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What are the Four Ps of Marketing?

Garry Crystal
Garry Crystal

The four Ps of marketing, or as they are sometimes called, the marketing mix, are a set of tools used to gain an advantage in the marketplace. A business cannot physically make a customer spend money, but they can set in place the four Ps to help maximize the product’s potential. The four Ps are a combination of price, product, promotion and placement.

In order to maximize a product’s potential, these four variables can be controlled by the company. There are other variables that cannot be controlled by the company, such as employment factors and business competitors, but the four Ps can be controlled to gain a competitive place in the market. Each of the four Ps must be broken down by the company and analyzed before the product is placed on the market. Each of the four Ps is considered just as important as the others. They are interdependent in making a product or company a success.

Entering displays that show mock-ups or prototypes into trade shows is part of the 'Promotion' aspect of the Four Ps.
Entering displays that show mock-ups or prototypes into trade shows is part of the 'Promotion' aspect of the Four Ps.

Each of the four Ps has unique factors to consider. The main consideration associated with the product variable is the actual commodity or service to be sold in return for money. The company needs to consider the quality of the product, its uniqueness in the marketplace and the branding that will be used. Other product decisions include different variations on the product and add-on products available. The packaging of the commodity is another product variable.

Promotion variables are linked with advertising. Promotion is very important when selling a commodity. It is a way of making the public aware of the product and the company. There are many forms of media available to gain public awareness, such as newspapers, television, trade shows and the Internet. One of the most important aspects of promotion is to place in the customer's mind a need for the product, whether the advertising is subliminal or in-your-face.

The price variable must be thought through from the manufacturer's end to the final customer price. Distribution must also be taken into account, and if the product is to be sold in stores, the retailer's mark-up will need to be considered. Other aspects, such as business competitor’s prices and payment plans for the commodity, are also included in the pricing variable.

Placement is another important aspect of the four Ps. Where and to whom you sell your product must be considered. Who your target audiences are and which niche of the market you are aiming for should also be well thought out. The quality of the product will help determine who your target audience is and where you place your product. There are many different channels of distribution for a product, and exact placement is key.

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Discussion Comments


@ istria- Here's an example of what Babalaas is talking about. A company promoting a new product may focus heavily on advertising, sales, and alternative marketing. The company may want to publicize heavily the product to get instant customer trials, and offer pricing incentives to vendors to gain product support and create excitement. The company may uses alternative methods like viral marketing, and social networking to build a fan base, and create loyal customers.

The disadvantages of these promotional strategies are that advertising can be expensive, sales promotions do not build long-term relationships with customers, and viral and social marketing provide little control over the marketing message. I hope this all helps.


@ Istria- Of the four p's, promotion and placement strategies are often the hardest for an entrepreneur to execute. Entrepreneurs often have great ideas, and can easily determine pricing strategies, but they have trouble with the execution of their great ideas.

A promotion mix is comprised of six elements: Advertising, sales promotions, direct marketing, personal sales, public relations, and alternative marketing. The successful marketing of a product integrates multiple promotional elements into the marketing mix, so understanding the benefits and disadvantages of each are very important. You do not want to waste all of your resources on ineffective promotional elements.


Can someone please elaborate on promotion strategies in relation to the 4 p's of marketing? I want to start a business, but everyone I talk to is always talking about my promotion mix and how important it is to business success. Can anyone tell me a little about some of the benefits and disadvantages of certain types of promotions?

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    • Entering displays that show mock-ups or prototypes into trade shows is part of the 'Promotion' aspect of the Four Ps.
      By: Pavel Losevsky
      Entering displays that show mock-ups or prototypes into trade shows is part of the 'Promotion' aspect of the Four Ps.