The marketing mix consists of various variables, which have broadly been classified into four categories, popularly known as four Ps of marketing.
These are: (i) Product, (ii) Price, (iii) Place, and (iv) Promotion, and are discussed as follows:
1. Product: Product means goods or services or ‘anything of value’, which is offered to the market for exchange.
The concept of product relates to not only the physical product as mentioned in the above examples but also the benefits offered by it from the customer's view point (for example toothpaste is bought for whitening teeth, strengthening gums, etc.). The concept of product also includes the extended product or what is offered to the customers by way of after sales services, handling complaints, availability of spare parts etc. These aspects are very important, particularly in the marketing of consumer durable products (like Automobiles, Refrigerators, etc.). The important product decisions include deciding about the features, quality, packaging, labelling and branding of the products.
2. Price: Price is the amount of money customers have to pay to obtain the product. In the case of most of the products, the level of price affects the level of their demand. The marketers have not only to decide about the objectives of price setting but to analyse the factors determining the price and fix a price for the firm’s products.
3. Place: Place or Physical Distribution include activities that make firm’s products available to the target customers. Important decision areas in this respect include selection of dealers or intermediaries to reach the customers, providing support to the intermediaries (by way of discounts, promotional campaigns, etc.).
4. Promotion: Promotion of products and services include activities that communicate availability, features, merits, etc. of the products to the target customers and persuade them to buy it. Most marketing organisations undertake various promotional activities and spend a substantial amount of money on the promotion of their goods through using a number of tools such as advertising, personal selling and sales promotion techniques (like price discounts, free samples, etc.).