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Marketing > Marketing Mix

The Marketing Mix

(The 4 P's of Marketing)
The term 'marketing mix' was first used in 1953
when Neil Borden, in his American Marketing
Association presidential address, took the recipe idea
one step further and coined the term "marketing-
mix". A prominent marketer, E. Jerome McCarthy,
proposed a 4 P classification in 1960, which has seen
wide use. The four Ps concept is explained in most
marketing textbooks and classes.
Marketing decisions generally fall into the following
four controllable categories:
• Product
• Price
• Place (distribution)
• Promotion
The term "marketing mix" became popularized
after Neil H. Borden published his 1964 article,
The Concept of the Marketing Mix. Borden began
using the term in his teaching in the late 1940's
after James Culliton had described the marketing
manager as a "mixer of ingredients". The
ingredients in Borden's marketing mix included
product planning, pricing, branding, distribution

channels, personal selling, advertising, promotions,
packaging, display, servicing, physical handling,
and fact finding and analysis. E. Jerome McCarthy
later grouped these ingredients into the four
categories that today are known as the 4 P's of
marketing, depicted below

The Marketing Mix

These four P's are the parameters that the marketing

manager can control, subject to the internal and
external constraints of the marketing environment.
The goal is to make decisions that center the four P's
on the customers in the target market in order to
create perceived value and generate a positive

Product Decisions

The noun product is defined as a "thing produced by

labor or effort"[1] or the "result of an act or a
process"[2], and stems from the verb produce, from
the Latin prōdūce(re) '(to) lead or bring forth'. Since
1575, the word "product" has referred to anything
produced[3]. Since 1695, the word has referred to
"thing or things produced". The economic or
commercial meaning of product was first used by
political economist Adam Smith[4]

In marketing, a product is anything that can be
offered to a market that might satisfy a want or
need[5]. In retailing, products are called merchandise.
In manufacturing, products are purchased as raw
materials and sold as finished goods. Commodities
are usually raw materials such as metals and
agricultural products, but a commodity can also be
anything widely available in the open market. In
project management, products are the formal
definition of the project deliverables that make up or
contribute to delivering the objectives of the project.
In general usage, product may refer to a single item
or unit, a group of equivalent products, a grouping of
goods or services, or an industrial classification for
the goods or services.
A related concept is subproduct, a secondary but
useful result of a production process.

The term "product" refers to tangible, physical

products as well as services. Here are some examples
of the product decisions to be made:
• Brand name
• Functionality

• Styling
• Quality
• Safety
• Packaging
• Repairs and Support
• Warranty
• Accessories and services

Price Decisions
Pricing is a fundamental aspect of financial
modeling, and is one of the four Ps of the
marketing mix. The other three aspects are
product, promotion, and place. It is also a key
variable in microeconomic price allocation
theory. Price is the only revenue generating
element amongst the four Ps, the rest being cost
centers. Pricing is the manual or automatic
process of applying prices to purchase and sales
orders, based on factors such as: a fixed amount,
quantity break, promotion or sales campaign,
specific vendor quote, price prevailing on entry,
shipment or invoice date, combination of
multiple orders or lines, and many others
Some examples of pricing decisions to be made
• Pricing strategy (skim, penetration, etc.)

• Suggested retail price
• Volume discounts and wholesale pricing
• Cash and early payment discounts
• Seasonal pricing
• Bundling
• Price flexibility
• Price discrimination

Distribution (Place) Decisions

Place represents the location where a product can be
purchased. It is often referred to as the
distribution channel. It can include any physical
store as well as virtual stores on the Internet.
Distribution is about getting the products to the
customer. Some examples of distribution decisions
• Distribution channels
• Market coverage (inclusive, selective, or
exclusive distribution)
• Specific channel members
• Inventory management
• Warehousing
• Distribution centers
• Order processing
• Transportation
• Reverse logistics

Promotion Decisions
Promotion represents all of the communications that
a marketer may use in the marketplace.
Promotion has four distinct elements -
advertising, public relations, word of mouth
and point of sale. A certain amount of
crossover occurs when promotion uses the four
principal elements together, which is common
in film promotion. Advertising covers any
communication that is paid for, from cinema
commercials, radio and Internet adverts through
print media and billboards. Public relations are
where the communication is not directly paid
for and includes press releases, sponsorship
deals, exhibitions, conferences, seminars or
trade fairs and events. Word of mouth is any
apparently informal communication about the
product by ordinary individuals, satisfied
customers or people specifically engaged to
create word of mouth momentum. Sales staff
often plays an important role in word of mouth
and Public Relations (see Product above).
In the context of the marketing mix, promotion
represents the various aspects of marketing
communication, that is, the communication of
information about the product with the goal of

generating a positive customer response. Marketing
communication decisions include:
• Promotional strategy (push, pull, etc.)
• Advertising
• Personal selling & sales force
• Sales promotions
• Public relations & publicity
• Marketing communications budget
Packaging also needs to be taken into consideration.
Broadly defined, optimizing the marketing mix is the
primary responsibility of marketing. By offering the
product with the right combination of the four Ps
marketers can improve their results and marketing
effectiveness. Making small changes in the marketing
mix is typically considered to be a tactical
change.Parm Bains says Making large changes in any
of the four Ps can be considered strategic. For
example, a large change in the price, say from $19.00
to $39.00 would be considered a strategic change in
the position of the product. However a change of
$130 to $129.99 would be considered a tactical
change, potentially related to a promotional offer.
The term 'marketing mix' however, does not imply
that the 4P elements represent options. They are not
trade-offs but are fundamental marketing issues that
always need to be addressed. They are the

fundamental actions that marketing requires whether
determined explicitly or by default.