The 7 Ps: how have the 4 Ps of the marketing mix evolved?

23/02/2023 | Santander Universidades

According to the latest report on Managing Digital Marketing 2020, produced by Smart Insights, 41% of companies do not have a clearly defined marketing strategy

However, in such a competitive job market like the current one, this may hinder the chances of success. So, faced with such a situation, we have to start with the basics and lay the foundations of a strategy. To do this, you can apply the technique known as the 4 Ps of marketing

Do you want to know what the 4 Ps of marketing are, how to apply them and how they have evolved to the 7 Ps over time? Let us explain all.

What is the marketing mix and the traditional 4 Ps of Marketing?

In 1960, E. Jerome Macarthy, a professor of accounting at Michigan State University, first introduced the marketing mix concept and the 4 Ps of marketing in his book Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach.

In it, he outlined the four basic factors used to comprehensively explain how marketing works: product, price, place, and promotion. These four concepts are encompassed within the so-called marketing mix, which helps efficient strategies be devised for the launch of new products on the market. 



According to the 4 Ps marketing theory, the most important factor in any marketing strategy is the product. This consists of the tangible or intangible asset, i.e., the service, idea, etc., with which a company intends to address the needs of its potential customers. 

It is fundamental to define what sort of product we want to sell, what features it has and what benefits it offers, as well as how it will meet the customer's needs. Moreover, we should also define what added-value or differentiation it offers compared to competitors. 


The second P in the 4 Ps of the marketing mix stands for price, i.e. the amount of money the customer will have to pay to purchase the product or service you are trying to sell. 

This is a key question in any marketing process, because setting an inappropriate price can ruin most sales opportunities. That's why it is essential to set a suitable sales price

To do this, exhaustive market research needs to be conducted, in order to identify the sales price of similar productsfind out about the purchasing power of any potential customers, and calculate the net profit you want to make.  


The point of sale or distribution is the means by which the product reaches the customer's hands. So, the product or service might be sold through a physical store, an ecommerce or using marketplaces such as Udemy, Hotmart or Doméstika. 

For this area, it is also important to consider whether the sales process is Business to Business (B2B) or Business to Customer (B2C). Either way, variables such as storage, processing time, shipping costs, distribution channels, transportation, etc., must all be taken into account, as all these elements will affect both the profit margin and customer satisfaction. 


The last variable in the 4 Ps of marketing deals with all the promotion channels used to publicise a product. Traditional methods can be used, such as radio, TV, or billboards, as well as modern methods, such as web or social media ads, or using influencers. 

To pick a channel, you need to consider where the target audience is, as this will help you enhance the performance of your campaigns (ROI). In this case, it is essential to first clearly define the characteristics of the ideal client, to then choose the most appropriate promotional channels for the product in question.


Evolution of the 4 Ps of Marketing: the 7 Ps, the 4 Cs and the 4 Es

With the advent of new technologies, and thanks to various changes that have taken place, such as a new approach to the experience that is increasingly customer-focused rather than product-focused, the 4 Ps of marketing have evolved and new variables have been introduced into the mix: the 7 Ps, the 4 Cs and the 4 Es.

The 7 Ps

In 1981, Bernard H. Booms and Mery J. Bitner introduced the 7 Ps, which actually were three new "Ps" into the marketing mix concept, with a focus on the world of services. These three additional factors are: 

  • People: the members of a team are closely linked to the quality of the services. So the right recruitment, training or conduct is essential in order to offer top-quality services.
  • Process: the optimisation of manufacturing or work processes is also essential in the world of marketing. Only in this way can products or experiences be offered that address the customers' needs. 
  • Physical evidence: premises, brand colours, accessories or advertising materials are physical elements that can alter the customer's perception of the brand, making it essential to take them into account too.

The 4 Cs

As opposed to the 7 Ps, the 4 Cs model is a total rewrite of the 4 Ps of marketing. In this model, the core of any strategy is the customer instead of the product, bringing the concept in line with current ideals, where the customer needs to be listened to and understood by the brand. 

The aim of this new approach is to meet the needs of the target audience by offering a quick and simple shopping experience as well as a much tighter brand relationship

  • Consumer: the purpose is to offer a product adapted to the customer's needs and not the other way around. To do this, research is required as well as building a buyer persona.
  • Cost: the evolution of the price factor. In this model, the associated costs of the product are also taken into account, from production all the way to the end customer's hands. 
  • Convenience: instead of defining sales channels, the aim is to identify how the product fits into the customer's buying habits, offering a streamlined, intuitive and fast process.
  • Communication: the aim here is to create a close relationship with the customer instead of promoting the product. This is a less invasive form of advertising, with two-way communications established, using active listening to understand the customer's needs.  

The 4 Es

The latest evolution of the marketing mix, apart from the 7 Ps, is the 4 Es model, which is slowly replacing the 4 Cs strategy. In this approach, the aim is to continue to build customer satisfaction and adapt to the current ecommerce reality.

  • Experience: it is no longer enough to merely meet the needs of potential customers. Current demand and competitiveness force us to come up with unique shopping experiences that revolve around emotions.
  • Exchange: the price or cost of a product is not necessarily monetary. Time, attention and data can also be exchanged. 
  • Everyplace: ecommerce and innovative logistics distribution methods make it possible for distribution to be done anywhere and through any channels.
  • Evangelism: lastly, the goal of a brand is not only to create a relationship with consumers, but also for them to become brand ambassadors who recommend their products. 

So as you can see, the 4 Ps of marketing have evolved to the 7 Ps, the 4 Cs and the 4 Es in line with market conditions, which are increasingly focused on the customer instead of the product (customer-centric). However, it is important to understand these concepts because they remain valid when it comes to devising a marketing strategy

Although we currently face major competitiveness on the labour market, the only way to achieve success is through perseverance and by adapting to constant change through lifelong learning. Hence the importance of never stopping learning.

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