Understanding Marketing Mix: How to Use the 4 P’s in an Online World

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The term “marketing mix” was coined during the Mad Men era of marketing and sales. This idea of having the right product, in the right place and at the right price, has been a common marketing technique for many years.

But do these concepts still apply?

The internet wasn’t a well-formed concept in the 1960s and wasn’t key to marketing and advertising. The world has changed a lot in the past six decades and people are very different than they were back then.

To answer that question, we need to step back from all the talk about marketing channels and tactics. Instead of looking at the term “marketing mix,” let’s look at the ideas behind it and see how the 4 P’s play a role in online marketing today.

What Does “Marketing Mix” Mean?

The term “marketing mix” was inspired by James Culliton, who described the marketing manager as a “mixer of ingredients” back in the 1940s. The term “marketing mix” was coined by Neil Borden in his 1964 article “The Concept of the Marketing Mix.”

In his article, Borden discussed various elements that are essential for a good marketing strategy, such as product, planning, price, branding, distribution, display, packaging, advertising, promotions, and personal selling. Although his ideas were good, they were somewhat difficult to follow.

So, as marketers are wont to do, E. Jerome McCarthy eventually came up with four categories for all of the ingredients of marketing: the 4 P’s of marketing.

We will discuss the 4 P’s of marketing in a minute, but let’s return to the marketing mix for now. In other words, the “marketing mix” is a term that marketers use to describe the various elements that need to be considered when devising a marketing strategy. These elements are known as the “4 P’s”: product, price, promotion, and place.

Different companies will have different ratios of the 4 P’s in their marketing mix, but all companies need the right mix of all 4 P’s to be successful.

The Four P’s of Marketing

So what are these all-important 4 P’s? How do they play into your marketing strategy? And do they still apply today?

The 4 P’s are a marketing concept that refers to the main elements that are necessary in order for a company to successfully market its products. These main elements are: product, price, promotion, and place. If you have a plan for each element of your marketing strategy, it should be effective.

After taking everything into consideration, let’s see how these principles can be applied to online marketing.


The product is an item that is manufactured to satisfy a customer’s needs and can be either tangible or intangible. A tangible good is a physical item that you can touch, such as a smartphone, piece of clothing, or painting. An intangible good is a service that you can’t touch, such as medical or legal consultation.

As a marketer, it is important to understand not only what the product means for the business, but also what it means for the consumer. They should have a deep understanding of the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of the product, what will act as a massive differentiator with the rest of the competitors, its most prized features, and so on.

A deep understanding of a product is necessary to be able to effectively market it to the target audience.

Here are a few questions that marketers need to find answers for:

  1. How is your product going to help your customers?
  2. Will your product fulfill their needs fully?
  3. What are the most important features of your product?
  4. Are there any features that your product has missed out on that should also be included?
  5. How do you see your customers using your product? 
  6. What will your customers experience while using your product?
  7. How can they take full advantage of your product? 

A product’s ability to meet the needs of the market is the most important aspect. Even if there is no market for the product, it should be designed in a way that consumers will believe that it is what they were looking for.


Price is one of the four elements of the marketing mix, along with product, promotion, and place. It is the only element of the mix that produces revenue; the others are costs. What does the Price of a product say? How much the target audience values the product determines how successful it will be. If you base the product pricing on the value it provides, you will be able to attract buyers for it, whether that value is perceived or not. Your target market needs to understand the product’s value. Only then they will be buying it.

There are many factors that go into determining the pricing strategy for a product. You can charge a high price for a product if the customer feels that it is worth a lot. Other than the value that people perceive it to have, diamonds don’t have anything else going for them.

There are also businesses that sell products at a higher price to make the customer feel like they are buying a product that is worth more. Many people believe that products with higher prices have higher values, even if that may not be the case.

In some cases, businesses may want to reduce prices in order to increase the number of products sold. If you discounted the cost of the products, it might not always have a great result. If customers think that the business is selling a product for less than it is worth, it may be because the product is not as good as they thought it would be.

You can be successful no matter how you price your product. The success of your product depends on you setting the price according to your business model.


The term “place” in marketing refers to the target market. The location of the store where we are trying to sell the product is as important as the other 4Ps of marketing. The product’s delivery method and target consumers are dictated by the venue.

The main objective of a marketer is to present the product to their target audience. This means that you have to put your products in a place where your customers are located. The harder it is for someone to get in touch with you, the greater the friction. Your customers will look for a product that is easier to buy eventually.

Although the internet has made the world smaller by allowing people to communicate with each other from anywhere, there are still some problems that need to be addressed. If you want to sell a product to businesses, you shouldn’t market it on TikTok. If you want to be successful in B2B marketing, you need to use methods that are designed for businesses that market to other businesses. You need to pick the right channels to sell through.

If you own a traditional business, then you should attract clients by attending trade conferences and meetups. Being on the first page of Google search results is a good way to be seen by potential customers. The idea is simple- go where your customers are.


Special place is given to ‘Promotion’ in the 4Ps of marketing. It explains to the customer why they need the product and why it is worth setting aside a budget to purchase it. After ensuring that your product, place, and price are all set, you can begin to optimize your marketing activities, or promotion.

Before the internet became widely used, businesses relied on mass marketing tools like TV ads, billboards, radios, and pamphlets to reach their target market. The only problem with these methods is that you could not target your consumers based on their unique characteristics. Internet and digital tools allow businesses to target consumers by adding filters.

Here are some questions that you need to ask to get your Promotions on target:

  1. What are the channels used by our prospective customers to consume information?
  2. How will you send your marketing messages to your target market?
  3. What are the methods that attract the attention of our end consumers?
  4. Which kind of brand voice should I use when getting in touch with my prospective customers? 
  5. What are the tactics used by our competitors to get the attention of the consumers?
  6. Which is the best way to promote your product?
  7. What are some low-effort but high-value promotional tactics that we can use in our niche?
  8. When is the best time to promote?

What are the above questions? How will the answers help you with promotion tactics? The internet has given us superior tools to reach our target market. There are various marketing methods that companies use to reach their target customers, nurture them, and increase sales.

Where the Marketing Mix Breaks Down

Now that we have discussed the 4 P’s and how they relate to online marketing, it is time to talk about some of the challenges that online marketers face that their 60’s counterparts never had to deal with.


The four P marketing mix model was designed primarily for marketing goods, but can be used for services as well. This becomes more complicated when services are offered online and customers never interact with their service provider.

This creates an issue of trust.

Online, you can easily pretend to be something you could never be in person. An ugly, middle-aged sexual predator can lie about being a cute high-school boy, and an “American” marketing agency can actually be an Indian company.

It can be difficult to tell how reliable or qualified a service provider is, which makes many people hesitant to use online services. To account for these challenges, some people have proposed adding a few additional P’s to the marketing mix:

Even if you don’t decide to use these extra P’s in your marketing strategy, it’s still important to think about them as you make your plans. If your customers do not have confidence in your work, your staff, and your processes, they will find it much more difficult to agree to use your services.


When businesses focus too much on online marketing, they can lose sight of their customers. This can lead to creating campaigns and strategies that are not customer-centric, and as a result, the company can suffer from a loss of sales and customers. Scott’s expedition to the South Pole was a source of fascination The Robert F. Scott expedition to the South Pole has been a source of fascination for many people, even before the internet became popular. In his argument, Lauterborn stated that the 4P model has a fundamental limitation. The model is simply too product-centered.

The internet has only made things worse for businesses by preventing them from interacting directly with their customers.

Although it is important for a company to focus on its products, pricing, promotion strategies, and distribution networks, it is also important to remember the customers that make it all possible. This can lead to making decisions that appear to be good, but end up not working well in practice.

You are able to talk to your customers and help them offset the problem on a daily basis in a brick-and-mortar store. Businesses and marketing professionals may not have direct interactions with customers when they are online. When businesses are isolated from their customers, it can be difficult to understand them and their needs. This can be a fatal problem for businesses.

Online marketers need to focus on the customer instead of themselves to fix the problem. businesses should focus on their customers’ needs when creating marketing strategies and plans, instead of the other way around.


Many marketers tend to focus too much on promotion when it comes to online marketing, and neglect the other important aspects. This is a problem because an improperly balanced marketing mix can lead to marketing failures.

As was mentioned before, your promotional strategy won’t matter much if your product is poor or doesn’t serve a real market need. It is difficult to market a product that is not properly priced or one that has a poor distribution strategy.

The point is that while the internet has made advertising to the world incredibly easy, you need to pay attention to all of the P’s in order to have a complete marketing strategy. To be successful, you need a good marketing mix, not just the latest marketing tactic.


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