The Four P’s of Marketing

Posted June 4th, 2013

Marketing involves a wide range of activities and it is easy to see that it affects everything that a business does. In fact, effective marketing must be linked to all of the functions of the business. A key reason for this is so that all marketing efforts and activities across the organisation align with its goals.

A classic approach by John Kotler divided marketing into 4 aspects known as the 4 Ps. This is also referred to as the marketing mix by some people.

The 4 Ps of Marketing

The four elements of the marketing mix do not work in isolation but are interdependent of each other.

Product: There is no point in developing or acquiring products that nobody wants to buy. It is also important that products are reliable and meet the requirements of customers.

Price: A product is only worth what customers are prepared to pay for it. Customers will also want value for money. It can help to think of price in terms of ‘cost’ to the customer.

It is also important to remember that the price must provide a profit for the business.

Place: The place where customers can buy the product and the means of delivering it are also important. These must be convenient to the customer. In simple terms, products must be available to customers at the right place, at the right time and in the right quantities.

Promotion: This is the way in which a business communicates with its customers to tell them what it can and does offer. Communications may include advertising, public relations, information contained in packaging, branding and many other activities.

These communications must be consistent and provide customers with reasons to choose your products and services. Of course these communications also need to be accurate. If you make claims about your products and services it is important that they live up to those claims.

The Extended Marketing Mix

Most marketers recognise that the quality service customers receive is just as important as the product itself. Recent thinking is that the 4P’s of marketing should be extended to take account of this and that there are three other elements to consider. This extends the marketing mix to 7P’s.

This is sometimes known as the ‘extended marketing mix’.

This is particularly important in service industries where there is no physical product (for example banking and insurance).

These three elements are added to the 4Ps in the extended marketing mix.



Physical Evidence


Customers judge a service based on the employees they interact with.

Our people are essential to providing a service to our customers. It is important to recruit the right people with the right attitudes to customer service. It is also important that they are properly trained. They must have the right knowledge and skills (including interpersonal skills) to ensure that they provide a first class service.


It is of little use having excellent people working for you if your systems and procedures stop them from providing the service your customers deserve.

• Do we keep customers informed?

• Do they know how to use our products and our service?

• How do we deal with payments and refunds?

• Is it easy for our customers to contact us?

• What do we do when our service goes wrong?

Physical Evidence:

This is important when a pure service is being sold. This is because it is not usually possible to experience a service before it is delivered. For example, if you buy an insurance policy you don’t really know how good the service is until you have to make a claim. This means that it can be difficult for customers because they are buying something intangible. The risk involved in this can be reduced by helping customers to see what they are buying.

There are a number of ways in which marketers provide some form of physical evidence to help overcome this. These include:

• Case studies and customer testimonials

• Brochures, catalogues and other documents

• Free trials

This is a short extract from the Trainer Bubble training course materials for ‘Marketing Essentials’, which can be purchased from our website at


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