How Many P’s in the Marketing Mix?

Anne McCloskey Marketing Executive at Professional Academy

Very quickly, off the top of your head, what are the four Ps of the marketing mix? If you were able to list them, can you also list the additional three that make up the seven Ps? The Marketing Mix is a fundamental part of marketing theory, yet as the world grows more complex, are they still relevant in today’s digital landscape? 

The Four P’s:

The idea of the four Ps of the Marketing Mix date back to the 1950s and are fairly straightforward: 

  • Product: the thing you want to sell (originally the focus was on physical products but now also includes services) 

  • Price: the amount you want to sell it for (the pricing strategy, if and when discounts will be offered, if the intended market is the budget or premium one, etc.) 

  • Place: where you plan to sell it (originally this focused on direct sales or use of distributors and focused on physical places) 

  • Promotion: how you plan to persuade clients to buy (awareness, persuasion, etc.). 

The Seven P’s:

For physical products this worked just fine, however as services began to come to the fore, an additional three Ps were introduced: 

  • People: those who interact with clients and potential clients (sales, support, after sales care) 

  • Process: the customer experience (how people gather information on your product/service, how they engage with you, the buying process, and customer care). 

  • Physical evidence: this is the physical items such as receipts, contracts, first impressions (cleanliness and ambience of premises), etc. The physical items must accurately reflect your brand to create a consistent customer experience 

The digital world had added several layers of complexity to the marketing mix and the seven Ps have to be considered in this context. Place for example, is more likely to be about adapting to regional norms as ecommerce means many products and services can be sold across the world. Bearing in mind that each P should be used to create differentiation between you and competitors, is it time to consider some additional Ps? 


While we plan and disseminate information about our products and services, we don’t control the information once it’s out. We create social media, blogs, emails and video, but now everyone online gets to comment, have an opinion, share and rate your products, services and brand. Third party websites such as Trust Pilot can have a significant impact on your brand, and how we as marketers respond to the good and the bad will influence the formation of preconceptions about a brand and whether or not people decide to interact with it.  

Pre-purchase Probing: 

Related to the above is the fact that customers can be incredibly well informed before they even visit your website. Particularly when there is a cost-of-living crisis, people want to be sure they are making the right purchase, and the internet offers all the tools needed to research options and prices before shortlisting a few potential suppliers. This pre-purchase probing is important because as humans we’re likely to make emotional decisions but like to have reasons to post justify them. “They were really responsive to my questions,” “The buying process was so easy,” “They were willing to price match.” Organisations can no longer hope to pull the wool over the eyes of potential clients: odds are they know as much about your company as you do. 

Protection of Reputation: 

Last month a Boeing plane lost a section of its fuselage during a flight. Fortunately, no-one was injured, but passengers recorded video of the gaping hole, which was circulated via news channels, creating greater impact than the story would have without it. In a world where Generation Z make videos on everything, including how their employers fire them, we may need a new P, Protection of Reputation, to deal with the fallout of videos showing our organisations in a poor light. 


Aligned with reputation, this is concerned with ethics, social responsibility, fair-trade and sustainability. Too many corporations do lip service to these and suffer once they are found out. Boeing moved away from its principles of safety and engineering towards a focus on profits, and you can see the video of the results. 

Do Eleven Ps Work? 

The traditional four Ps of the Marketing Mix have stood the test of time, evolving to accommodate the rise of services and the digital age. However, as we navigate an increasingly interconnected world where consumer opinions hold significant sway and reputations can be made or broken in an instant, perhaps it's time to consider expanding the Ps further.  

Concepts like Preconceptions, acknowledging the power of online commentary and reviews; Pre-purchase Probing, recognizing the informed nature of today's consumers; Protection of Reputation, in response to the heightened visibility and scrutiny brought about by digital media, offer valuable additions to the marketing mix lexicon, and Principles whereby organisations prove their commitment to not burning the world in the cause of profit.  

Do you agree? Are there other P’s you would add, or indeed do we need to include a few other letters of the alphabet to really get to grips the with the 21st Century Marketing Mix? 

Marketing Qualifications: 

Whether you want to ensure you have a solid foundation for your marketing career, are hoping to progress to the next level, or want to get ahead of the curve on specific aspects of digital marketing, Professional Academy offers the full range of Chartered Institution of Marketing (CIM) qualifications. Let us help you find the right professional development path

Other Marketing Blogs: 

The Case for Taking a Digital Marketing Qualification 

Will AI Steal My Job? 

The Dangers of Greenwashing the Marketing Four Ps