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The marketing mix is a business tool used in marketing products.

The marketing mix is

often synonymous with the 'four Ps': 'price', 'promotion', 'product', and 'place'. However, in
recent times, the 'four Ps' have been expanded to the 'seven Ps' with the addition of 'process',
'physical evidence' and 'people.

The term "marketing mix" was coined in 1953 by Neil Borden in his American Marketing
Association presidential address. However, this was actually a reformulation of an earlier
idea by his associate, James Culliton, who in 1948 described the role of the marketing
manager as a "mixer of ingredients", who sometimes follows recipes prepared by others,
sometimes prepares his own recipe as he goes along, sometimes adapts a recipe from
immediately available ingredients, and at other times invents new ingredients no one else has
tried.The term became popular in the article written by Neil Borden called The Concept of
the Marketing Mix. He started teaching the term after he learned about it with an associate.
The prominent marketer, E. Jerome McCarthy, proposed a Four P classification in 1960,
which has since been widely used by marketers throughout the world.

Four 'P's
The 'four Ps' consist of the followings.

Product - A product is seen as an item that satisfies what a consumer needs or wants.
It is a tangible good or an intangible service. Intangible products are service based
like the tourism industry & the hotel industry or codes-based products like cellphone
load and credits. Tangible products are those that can be felt physically. Typical
examples of mass-produced, tangible objects are the motor car and the disposable
razor. A less obvious but ubiquitous mass produced service is a computer operating
system.Every product is subject to a life-cycle including a growth phase followed by a
maturity phrase and finally an eventual period of decline as sales falls. Marketers
must do careful research on how long the life cycle of the product they are marketing

is likely to be and focus their attention on different challenges that arise as the product
moves through each stage.
The marketer must also consider the product mix. Marketers can expand the current
product mix by increasing a certain product line's depth or by increase the number of
product lines. Marketers should consider how to position the product, how to exploit
the brand, how to exploit the company's resources and how to configure the product
mix so that each product complements the other. The marketer must also consider
product development strategies.

Price The price is the amount a customer pays for the product. The price is very
important as it determines the company's profit and hence, survival. Adjusting the
price has a profound impact on the marketing strategy, and depending on the price
elasticity of the product, often, it will affect the demand and sales as well. The
marketer should set a price that complements the other elements of the marketing mix.
When setting a price, the marketer must be aware of the customer perceived value for
the product. Three basic pricing strategies are: market skimming pricing, marketing
penetration pricing and neutral pricing. The 'reference value' (where the consumer
refers to the prices of competing products) and the 'differential value' (the consumer's
view of this product's attributes versus the attributes of other products) must be taken
into account.

Promotion - represents all of the methods of communication that a marketer may use
to provide information to different parties about the product. Promotion comprises
elements such as: advertising, public relations, personal selling and sales promotion.

Advertising covers any communication that is paid for, from cinema commercials, radio
and Internet advertisements through print media and billboards. Public relations is where the
communication is not directly paid for and includes press releases, sponsorship deals,
exhibitions, conferences, seminars or trade fairs and events. Word-of-mouth is any apparently
informal communication about the product by ordinary individuals, satisfied customers or
people specifically engaged to create word of mouth momentum. Sales staff often plays an
important role in word of mouth and public relations (see 'product' above).

Place - refers to providing the product at a place which is convenient for consumers to
access. Place is synonymous with distribution. Various strategies such as intensive
distribution, selective distribution, exclusive distribution, franchising can be used by
the marketer to complement the other aspects of the marketing mix.

The Marketing Mix

(The 4 P's of Marketing)

Marketing decisions generally fall into the following four controllable categories:



Place (distribution)


The term "marketing mix" became popularized after Neil H. Borden published his 1964
article, The Concept of the Marketing Mix. Borden began using the term in his teaching in the
late 1940's after James Culliton had described the marketing manager as a "mixer of
ingredients". The ingredients in Borden's marketing mix included product planning, pricing,
branding, distribution channels, personal selling, advertising, promotions, packaging, display,
servicing, physical handling, and fact finding and analysis. E. Jerome McCarthy later grouped
these ingredients into the four categories that today are known as the 4 P's of marketing,
depicted below:

The Marketing Mix

These four P's are the parameters that the marketing manager can control, subject to the
internal and external constraints of the marketing environment. The goal is to make decisions
that center the four P's on the customers in the target market in order to create perceived
value and generate a positive response.
Product Decisions

The term "product" refers to tangible, physical products as well as services. Here are some
examples of the product decisions to be made:

Brand name






Repairs and Support


Accessories and services

Price Decisions

Some examples of pricing decisions to be made include:

Pricing strategy (skim, penetration, etc.)

Suggested retail price

Volume discounts and wholesale pricing

Cash and early payment discounts

Seasonal pricing


Price flexibility

Price discrimination

Distribution (Place) Decisions

Distribution is about getting the products to the customer. Some examples of distribution
decisions include:

Distribution channels

Market coverage (inclusive, selective, or exclusive distribution)

Specific channel members

Inventory management


Distribution centers

Order processing


Reverse logistics

Promotion Decisions

In the context of the marketing mix, promotion represents the various aspects of marketing
communication, that is, the communication of information about the product with the goal of
generating a positive customer response. Marketing communication decisions include:

Promotional strategy (push, pull, etc.)


Personal selling & sales force

Sales promotions

Public relations & publicity

Marketing communications budget

Limitations of the Marketing Mix Framework

The marketing mix framework was particularly useful in the early days of the marketing
concept when physical products represented a larger portion of the economy. Today, with
marketing more integrated into organizations and with a wider variety of products and
markets, some authors have attempted to extend its usefulness by proposing a fifth P, such as
packaging, people, process, etc. Today however, the marketing mix most commonly remains
based on the 4 P's. Despite its limitations and perhaps because of its simplicity, the use of this
framework remains strong and many marketing textbooks have been organized around it.