The 4 Ps of Marketing

Edward Jerome McCarthy who was a marketing professor at Michigan State University derived the 4 basic elements in marketing that is everything there is to the subject – he called it as the 4 Ps of marketing. These 4 elements stays to this day.

First P : Product

The product is the core, which is something that meets the requirement of the consumer. It can either be tangible or intangible such as a cellphone service or a car washing service. Examples of tangible products are what we can see and hold such as a cellphone, pencil eraser or a car. Some intangible products that are not services are software packages, like membership management software, and e-books. Although, they are products, they are not tangible but it’s not a service either.

All products have birth, sustenance and eventual death. The lifecycle of a product is something that the marketers need to give a good amount of thought while introducing the product in its nascent stages, how the maturity of a product enables it stay afloat and finally it gives way to something better, leading to a downfall in sales.

Apart from the product itself, product marketers must give weightage to the surroundings, the product range and the conflicts. No product must conflict with another that are being manufactured by the same unit. In other words, product lines must not compete with one another that come out of the same stable. For example, an automobile manufacturer launches different models which cater to different classes of consumers and with varying range of prices. He will not launch two cars with similar set of features and watch them compete against one another. It’s death by choice!

Second P : Price

The second quadrant in the four Ps – the price of a product or a service. A price set is all about perception as for as the consumer is concerned. If the consumer believes that the value of the product is good for consumption, he/she will gobble it up and the product’s demand will shoot through the sky and it will be a success. If otherwise, sales drop and the product falls groundwards. The challenge here is that the marketers should price the market perfectly. Firstly, they need to ensure that the company is making targeted profits. Second – it should not be too low that the consumer might start to think that the product or service is inferior.

While setting the price for a product, marketers must ensure that they find out the competition rates and rate accordingly. The brand value of the product can play a major role as well.

Third P : Promotion

As the P word suggests, it deals with promoting the product. In other words, communicating to consumers that such and such a product exists and it can do this, this and this and is priced only at yey.

There are four major types of promotion – advertising, public relations, personal selling and sales promotions. Advertising as well know is a paid service like Google Adsense where we pay for our ad to put up at various places. Public relations include news releases and other typically non-paid services that carries the word about the product. Personal selling concept is straight forward – an example could be you calling your best friend to tell him about the product you are launching. When sales teams are present, their antics in promoting the product is sales promotion.

Fourth P : Place

The last but not the very least unimportant. Place refers to the medium where the product is being marketed. It could be on the street, in a luxurious five star hotel or online. It refers to how a product is getting distributed from the producer to the consumer – what path it takes, is it efficient and optimized?


Abhinav Kaiser

Abhinav Kaiser is an author and a management consultant. He has authored Reinventing ITIL in the Age of DevOps, Become ITIL Foundation Certified in 7 Days and Workshop in a Box: Communication for IT Professionals. He works as an agile/devops coach in one of the top consulting firms. He advises businesses, organizations and enterprises in the areas of DevOps, IT service management and agile project management frameworks.


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