A marketing mix is a plan or tool that is used in marketing planning and establishing marketing activities and objectives by marketing professionals within a firm, company or organization. Knowing a company’s marketing mix can be essential in understanding and determining the quality or nature of a product or service, or that of a brand or company. Though generally the marketing mix is synonymous with the four Ps – price, product, promotion and place –, they were subsequently expanded to be seven or even eight Ps, depending on the nature of the product that is being offered, or the service rendered.
In some instances though, the marketing mix is related to the four Cs, which came to replace the four Ps and which are more customer-oriented. Nowadays there are two four Cs theories, devised by Lauterborn – consumer, cost, communication, convenience –, and Shimizu: commodity, cost, communication, and channel. The term “marketing mix” was introduced in the marketing realm in 1948, when James Culliton referred to the marketing manager as being a mixer of ingredients. His friend, Neil Borden liked the expression and transformed it into marketing mix, which he immediately started teaching to his students.
Yet generally the term refers to someone who either follows a given recipe, or prepares his own recipe or even adapts the recipe from whatever ingredients are available to him. The four Ps marketing mix was devised in 1960 by E. Jerome McCarthy and it has been used worldwide since then. Thus, product is the item that the customer desires and finds use or pleasure from; it can be a tangible object or an intangible service. Price is very important in the marketing mix because it is the establishing of the product’s value and it expresses the amount the customer has to pay and the probable profit that the company can make; price has a great influence over the marketing strategy.
Promotion means all the methods and activities the companies will enterprise in order to sell the product and it can consist of advertising, sales promotion, public relations and so on. Last among the four Ps, place refers to the location where the product will be available for purchase and it also refers to the distribution process; this can be achieved through several methods, depending on the company’s marketing strategy and it can be intensive distribution, exclusive distribution, selective distribution and even enfranchisement. The other fours Ps that can be part of the marketing mix – depending on the type of product involved – are people, physical environment, process and packaging.