The 4 P's

Here’s the situation:

You’re a freshman in college and it’s your first day of classes. It’s 8am, you have all your books lined up on one of the miniature desktops in the Business Building, and your Marketing professor walks through the door practically giddy with excitement just thinking about the infamous “4 P’s of Marketing.”

Sound familiar? I’m pretty sure every Marketing student in the history of higher education has a similar story.

But in the midst of the excitement you forgot to listen to what the 4 P’s actually are…so how about a re-cap?


The term product is a kind of umbrella term for all products and services offered by a company for sale. It can be tangible, like a pair of shoes, or intangible, like the time spent by your contractor to spruce up your humble abode. Product decisions include everything from design and styling to packaging and warranty options. What do consumers think of when they think of a particular product…that’s what’s important to keep in mind when you, as head marketing executive, are leading your company’s brainstorming session to bring those cool, new running shoes to market.


The American economy is based on the exchange of currency for goods. Perhaps the most crucial part of this system, however, is determining the appropriate price for the goods being sold. Is the value of the product reflected in the price it’s being offered for? Is there flexibility in the price at which it can be sold? Is the practice of price discrimination, one that has been so effective in determining the prices airlines and movie theaters charge for tickets, applicable to this particular product? Or is bundling a better option? Will the customer be inclined to buy more of this product during the Summer? Is there a surplus in the Winter that will lend itself to reduced prices? The list of questions and possible answers is endless. What is important, however, is that these questions are proposed before the price of a product is officially determined and advertised. Which brings us to the next P…


Marketing is all about having consumers think highly of the product you’ve brought to the market. The way to do this is successfully promoting the product by way of memorable advertisements, favorable publicity, sales promotions, and countless other promotional activities. Public relations and marketing communications are crucial for the successful launch of a new product. What does the consumer know about the product? What are their thoughts on it after watching commercials, looking at advertisements, and receiving coupons in the mail? It all comes down to your consumers’ reactions.


Finally we must think about logistics. Where will your product be sold? How will it get there? In what stores will it be displayed? What about warehouses? Will you ship via plane, train, or automobile? Will you have brick and mortar stores or will you be an online retailer? These final questions are all about how you get your product to your customer. Let’s say the price is right, your ads were catchy, and the product is riveting…how will those great running shoes make their way onto your customers feet? All is lost without a solid distribution channel, so be thoughtful when considering place.

I hope this post hasn’t brought back too many bad memories of that first semester Marketing course…almost as much as I hope a quick review of the 4 P’s will be a useful reminder of what marketing is all about!

Take a look at this awesome site I used for reference, it really breaks each layer down into its most basic elements.