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What Are The 4 Ps Of Marketing? Should We Update Them For Digital Marketing?

The 4Ps of marketing are a model for deciding the key elements of a marketing strategy, developed by E. Jerome McCarthy, a professor of marketing, in the 1960s. McCarthy introduced the model in his book, Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach.

McCarthy’s 4Ps model was intended to provide a framework for businesses to use when developing a marketing strategy. The model is based on the idea that a business’s marketing efforts should be focused on four key areas: product, price, place, and promotion.

The 4Ps model has become one of the most widely used frameworks in marketing and has been adopted by businesses and educators around the world. It is often used in marketing courses as a way to introduce students to the key elements of marketing and to help them understand how to develop and implement a marketing plan.

4p model for marketing

The 4Ps of Marketing:

By considering each of these elements, businesses can create a holistic plan for reaching and appealing to their target customers.

  1. Product – This refers to the goods or services that a business offers to its customers. The product should meet the needs and wants of the target market and should be differentiated from the products of competitors.
  2. Price – This refers to the amount that customers are willing to pay for the product. The price should be set in a way that reflects the value of the product to the customer while also considering the cost of producing and distributing the product.
  3. Place – This refers to the channels through which the product is distributed and made available to customers. This could include physical stores, online marketplaces, or other distribution channels.
  4. Promotion – This refers to the marketing activities that a business uses to communicate the value of its product to potential customers. This could include advertising, public relations, social media marketing, and other tactics.

The 4Ps model is a framework that businesses can use to develop and implement a successful marketing strategy. It’s also sometimes referred to as the Marketing Mix.

How Has Digital Marketing Impacted The 4Ps of Marketing?

While the rise of digital technologies has led to the emergence of new marketing channels and tactics, the fundamental principles of marketing outlined in the 4Ps model largely remain the same. That said, I do believe there are other significant changes in both consumer and business behavior that are outside of the model that has a significant impact on a consumer’s decision to purchase.

In the 1960s, companies had a distinct advantage over today’s companies… consumers didn’t have the internet. The internet has changed everything by putting all the tools of research into the consumer’s hands and expanding competition globally to research, identify, price, purchase, and deliver products and services.

Another P that has entered the buyer’s decision is researching the company’s principles:

  • Principles – A corporation’s principles may include its purpose, cultural beliefs, or charitableness. Many consumers want to work with companies that are guided by a strong sense of social responsibility or a desire to make a positive impact locally or on the world. The internet has empowered consumers to do this research online.

More Ps – Here are other factors that are impacting consumer behavior with the introduction of the digital marketplace:

  • Peer Reviews – A company or product’s reputation is a critical element that can not be understated when it comes to digital marketing. We’ve seen companies who have had to rebrand and relaunch their products when online reviews devastated them. The growth of word-of-mouth, influencer marketing, and third-party review sites is accelerating the impact of peer reviews.
  • Periodicity – I am an avid online shopper, but there’s nothing worse (in my opinion) than bombarding me relentlessly with ads, emails, and other messaging to try and impact my behavior. It’s exhausting… and often leads me to unsubscribe from all communications. They didn’t lose me as a customer because of the product of their quality or service… they lost me because they didn’t respect me enough to personalize communications how I want to receive them.
  • Privacy – Consumers are growing weary of their privacy being abused. Third-party cookies that share your web interactions with social media or advertising platforms are being exploited by advertisers that relentlessly pursue their target audiences. The pushback is leading to more finite permission requests, ad-blocking technologies, and other browser advancements… and motivating government regulation.

As marketing technologies incorporate artificial intelligence, my hope is that our days of blasting consumers are coming to an end and we’re more closely aligned with their personal preferences. In the meantime, though, I do believe digital marketers must look beyond the simple 4P model when developing their digital strategies.

Disclosure: Martech Zone is using its affiliate link for Amazon for the book link in this article.

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the founder of the Martech Zone and a recognized expert on digital transformation. Douglas has helped start several successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to launch his own platforms and services. He's a co-founder of Highbridge, a digital transformation consulting firm. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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