Marketing Mix: Defined

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The marketing mix is a fundamental concept in marketing strategy, often referred to as the '4Ps': Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. This concept is a business tool used in the marketing and business industry to help determine a product or brand's offering. The marketing mix principles are controllable variables which have to be carefully managed and must meet the needs of the defined target group. All elements of the mix are linked and must support each other.

While the 4Ps framework for defining a strategy has been popular for decades, many marketers have begun to encounter its limitations. As a result, several adaptations have been proposed, including the addition of People, Process, and Physical evidence to form the 7Ps of service marketing. In this comprehensive glossary entry, we will delve into each of these components in detail, providing a thorough understanding of the marketing mix.


The product is the first element in the marketing mix. It refers to what a company is selling, which can be a physical good, a service, or a digital product. The product should fulfill a consumer need or want. This includes not only the physical unit but also includes features like brand name, packaging, after-sales service, warranty, etc. The product decisions should consider the product's advantages and how they will be leveraged.

Product strategies may vary depending on the stage of the product's life cycle. For example, during the introduction phase, the strategy may focus on building awareness and developing a market for the product. During the growth phase, the strategy may focus on building brand preference and increasing market share. In the maturity phase, the strategy may focus on maintaining market share and extending the product life cycle by rejuvenating the product.

Product Life Cycle

The Product Life Cycle (PLC) is a theoretical model that describes the stages a product goes through from when it was first thought of until it finally is removed from the market. Not all products reach this final stage. Some continue to grow, and others rise and fall. The main stages of the product life cycle are: Introduction, Growth, Maturity, and Decline.

The PLC is a beneficial model used by marketers to understand and manage the life of a product. Each stage in the PLC has certain characteristics and requires different kinds of marketing strategies. Understanding where products are in their life cycle can lead to informed business decisions.


The second element of the marketing mix is Price, which refers to the amount a customer pays for the product. It is determined by various factors including market share, competition, material costs, product identity, and the customer's perceived value of the product. The business may increase or decrease the price of the product depending on the price elasticity of the product, competitor actions, trade margins, and input costs.

Pricing is a critical strategic issue because it is related to product positioning. Furthermore, pricing affects other marketing mix elements such as product features, channel decisions, and promotion. A pricing strategy is a method companies use to price their products or services. Almost all companies, large or small, base the price of their products and services on production, labor, and advertising expenses and then add on a certain percentage so they can make a profit.

Pricing Strategies

There are several pricing strategies that a business can employ: Penetration pricing, Skimming pricing, Competition pricing, Product Line Pricing, Bundle Pricing, Psychological pricing, and Premium pricing. Each strategy is unique in how it helps marketers build a profitable business.

For instance, penetration pricing is a pricing strategy where the price of a product is initially set low to rapidly reach a wide fraction of the market and initiate word of mouth. This strategy can sometimes discourage the entry of competitors. Skimming pricing, on the other hand, is a strategy where a high price is set for a new product to skim revenues layer by layer from the market.


The third element in the marketing mix is Place, also known as distribution. It refers to providing the product at a place which is convenient for consumers to access. Various strategies such as intensive distribution, selective distribution, exclusive distribution, and franchising can be used by the marketer to complement the other aspects of the marketing mix.

Place or distribution strategies are concerned with making products available when and where customers want them. A part of this process involves selecting the appropriate distribution channels. The choice of distribution method will depend on a variety of circumstances. It will be more convenient for some manufacturers to sell to wholesalers, who then sell to retailers, while others might prefer to sell directly to retailers or customers.

Distribution Channels

Distribution channels are the pathways that companies use to sell their products to end-users. They are a key element in the company's entire marketing strategy. They help you expand your reach and grow revenue. The three types of distribution channels are direct, indirect, and hybrid.

Direct channels are company-owned and allow the company to sell their products directly to consumers. Indirect channels involve multiple intermediaries before the product gets into the hands of the end-user. Hybrid channels, as the name suggests, is a combination of direct and indirect channels.


The fourth and final element of the marketing mix is Promotion. This includes all of the tools available to the marketer for marketing communication. As with Neil H. Borden’s marketing mix, marketing communications has its own 'promotions mix.' Think of it like a cake mix, the basic ingredients are always the same. However, the way you mix these ingredients, and the amounts you use affect the final result.

Promotion is the business of communicating with customers. It will provide information that will assist them in making a decision to purchase a product or service. The razzmatazz, pace, and creativity of some promotional activities are almost alien to normal business activities. The cost associated with promotion or advertising goods and services often represents a sizable proportion of the overall cost of producing an item.

Promotion Mix

The promotion mix is the blend of different methods and tools of communication you use in presenting your company, products, or services to target customers. The promotion mix includes the following tools: advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, public relations, and direct marketing.

Advertising is any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, or services by an identified sponsor. Personal selling is oral communication with potential buyers of a product with the intention of making a sale. Sales promotion includes short-term incentives to encourage the buying of products. Public relations involves building good relations with the company’s various publics by obtaining favorable publicity, building up a good corporate image, and handling or heading off unfavorable rumors, stories, and events. Direct marketing involves making direct connections with carefully targeted individual consumers to both obtain an immediate response and cultivate lasting customer relationships.


In conclusion, the marketing mix is a multifaceted, strategic instrument that marketers employ to promote their goods or services. It is a set of actions, or tactics, that a company uses to promote its brand or product in the market. The 4Ps make up a typical marketing mix - Product, Price, Promotion, and Place. However, nowadays, the marketing mix increasingly includes several other Ps like Packaging, Positioning, People, and even Politics as vital mix elements.

Understanding the marketing mix is an essential task for marketers. Each element is crucial in its own right and needs to be given due focus. The marketing mix helps you define the marketing elements for successfully positioning your market offer. One of the best-known models is the 4Ps of Marketing, which helps you define your marketing options in terms of product, place, price, and promotion.

About the author

Hi, I'm Justin and I write Brand Credential.

I started Brand Credential as a resource to help share expertise from my 10-year brand building journey.

I currently serve as the VP of Marketing for a tech company where I oversee all go-to-market functions. Throughout my career I've helped companies scale revenue to millions of dollars, helped executives build personal brands, and created hundreds of pieces of content since starting to write online in 2012. Thank you for reading and feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.

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