The Marketing Mix

The Marketing Mix The 4 P’S to the 7 P’s

Working in Marketing is unlike working in any other sector – it is continually evolving and quite often companies can find that they have been left behind by their competitors.  The Marketing Mix is a tool used by businesses and marketers to help define a product or brands offering.

In 1960 Edmund Jerome McCarthy, an American marketing professor and author, proposed the concept of the 4 Ps marketing mix in his 1960 book Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach, which has been one of the top textbooks in university marketing courses since its publication.

Over the years there have been some fundamental changes to the basic marketing mix.   Originally there were the 4 P’s to explain the marketing mix, now it is more commonly accepted that a more developed 7 P’s adds further breadth and depth to the Marketing Mix.

Here is a quick run through of the original 4 P’s of the Marketing Mix.

The Marketing Mix 4 P’s

  • Product– The Product should fit the task consumers want it for, it should work and it should be what the consumers are expecting to get.
  • Place– The product should be available from where your target consumer finds it easiest to shop. This may be High Street, Mail Order or the more current option via e-commerce or an online shop.
  • Price– The Product should always be seen as representing good value for money. This does not necessarily mean it should be the cheapest available; one of the main tenets of the marketing concept is that customers are usually happy to pay a little more for something that works really well for them.
  • Promotion– Advertising, PR, Sales Promotion, Personal Selling and, in more recent times, Social Media are all key communication tools for an organisation. These tools should be used to put across the organisation’s message to the correct audiences in the manner they would most like to hear, whether it be informative or appealing to their emotions.

The 7 P’S

In the late 1970s it was felt that the marketing mix was evolving, and services should be added into the “Marketing Mix”.   This led to the creation of the Extended Marketing Mix in 1981 by Bernard H. Booms and Mary J Bitner  (Booms & Bitner) which further developed the traditional marketing mix originally developed by Jerome McCarthy.  This added 3 new elements to the 4 Ps Principle. This allowed the extended Marketing Mix to include products that are services and not just physical things.

The Extended 7 P’s

  • People– All companies are reliant on the people who run them from front line Sales staff to the Managing Director. Having the right people is essential because they are as much a part of your business offering as the products/services you are offering.
  • Processes–The delivery of your service is usually done with the customer present so how the service is delivered is once again part of what the consumer is paying for.
  • Physical Evidence– Almost all services include some physical elements even if the bulk of what the consumer is paying for is intangible. For example, a hair salon would provide their client with a completed hairdo and an insurance company would give their customers some form of printed material. Even if the material is not physically printed (in the case of PDFs) they are still receiving a “physical product” by this definition.

Though in place since the 1980’s the 7 Ps are still widely taught due to their fundamental logic being sound in the marketing environment and marketers’ abilities to adapt the Marketing Mix to include changes in communications such as social media, updates in the places which you can sell a product/service or customers’ expectations in a constantly changing commercial environment.


Is there an 8th P?

To some there are 8 P’s in the Marketing Mix. The final P is Productivity and Quality.

This came from the old Services Marketing Mix and is folded into the Extended Marketing Mix by some marketers.

The 8th P of the Marketing Mix

Productivity & Quality – This P asks “is what you’re offering your customer a good deal?” This is less about you as a business improving your own productivity for cost management, and more about how your company passes this onto its customers.

Even after over 30 years (or 50+ in the case of the original P’s) the Marketing Mix is still very much applicable to a marketer’s day to day work. A good marketer will learn to adapt the theory to fit with not only current trends but their individual business model.  There have been some fundamental changes to the basic Marketing mix.   Originally there were the 4 Ps to explain the marketing mix, now it is more commonly accepted that a more developed 7 Ps adds further breadth and depth.


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