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Marketing Mix: 4 P’s or 7 P’s of Marketing or Extended Even More?

One of the most famous concepts in marketing is the marketing mix or the 4 P’s of marketing.

What’s Included In This Article On The Marketing Mix

In this long article I look at the traditional marketing mix and how the marketing mix has been extended for service marketing with the 7 P’s of Marketing.

I then consider just how many P’s there are in marketing since there have been many derivations of the marketing mix.

I also look at the different versions of the marketing mix based on a wide variety of Ps of marketing – the 5 Ps, 6 Ps, 8 Ps, 9 Ps etc- you’ll be surprised at just how many different versions of the marketing mix there are.

Which is right for you?

Whatever marketing model gives you new insights into making your marketing more successful and effective.

The Traditional Marketing Mix or The 4 P’s of Marketing

The marketing mix was designed as a simple way to focus attention on the main elements of marketing for a business and to create a marketing strategy either at business, product or campaign level.

Some clever marketer played around with the words and realised that the concepts could be described with words beginning with the letter P – and created the 4Ps of marketing.

  • Product – what you are selling
  • Price – how much you are charging for your product
  • Promotion – how you tell people about your offer i.e. your product and price
  • Place – how people can buy your product

So for any marketer, the aim is simple.

To sell the right product (that customers want) at the right price (which customers can afford and are willing to pay) at a convenient place using effective promotions.

The essential idea is that each element of the marketing mix should be consistent, fit together and reinforce the other elements.

So you don’t market a premium product at a “pile ’em high” price.

You don’t market a premium product with tatty “done from home by your 9 year old daughter” promotional material – unless of course it is targeted at people with 9 year old daughters who might find it very appealing.

And you don’t sell your premium product at the local flea market.

Remember the marketing mix is about consistent fit.

Criticisms Of The Marketing Mix and the 4 P’s of Marketing

The marketing mix has been a mainstay of teaching marketing to students and professionals for fifty years although, like any well established idea, it is also criticised.

One thought is that it is too product focused and doesn’t translate well into the growing service based economy we live in – see the 7’s of the Service Marketing Mix below).

Others criticise the marketing mix as a tool for setting marketing strategy because it doesn’t have a goal – or I suppose beginning with P that should be Purpose – making a profit, generating quick cash flow, a low priced front end product which opens up the opportunity for future sales.

Without establishing purpose, how do you know if you have a marketing mix which is suitable? The intentions of building brand awareness, gaining more market share and increasing profit can be very different.

An equally relevant criticism is the internal focus of the traditional 4 P’s of marketing.

Where is the customer in the discussion of marketing, which however you dress it up, is concerned with persuading particular customers to buy?

So in this case, we should be adding another P – for purchaser to keep the focus on the target customer, what they want, need and what motivates them.

And if marketing is about wanting customers to buy, the traditional marketing mix is for suppliers pushing products into the marketplace and not customers pulling products out of the potential suppliers based on their needs and wants through market research.

This was fine in the old days when demand exceeded supply but it’s much more difficult when markets have fragmented and there are many niche products targeted at small customer segments.

I can’t think of a word beginning with P for the market research issue so at the moment I’m going with Push/Pull to communicate the idea in a new marketing mix. (Please leave comments with any suggestions).

If customers need to feel confident before they buy – to know, like and trust you – then there is no mention of the development of Personal Relationships which are an essential element of 21st century marketing.

Just to recap I have suggested that the marketing mix is missing:

  • Purpose (normally profit)
  • Purchaser
  • Push/Pull
  • Personal Relationships

Service Marketing Mix – The 7 P’s of Service Marketing

In my MBA I was taught the traditional marketing mix based on the 4 P’s and also taught the Service Marketing Mix or the 7 P’s of marketing.

There are special characteristics of a service which make is marketing different from selling products. Perhaps most of all, you can pick up a product and see, feel and touch it. You can’t do that with services because they are intangible.

The 7 P’s of Marketing pick up the traditional marketing mix of Product, Price, Promotion and Place and added:

  • People – services are performed by people whose performance influences the quality of the service delivered and perceived to be delivered.
  • Process – it’s not just the attitudes of the person that matters but the process they use to provide the service.
  • Physical evidence – services are intangible so the customer looks for physical clues about the quality.

How Many P’s Should There Be In The Marketing Mix?

So far we have the original 4 P’s of marketing, the extra 3 P’s added in the Service Marketing Mix and my four P’s based on critiquing the marketing mix.

That takes us up to 11 P’s of marketing.

UK marketing consultant  Fraser Hay published a list of the 5 fundamental principles of marketing:

  • Positioning
  • Packaging
  • Promotion
  • Persuasion
  • Performance

Since promotion is already covered in the traditional marketing mix, this adds another 4P’s to the marketing list – positioning, packaging, persuasion and performance.

Positioning is particularly important because it brings in vital concepts like differentiation and the unique selling proposition.

Then I Started Brainstorming About Marketing

Do the 15 Ps identified so far summarise what marketing has to offer and the important characteristics of marketing?

I don’t think so.

The first marketing book I ever read – getting on for 25 years ago was Offensive Marketing by Hugh Davison – it got me hooked. That book used an acronym of POISE.

  • Profitable – even in loss leading campaigns and image advertising to build brands, there has to be a clear path to profit.
  • Offensive – perhaps Proactive would be more suitable in this situation.
  • Integrated – your marketing has to Pull together and not consistent of a scatter gun approach of different campaigns which send out conflicting messages.
  • Strategic – I mentioned Purposeful earlier
  • Effective – it has to work. Marketing that creates results is an investment, marketing that produces nothing is a waste of time, effort and money so the best P I can come up with is Perform – this is different to Fraser Hay’s performance which I believe relates to the product or service you provide.

The Marketing P’s Don’t End There

We are bombarded with marketing messages and spam coming into our email inboxes so Seth Goden’s concept of Permission Marketing is becoming increasingly relevant – and Permission is another P.

And isn’t marketing about helping a customer finding a solution to a Problem?

Aren’t customers motivated by the thoughts of moving away from Pain or towards Pleasure?

One of the key factors I stress in my marketing coaching is the need to be intentional – to decide what you want and to work out how you will achieve it – i.e to Plan your marketing.

Further thinking brings in two extra Ps – you need to have Periodic communications since one marketing message won’t do the job and you need to be Persistent.

In fact because of the difficulty of building up the know, like and trust factors, one of the most successful marketing strategies is to work through Partners who are already trusted.

And what is the most important thing that determines whether a customer buys – what is going on inside their heads – logically and emotionally which brings in the twin forces of Psychology and Perceptions.

The New Marketing Mix

Have I convinced you that seeing marketing in terms of the traditional marketing mix of the 4P’s or the service marketing mix of 7P’s is too simplistic?

So how does the new marketing mix appeal – the 27 P’s of Marketing (and counting)

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Promotion
  4. Place
  5. People
  6. Process
  7. Physical evidence
  8. Purpose
  9. Purchaser
  10. Push/pull
  11. Personal relationships
  12. Positioning
  13. Packaging
  14. Persuasion
  15. Performance
  16. Profitable
  17. Proactive
  18. Pull together
  19. Perform
  20. Permission
  21. Pain
  22. Pleasure
  23. Periodic
  24. Persistent
  25. Partners
  26. Psychology
  27. Perceptions  

OK what key marketing concept have I forgotten?

Inevitably there are bound to be things that I have missed so please leave a comment and let me know.

One P That Marketing Isn’t

There is one thing that marketing can never be.


Whatever you do can be improved.

And the 27s Ps of the new Marketing Mix are a good place to start.

Other Variations On The Traditional Marketing Mix

One Friday afternoon when I didn’t have much to do, I thought I’d research the other variations on the marketing mix.

It’s astonishing what I came up with as various marketers have tried to put their personal stamp on such a popular idea. If you know of any that I’ve missed, please leave me a comment.

If I included each new P, then my 27 P’s of Marketing would be much extended. The list is interesting if you want to find the components of a marketing strategy which you feel fits you better. Each new P can also be considered as a criticism of the original marketing mix or any of the other variations.

Just as a reminder, let’s start with the traditional marketing mix.

4 P’s of The Traditional Marketing Mix

  • Price
  • Product
  • Place
  • Promotion
My research shows me that’ we need to go back one step first to the….

The 3 P’s  

The 3 P’s Of Marketing

Extended Marketing Mix

I have written articles about each of these different versions. Click on the links below to take a detailed look at the different versions of the marketing mix and P’s of marketing moels.
4 Ps – 5 Ps – 6 Ps – 7 Ps – 8 Ps – 9 Ps – 10 Ps – 11 Ps – 12 Ps -14 Ps -15 Ps
Click on the links to see the details.

Can There Be More Than 15 P’s of Marketing?

OK options are beginning to run out.

Personally I think that it is shocking how Profit – arguable the most important P – is not included.

Not a lot looking at marketing from the customer’s perspective either. This seems to be a contradiction because I thought that was what marketing was all about.

I suggested Purchaser in my early amendments to the marketing mix together with the idea of Problem and moving from Pain to Pleasure. I also added Perceptions to remind marketers that it is not what we think and know what matters but what the customer thinks, feels and perceives.

Anyway onward and upward with the marketing mix, you don’t think I’m the only one who has managed to get past 15 do you?

17 P’s of Marketing


(Profit comes in at number 8 and payment – which is necessary for there to be a profit – is at number 7)

But we can’t stop at 17P’s but there is a gap until

The 24 P’s of Marketing


I had the 27 P’s of marketing above but I have been pipped for the most

I have found

The 29 P’s of Marketing


although mysteriously there are only 28 P’s of marketing (and PR) listed and I don’t think I understand them all.

Is that it?

Oh No

I have found the 30 P’s of marketing but it will cost to find out what they are as the 30P’s of successful marketing is an ebook


That’s it.

I give up – 30 Ps of marketing is the limit…

…unless you know different.

Using The Marketing Mix In The Real World

If you want tips on how to use the marketing mix and other marketing tips and ideas you can use in your business to attract more customers, make more sales and increase your profits, then please sign up to receive my free report “Marketing Secrets For Small Business”.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Paul Simister April 8, 2009, 10:55 am

    I posted a link to this on another site and someone thought I was “being ridiculous”. In some ways this blog about the marketing mix and the 4 Ps was intended as a spoof. You could say I was taking the Ps out of marketing. (Sorry is that just too corny?) I show it in the marketing mix blog. First there are 4 Ps in the marketing mix. Then someone thinks there should be another added so it becomes the “new, improved 5 Ps of marketing mix”. Next someone adds on another couple to create a marketing mix of the 7Ps. Then I read someone effectively say, there are not the important 4Ps of marketing, these are the ones you want. But it is funny how many words beginning with P are closely associated with marketing. If I had to narrow it down to a more sensible number, I would focus attention on: P for Profit – If you don’t make a profit (over the long term) then it is bad marketing. P for Perception – to remind us that it is not what we know to be true or false that matters but what the prospective customer perceives. P for Positioning – so many of the marketing mistakes I see can be traced back to the fact that there is nothing special about the business. It’s no different from the ten nearest competitors. I’d better stop. I am in danger of writing out the full list of 27 Ps again. Marketing lies at the centre of everything you do in your business and that’s why you need to understand it. The traditional marketing mix of price, product, place and promotion in my view under-emphasise the importance of effective marketing.

  • Paul Simister May 5, 2009, 10:57 am

    I am very pleased with how much traffic this blog on the Marketing mix, 4Ps of marketing, 7Ps of marketing, 11 Ps of marketing etc. But it would be nice to see some comments coming through. What do you think about the original 4 Ps Marketing Mix concept? Do the 4Ps say everything you need to say about marketing or are the add-ons – for example the 7 Ps for service marketing right? Can you over do it? My 27 Ps of marketing was written partly out of intrigue. Every time I found myself in some kind of philosophical discussion about marketing, I found myself using another P word to describe an important aspect. Whether you are a marketing practitioner or marketing student, your views on the marketing mix are welcome and your contribution may be the one that makes the difference to one of my readers

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