The 4Ps: Defining the Marketing Mix

Even if the term “Marketing Mix” first appeared in the 1960s, this concept created by McCarthy is not famous at all. Many people may have heard of it, but perhaps they are not sure about what does “Marketing Mix” mean or whats does this idea involve. Basically, it means a new way regarding the marketing, that focuses in 4 main features. So as to define the concept and define some basic steps regarding the topic, one main source has been used, the blog of Roberto Espinosa, and it has been completed with another sources, such as MindTools webpage. 

As explained in Roberto Espinosa’s blog, “Marketing Mix is one of the classic elements of Marketing”. As Rafael Muñiz narrates, this concept was coined by McCarthy in 1960, and it involved 4 basic features: product, price, place and promotion; and that is why this term is also known as the 4Ps, because all the components start with that letter. Roberto Espinosa also explains in his blog that, the 4Ps or the Marketing Mix are usually considered as the traditional variables that an organization might consider in order to fulfill its commercial objectives. So as to complete those objectives, is relevant to combine the 4 variables with total coherence in order to complement them. To understand the concept of the marketing mix is important to understand the significance of the 4 features that completes it:

  1. The Product: The product is the main variable of the Marketing Mix as it includes not only the goods but also the services that an enterprise sells, being the mean by which the needs of the customers are satisfied. As Espinosa narrates and taking the latter information into account, the product should have as its main objective to meet and satisfy the needs of the clients, instead of focusing on the characteristics of the product. Inside the concept of the “product” other terms are also relevant, as the brand, the image, the packaging or the after-sale service. As he also explains, the marketing director should also take decisions on other fields, such as the product portfolio, the differentiation strategy, the life cycle or even the launching of new products.
  2. The Price: Roberto Espinosa explains that the price is the variable of the Marketing Mix that permits the arrival of incomes to the business. Nevertheless, before deciding and fixing the price, is needed to take into account other features, such as the consumer, the market, costs, competence and so on. All in all, is the client the one who will show if te price chosen is correct or perhaps excessive.  In fact, it will be the client the one that will compare the value received with the purchase of the service or good, and the price he or she had paid when purchasing it. This variable may help to position the product as if the service or the good is of great quality, a high price may help reinforce the image of the brand or the product.
  3. The Place: Summarizing what Espinosa explains in his post, the distribution consists on the activities or tasks needed in order to move the finished  product to the different points of sale. The importance of this feature lies on the difficulty of enabling the access to the product, in the precise moment and place the customer is. All in all, there are different ways of distributing, that might change depending on the customers, the product, the characteristics of the market and the resources available. It is important to  mention different features inside the distribution, such as the storage, the stock, the transport, the location  of the different points of sales and other characteristics.
  4. The Promotion: This characteristic enables the brand to put themselves or their products on the map. With this action, the business permits their product to get to be known among their possible public. There exist different promotion tools, to mention some of the ones mentioned by Espinosa: personal sales, sales promotion, publicity, direct marketing and public relations.  The way those tools are combined is defined by the product, the market, the customers, the competence and the  strategy that is already designed.
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As it is explained by Espinosa, the importance of the Marketing Mix can be found in the fact that, even if during the XX century the product had the absolute relevance, currently, is the customer the one with that importance, as is the one who sets the norms of the game. Due to this, the each feature of the Marketing Mix is focused on the client: What does my client need?, How much costs to keep our clients satisfied?, Which is the better way to provide the customers?, How do I communicate with my clients?

In the present times is not enough to manufacture the product, but is also essential to study the clients, their needs, in order to design a plan. By doing this, is also possible to discover how much costs to keep the customers satisfied, and how that satisfaction is going to be returned to the business. If analyzing the customers, it can also be found what they find more comfortable regarding the placement of a product. Besides, even if years ago the only communication was from the brand to the customer, however, nowadays, the clients do not only want to listen to what the brand says, but they also want to take part and dialogue with the enterprise, especially, thanks to the current social media presence of many brands.

In “Mind Tools”, they explain a few tips of could be possible to define a Marketing Mix strategy. First of all, is needed to identify the product or service that is going to be analyzed, and then, a research regarding the 4Ps should be carried out. In the webpage is also suggested to ask to ourselved questions with “why” and “What if”, e.g.: “Why your target audience needs a particular feature?, What if you drop your price?”. Is also suggested that, after having defined and ansewered the questions and tasks mentioned above, some questions could be asked to the customers, all of them regarding the 4Ps. Finally, on the webpage also suggest to keep making changes on the strategy until one is totally satisfied, and to review the strategy regularly, as the market is continously changing.


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