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How to grow your business with the 4 Ps of marketing

4 Ps of marketing: team looking at the sticky notes on their board

Key takeaways 

  • Dating back to the 1950s, the 4 Ps of marketing still help businesses find and convert customers today
  • Also known as the marketing mix, the 4 Ps are product, price, place, and promotion
  • Include each of the 4 Ps in a strategic marketing plan for your business 

Reaching a target audience has long been the quest of marketers. And while there’s no one magic bullet to ensure your messaging finds the right customers, there is a specific strategy that has guided marketers for years: the marketing mix, also known as the 4 Ps of marketing. This traditional marketing concept theorizes that product, price, place, and promotion are vital— individually and collectively—when it comes to reaching your target customers.

Harvard University advertising professor Neil Borden first proposed the concept in the 1950s, and it was later expanded by American marketing professor E. Jerome McCarthy.  In the years since, the internet has revolutionized the ease of accessing customers. And just as brands have adapted to the digital age, the 4 Ps of marketing have also evolved. 

Read on to learn more about the 4 Ps of marketing and how to incorporate them in a business strategy to reach your target market and boost your bottom line. 

1. Product 

4 Ps of marketing: manager presenting to his team

Most business owners know that a great product or service doesn’t automatically translate to a successful company. The product is why the company was created, but providing a product that solves your customer’s problem is how your business will succeed and stand out. 

While plenty of new products are the “first of their kind” in the marketplace, there’s always room to improve. Perhaps another company’s product overlooks pain points or a certain demographic. For example, a lawncare business might offer scheduling that makes it difficult for customers to schedule last-minute appointments. To solve the problem, your business might evolve with an app of “on call” lawn providers who can be booked within a few hours. 

Businesses today have brought this concept into the digital age with product-market fit—a process that involves connecting a product with the needs of a decent-sized audience. They also use market research to test if the product is not only a good idea, but also to see if it will reach enough potential customers to create a demand in the market. 

2. Price

Entrepreneurs going through their stocks

Price may seem straightforward in the world of marketing: Your audience wants the right product at the right price point, sold to them at the right time. But effective pricing is about more than setting a baseline amount to cover your costs.

Consider the following when setting a price: 

  • The perceived value of the item in the marketplace 
  • Supply costs or variable expenses that could impact production and profit margins
  • Competitors’ prices for similar solutions

Today, most consumers are familiar with a broad range of pricing models, from one-time payments to monthly subscriptions to “pay as you go” arrangements. Consider the pros and cons of each of these options as you evaluate possible pricing models and use market research to set a baseline.

Setting your initial pricing using intention and strategy is crucial because how you determine and position your price points can have long-term effects on how you adjust your pricing and overall marketing strategy in the future. That said, the way you price your product at launch doesn’t have to be permanent. Pricing is one component that you can shift quickly and easily, especially after you have gathered data from your target customers about their perception of price. Try getting this information via methods like focus groups or surveys.

3. Place 

Place is no longer limited to your office location or physical storefront. When it comes to marketing strategy and customer needs, place is about getting your product in front of the right audience members. 

In the digital era, getting your service or product in front of your audience is increasingly important. With so many options for promotional activity, your marketing dollars make the biggest impact in places where your ideal customers have high intent to buy.

According to digital commerce researchers, companies that market on multiple channels retain 89% of their customers on average, compared to just 33% for companies that don’t. For example, most people check their phone up to 63 times per day. If you consider paid ads, organic social media marketing, or text messaging as part of your “place” strategy,you maximize your opportunities to connect with them. 

For a brick-and-mortar business, “place” may also refer to placing a product in certain stores or in specific areas of a physical shop, like the clearance section. But it can also refer to the placement of a product on television shows, in films, or on web pages in order to garner attention for the product.

No matter where you place a product, however, customer needs should dictate your choices. A successful marketing strategy brings a product or service to the places your audience already spends time. For example, if market research reveals that your target audience prefers buying products or making appointments online, you might open a virtual store or online booking to accommodate them. 


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4. Promotion 

Your promotional strategy and public relations campaigns are also crucial to communicating what you do and who you serve. This promotion can even be educational, as you might need to make the case about why potential customers need your product or service. That could be an infographic that lists the benefits of your product or a video that shows your services in action.

Promotion also generates better brand awareness for a company and product by connecting with an audience through mediums they already trust, like a local news spot or business listing. Your promotional strategy could take many forms, including a combination of traditional advertising, such as billboards and  direct marketing; digital advertising, such as Yelp Ads and email marketing campaigns; and public relations efforts, such as local television commercials. 

To reach your target customers today, successful promotion must span digital marketing, content marketing, and other distribution channels. Having a great product isn’t enoughyour marketing communications must also address potential customers


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Use the 4 Ps of marketing to grow your business 

To expand your business without reinventing the wheel (or in the absence of a trained marketing manager), remember the Four Ps of marketing. These four key elements can help you maximize your messaging to find and connect with your potential buyers. As with all things digital, your marketing strategy must evolve as new trends emerge and as you gather data about what performs well with your audience. 

Once you’ve mastered these basic marketing tools, implement marketing campaigns that utilize the 4 Ps of marketing for your business. Next, go beyond your website and social media channels and check out these top marketing tips for small businesses.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.