The marketing mix is one way to consider the elements of a business’s marketing activities. Marketing mix variables consist of what are called the 'Four Ps' — product, price, promotion, and placement. Each one of these may be altered to meet the needs of the product’s group of intended consumers, also known as the target market. In some marketing systems, the marketer’s Four Ps correspond to what is referred to as the customer’s 'Four Cs,' which detail a buyer's objectives.
Each of the four Ps can be designed to deliver a customer benefit described by one of the four Cs. Product corresponds to Customer Solution. Price is tied to Customer Cost. Place matches with Customer Convenience, and Promotion with Communication.
Marketing mix variables for products may be designed to deliver solutions to customer problems or satisfy consumer desires. Components of a product include quality, design, features, packaging, and sizes. A product’s brand name, related services, and any warranties are factors influencing a both the product and the consumer.
Price is closely tied to the needs of the product’s target market. For example, if the product is made for high-end consumers, then the item can have a higher price point. Economy products are produced for lower income consumers. The price of a product may be thought of as the cost to the consumer, and consumers are often looking for the lowest cost for the highest value. Other potential elements of pricing include discounts, lines of credit, and payment schedules.
Promotion encompasses the marketing mix variables associated with advertising and communicating product value to target market members. This includes advertisements on television, radio, magazines, and online. Communicating product value also involves sales promotions, public relations, and direct marketing. Sales force members, such as customer service representatives and sales associates, are responsible for personally communicating product value to potential customers.
The 'place' is where the customer goes to buy the product and how the product gets from the manufacturer to the customer. In a conventional system, goods are shipped to retail stores where consumers eventually buy them. Increasingly popular online storefronts allow the customer’s computer to be the point of purchase.
In a system known as Integrated Marketing, each element of the marketing mix is designed to offer a unified message. This is intended to capture the attention of the product’s target market and entice potential consumers. Sometimes, the nature of the product attracts specific target market members, and other times the requirements of the consumer dictates the marketing mix variables.