Marketing requires several activities to be done. To begin with, a company may choose to enter into one or more segments of a market, since it may not be possible to cover the entire market. The manufacturer of a bathing soap, for example, may aim at the working class in the middle or lower income groups as his target consumers. Once the target market is decided, the product is positioned in that market by providing the appropriate product qualities, price, distribution and advertising efforts. These and other relevant marketing functions are to be combined or mixed in an effective proportion so as to achieve the marketing goal. In order to appreciate this process, it is easier to divide the marketing activities into four basic elements which are together referred to as the  marketing mix.

These four basic elements are :

1) Product

2) Price

3) Promotion

4) Physical Distribution.

As all these four start with the letter 'P', they are referred to as the four Ps of the marketing mix or the four Ps in marketing. Thus, marketing mix may be defined as the set of controllable marketing variables/activities that the firm blends to produce the response it wants in the target markets. Let us study the four Ps in details.



The word product stands for the goods or services offered by the organisations. Once the needs are identified, it is necessary to plan the product and after that keep on analysing whether the product still satisfies the needs which were originally planned for, and if not, to determine the necessary changes. In the product, we study how are new products introduced? How have they to be modified in due course to continue to be successful in sales? Why should marginal or non-profitable products be removed, unless they are contributing in some way to the overall benefit of the organisation.



Price is the money that the consumer has to pay. Price must be considered as worth the value of the product to become an effective marketing tool. The product has to be reasonably priced. The manufacturer has to take into account cost factors, profit margin, the possibility of sales at different price levels and the concept of the right price.



Promotion is the aspect of selling and advertising or communicating the benefits of the product or service to the target customers or the market segment in order to persuade them to purchase such products or services. It includes selling through advertising as well as the sales force. Besides, a certain amount of promotion is also done through special seasonal discounts, competitions, special price reductions, etc.


Physical Distribution

Physical distribution refers to the aspect of the channels of distribution through which the product has to move before it reaches the consumer. It also includes the logistic aspects of distribution such as warehousing, transportation, etc., needed for geographical  distribution of products. It is also concerned with the selection of distribution channels. The organisation must decide whether it should sell through wholesalers and then to retailers, or whether directly to the consumers. There are many ways in wihch a product can be moved from the producer to the consumer. The optimum method has to be determined in terms of both consumer satisfaction and profitability to the organisation, or optimum use of the organisation's resources.

The manufacturer must design the most effective combination of these four basic factors as well as the expenditure he would like to incur on them. The variables that are relevant in the marketing mix vary from company to company. These variables are not independent in their effect on the marketing effort. One variable may influence the other. Apart from the expenditure involved, these decisions are influenced by the company's market positioning decision.

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