The 4 Ps of Marketing

4 ps of marketing, four p's of marketing

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Developing and deploying a marketing campaign, whether small or full-scale, can be very difficult, and not just from a financial standpoint. There are dozens of marketing strategies for small businesses to consider, but how many of them will generate results? That is a commonly asked question by small business owners when talking to marketing professionals, business consultants, and design firms. While there is no guarantee that a marketing campaign will produce a return on investment, four variables can help with strategic planning. We are referring to the 4 Ps of marketing.

The 4 Ps of marketing are product, price, place, and promotion, also known as the “marketing mix.” The concept of the 4 Ps was introduced decades ago. However, it is still relevant in today’s integrated and on-demand marketing world which is being transformed by digital technology, marketing automation, and conversational marketing, among others. If you haven’t heard of the 4 Ps of marketing or have and want a refresher, keep reading this Balboa Capital blog post. It has the information you are looking for.

Origin of the 4 Ps of marketing.

Today’s marketing professionals can thank E. Jerome McCarthy for coming up with the four pillars of marketing in 1960: product, price, place, and promotion, as reported by Help Scout¹. After extensive research, he determined that these four variables were needed to write an effective marketing plan that could support a company’s strategic and marketing goals.

Today, you cannot open a marketing book without seeing an array of marketing strategies, actionable guides, and branding methodologies. Even marketing companies and advertising agencies have their own “proprietary” processes and methods. The names and descriptions might be somewhat different, but they typically include elements of the 4 Ps of marketing.


The product is the first P in the marketing mix. It is the most important part of any marketing campaign because it is what the customer will be buying. Therefore, the product should be something people need or want; it should be appealing and have features that will entice consumers to buy it, rather than competitors’ products. Therefore, when marketing a product, business owners and strategists should focus on the target audiences’ needs and expectations and craft marketing messages that communicate product value and differentiation.

Businesses that have experienced success with certain products often expand their product lines with additional products once they’ve established their brands’ value. An example of this would be an olive oil producer adding balsamic vinegar, specialty salts, and spices to its product line.


Price is the second P in the marketing mix. Price is the cost at which a business sells its products or services to consumers. It can be adjusted depending on what type of customer they target, such as luxury brands that will charge more than budget brands. It is important to remember that price can make or break a sale. If prices are too high, people might be reluctant to buy.

Conversely, if prices are too low, people might not think it’s worth their money. In addition to the actual price of a product, there are pricing strategies that businesses use to help move inventory. These include coupons, sales, rebates, free shipping, third-party financing, and buy one, get one free (BOGO) offers.


Place is the third P in the marketing mix; it refers to where a business sells its products. Business owners have to make sure that they are selling their products somewhere where people will see them and be able to buy them easily. This might be at a physical location (e.g., a store, outlet, popup booth, or local event) or online, which requires a secure website with e-commerce capabilities.

Many businesses are also turning to online e-tailers and marketplaces to expand their reach and land new customers that live far outside their immediate service area.


Last but certainly not least in the marketing mix is promotion. This multi-faceted creative engine gets the word out through brand messaging, website marketing, social media posts, special promotions, email marketing, direct mail, trade shows/exhibitions, and various lead-generation efforts.

In years past, small businesses’ promotional efforts were limited to local print and radio ads, flyers, postcards, and small billboards. But technology has disrupted the marketing industry and opened the door to new ways to build brands, attract customers, and boost sales revenue. It is now possible for businesses to promote their products and services online and see the results of their efforts in real-time. Plus, marketing-savvy businesses are using customer relationship management (CRM) software to better identify prospects and convert them into paying customers.


Balboa Capital, a Division of Ameris Bank, is not affiliated with nor endorses Help Scout. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.