to carve a

more defined path in a new direction!

Starting with your product, the obvious goal in this stage is to determine

whether or not your offering fills your customers’ needs. How does your

product compare to its competitors? What makes it so unique? Once you

have a firm understanding of what your product is and how it compares to its

competitors, then you’re ready to move on to the next stage.

To examine your pricing model, make sure you are putting your profit margins,

overhead costs, and anticipated supply and demand into consideration. To

make it easy, imagine you are the customer buying your product. Would you,

as a customer, consider this to be a fair priced item compared to equal


Once you’ve determined your product and pricing strategy, you’ll move on to

the third P: place. Is your ideal customer able to easily find your product?

Think about their typical shopping patterns. Where do you have to place your

product to make it easy for a potential customer to become a customer? If you

believe you have decided on the best distribution channel, then you are ready

to embark on the final P: promotion.

It’s a simple fact – you won’t see any success from your promotional efforts if

it never reaches your target market. There are two important questions to

answer in this stage: Are you promoting your product through a channel

commonly used by the target customer? Do the promotional tactics match the

type of product you’re selling?

For example, let’s say you’re trying to sell a trendy new shoe to millennials,

buying a full-page newspaper ad will hardly do you any good. Think about

how your audience consumes information. Is it through the television,

on popular social media sites, listening to the radio, or reading the

newspaper? It’s crucial to understand these consumption habits to target your

audience effectively.

The best thing about your marketing mix is that it’s flexible. If you are noticing

industry or customer changes that are no longer aligning with your strategy,

you can always evolve your 4P’s to better suit the fast-paced change.

Completing a yearly, or even quarterly touch base can help ensure your

marketing strategy remains relevant.

The 7P’s of marketing – A bonus 3! Although the 4P’s of marketing have long been considered the “gold standard”

for marketing mixes, they’ve still had their criticisms. The 7P’s of marketing

consists of the original four, plus a bonus three that were introduced in the


The 7P’s of marketing were established by Bernard H. Booms and Mary J.

Bitner. These two marketers recognized that the 4P’s ignored customer

service, which they considered to be an essential aspect of any marketing

strategy. The bonus P’s that were added include people, process, and

physical evidence.

People This element refers to all of the parties present throughout the purchase cycle

and the interactions they have together. This is anybody who represents the

company in some form or fashion, which can include both employees and

customers. The interactions customers have with one another and the

employees are important here as well. It is essential to provide

excellent customer service skills to ensure all communication surrounding

your brand is positive.

Process The process phase is the flow of activities in which service is delivered. If

you’re selling your product in a retail store, this process begins the second

your customer steps foot into your store and ends at their last interaction. That

may be their purchase, but it also could be a potential return or a future

shopping trip. Remember, this is heavily focused on the customer’s

experience while shopping for the product and the interactions had with any of

the “people”.

Physical evidence Physical evidence refers to the environment in which service occurs. In this

case, it’s not just where the product is physically distributed to customers, but

also the place where customers and employees interact with one another. If

you distribute your product via an e-commerce site, this could be as simple as

customer service emails. Or, it could refer to an in-person interaction at the

shopping mall.

The 4C’s of marketing This brings us to the final strategy, the 4C’s of marketing, which were created

by Robert F. Lauterborn in 1990. Each of the four elements – consumer

wants and needs, cost, convenience, and communication – are an

adaptation of their related “P.”

Robert F. Lauterborn created this method as a customer-centric alternative to

the 4P’s of marketing. He insisted that, since marketing is about the customer,

the marketing mix shouldn’t focus on the brand, but rather the people who buy

the product or service.

Consumer wants and needs This element is very similar to the first P, “product”. The biggest difference

here is that Lauterborn believes that extensive consumer research needs to

be done to understand if there is a need or demand for this new product, and

if there is, how will the product or service best serve it. The wants and needs

of customers should drive the creation of a new product or service.

Cost Lauterborn believed the word “cost” should replace price, insisting that

the dollar amount isn’t the only cost a consumer worries about when making

the purchase. Cost is not just the price of the product, but also the opportunity

cost, the loss of a potential gain from an alternative, or even the customer’s

time spent to obtain the item.

Convenience Choosing the word “convenience” over “place” further emphasizes

Lauterborn’s commitment to the customer. The effort a customer should make

to purchase a wanted or needed product should be little to none. There should

be multiple points of offer visibility to ensure the customer is being catered to

in the best way.

Communication In Lauterborn’s opinion, promotion is manipulative while communication is

cooperative. An honest dialogue between the brand and consumer was

thought to best, as opposed to traditional marketing strategies that only

highlight a product’s best qualities which can sometimes be deceiving. This

communication promotes constructive feedback, questions, and user

generated reviews.

P’s and C’s oh my!

You should now have a full understanding of what makes the marketing mix

and the tools it houses so important. Without it, businesses would not have a

foundation to guide the strategy or the execution of bringing a new offering to

market. The marketing mix is truly the backbone of every business plan.

Each tool influences the other and plays a crucial part in the mix that deserves

a complete understanding before progress can be made. Creating the perfect

mix ensures that your offering will be set up perfectly in the market to garner

as much success and profit as possible.

It’s important to remember that your marketing mix is unique to your product

and customers, and it can always be changed and optimized as the needs of

each evolve.

Above all else, you must keep your audience in mind. Marketing is about

the customer – reaching them, understanding them, and influencing

them. Consider implementing a market segmentation strategy to get a

full grasp on your audience.

The Marketing Mix (+The 4P’s, 7P’s and 4C’s of Marketing)
What is the marketing mix?
What does the marketing mix mean?
The 4P’s of marketing in depth
Implementing the 4P’s of marketing
The 7P’s of marketing – A bonus 3!
Physical evidence
The 4C’s of marketing
Consumer wants and needs

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