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Principles of the Marketing Mix

Updated on December 21, 2010

Successful Marketing Mix

Of all the marketing models, the principles of the marketing mix are the most commonly taught marketing theories and perhaps the most frequently utilized marketing tools in the development of organizations’ marketing strategies. The term marketing mix is believed to have first been used by Neil H. Borden in 1965. The original marketing mix consisted of twelve components fact finding and analysis, planning, pricing, branding, channels, selling, advertising, promotions, packaging, display, servicing, and handling. Over the years these principles of the marketing mix have evolved into the 4P’s product, price, place, and position.

The marketing mix is the written polices used by marketing managers to define the organizations’ marketing processes. In conjunction with the managerial accounting procedures, the marketing mix formulates the internal functions needed to drive the operations toward achieving the corporate-level strategic goals and objectives. One of the primary purposes of the marketing plan is to enable the company to sustain its competitive advantage over the competition. No matter how good the product, the right marketing plan is vital to maintaining a profitable return on sales.


The first of the four P’s in the marketing mix, product, can be described as the tangible assets the company has for sale or its intangibles such as services. Consumers’ demands play an integral role in the production processes, the demand will determine the quantity and quality of the merchandise manufactured and distributed. As demands change so too will there be a need for changes in the quantity and/or quality of the products produced.


Simply stated, the price in the four P’s is the dollar amount the sellers charges for their goods and/or services. It is essential that the seller establishes the price point that will cover operating costs and, at the same time, remains within the range customers are willing to pay. A key factor in managers’ decision processes when deciding on the price of a particular product is the prices of the competitors are charging.


Place in the four P’s is the distribution channels used to deliver the goods and/or services to the locations where customers are able to get access. Examples of distribution channels are vending machines, stores, catalogs, and websites. When conducting international operations direct and indirect exports, joint ventures, and strategic alliances are some of the channels that are used.


Sometimes referred to as promotion, position is the perception that is created in the minds of the customers by the company’s marketing program. Strategic modifications in the marketing mix such as the addition a product lines can create an entirely new brand name for the company. Tactical adjustments in the marketing mix, such as a seasonal discount, are used to create new price points for the company’s products.


Different companies utilize different marketing mixes ranging from a no-cost word of mouth advertisement to an expensive television commercial. Marketing managers must devise an effective mix of the product, price, place, and position to create the formula that is best suitable for their company’s goods and services. There are a number of factors in the external marketplace that will influence the internal decisions these managers make; however, it is the internal process that will determine the level of return on the stakeholders’ investments.


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