Understanding the 4 Ps of Marketing Through Digital Transformation | Emarsys (2023)

The 4 Ps of marketing — product, price, place and promotion — have provided a standard framework within which marketing strategies and programs have been built for over 60 years. Jerome McCarthy first proposed the modern form of the 4 Ps in his 1960 textbook, Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach and they are widely taught as a frame of reference for marketers to build and execute successful campaigns.

However, the evolution of the digital age has caused the standard methods and practices of nearly every industry to change and grow to work within this new paradigm, and marketing is certainly no exception.

The more powerful marketing automation tools and platforms get at integrating data and channels and enriching them with AI and predictive intelligence, the more effective marketers become at delivering campaigns that drive tangible business outcomes.

These tools and platforms give marketers an entirely new framework within which to execute the core tenets of marketing theories like the 4 Ps.

This blog bridges the gap between theory and practice by both explaining the 4 Ps of marketing, and sharing tried-and-tested tactics that elevate the 4 Ps from lofty theory into pragmatic, ROI-driving omnichannel strategies.

The 4 Ps of Marketing

The 4 Ps of marketing refer to product, price, place, and promotion. These are the key elements that must be united to effectively foster and promote a brand’s unique value, and help it stand out from the competition.

The principles remain sound, but the practice of marketing itself has changed dramatically since the 4 Ps were first outlined. As marketers have transitioned from using traditional media channels such as print, radio, and TV toward digital channels such as email, search, and social, the primary focus is to deliver the right message, to the right customer, on the right channel.

The spray-and-pray, one-size-fits-all, mass marketing of the 90s and early 2000s that clogged inboxes and annoyed customers has been replaced by a far more strategic, considered, customer-first approach.

And yet, in the midst of the exponential change marketing has undergone, the 4 Ps remain as relevant now as they were back in the 60s. But what makes the 4 Ps of marketing so important that they have withstood the test of time, including the growth of the internet age? Below we break down each P, and outline real-world tactics that bridge the gap between theory and practice.


A product refers to any item that intends to satisfy the needs and wants of a customer. It can be a tangible good, such as a clothing item or piece of software, or intangible, like a service or experience (think legal services or a cruise).

To market their products effectively, marketers must have a clear concept of what their products stand for, and what differentiates them from the competition..

Some key questions that marketers should consider in order to better understand how to strategically market their products include:

  • What do customers want from your product/service? Does it satisfy their needs?
  • What features of your product/service work to meet your customer’s needs? Have you missed out on any features?
  • How and where will the customer use it?
  • How will the customers experience it?

From a tactical point of view, marketers can influence both future product design and personalized product recommendations through campaigns such as:

  • Post-purchase feedback
  • In-session upsell
  • Post purchase cross-sell

Post-purchase feedback campaigns are an effective way to gather qualitative feedback on anything from product functionality to build quality to overall customer experience. Though this feedback is typically gathered via automated email marketing campaigns, certain Customer Engagement Platforms also allow for this data to be collected via web channels, CRM ads, and SMS.

In-session upsell campaigns aim to get buyers to spend more in a single transaction by presenting a more appealing, albeit more expensive, package or product. The classic example is super-sizing your order at your local drive-thru restaurant, but the concept works just as well in retail and e-commerce. In-session upsells are typically executed in web or mobile in-app channels by displaying a timely overlay campaign when an item is added to the cart.

Post-purchase cross-sell campaigns encourage customers to increase their spending by promoting items commonly bought by other customers who made the same purchase. Amazon does this well with their ‘Customers who bought this item also bought’ recommendations. Post-purchase upsell campaigns are typically executed in web or email channels.


First comes the product, and immediately after comes a determination of its value among target audiences. Pricing strategy is an art and a science, in that it involves both market data and careful calculations, as well as skillfully balancing between pricing that is too high or too low, and understanding how skewing either way might affect a prospect or customer’s propensity to buy.

Price not only refers to the monetary value of a product, but also the time or effort the customer is willing to expend to acquire it. Determining this will be a critical factor in revenue for the brand as it will impact profit, supply, demand, and how much marketers should spend on a promotion or marketing strategy. This is why this ‘P’ is one of the most important — if a product is priced too high or too low, the product (and brand) could fail.

Some key questions that marketers need to answer include:

  • What is the value of the product or service to the buyer?
  • How will your price compare to competitors?
  • Are there any possible established price points for the product/service in this area?

Dynamic pricing is an effective tactic used by marketers to adjust the price of a product or service in real time based on various factors such as demand, inventory levels, and competitor pricing.

To make dynamic pricing work effectively, businesses need to collect and analyze data from various sources such as customer behavior, sales history, and market trends. This data can then be used to create algorithms that will automatically adjust prices based on the criteria set by the business.

Some tactics related to dynamic pricing include:

  • Offering discounts for early purchases
  • Bundling products together at a discounted rate
  • Price drop campaigns

Businesses can also use variable pricing models where prices increase as inventory levels decrease or offer personalized pricing based on individual customer data.

Connect the 4 Ps of marketing with true personalization using the Emarsys omnichannel customer engagement platform.



Simply put, place refers to the physical or digital channels through which brands promote their products. Examples of place include:

  • In-store
  • Email
  • Web
  • Mobile
  • SMS
  • Digital ads
  • Direct mail
  • Contact center

The digital age has introduced new challenges when it comes to reaching customers.

Some key questions that marketers need to answer include:

  • Where are target customers shopping?
  • Are they using desktops or mobile devices?
  • Are they shopping for similar products online, or in brick-and-mortar stores?
  • Where are they engaging on social media?

However, rather than thinking about a single place to promote their products and services, mature brands are far more likely to take an omnichannel approach and engage with customers across multiple channels with personalized messages in real time.

A recent study published by Forrester entitled “The Omnichannel Difference: How The Most Customer-Focused Companies Deliver The Value of Omnichannel” shows that mature, customer-obsessed firms that deploy omnichannel strategies enjoyed:

Higher margins. Sixty-two percent of respondents in the study from customer-obsessed firms indicated that their company’s omnichannel strategy has yielded higher margins for them. Compare this to just 45% of respondents from non-customer obsessed firms who said the same.

Stronger customer retention and loyalty: Just more than half of respondents in this study from customer-obsessed firms (54%) compared to 46% from non-customer-obsessed firms said their company experiences better customer loyalty and improved retention from its omnichannel efforts.

Improved customer interactions: More respondents from customer-focused companies also said their firm has more productive single interactions with its customers. For example, 52% of respondents from customer obsessed companies said omnichannel programs boosted individual customer interactions and engagement compared to 46% from non-customer-obsessed companies.

Omnichannel marketing will often use a data-led, AI-driven approach to understanding complex data points such as customer behavior, preferred channels, and lifecycle stage to determine which messages to send to which customers, through which channels, at what times.

The result is a seamless, deeply personalized customer experience that has a much higher probability of driving profitability and growth.


In the 4 Ps of marketing, promotion refers to the activities that a company undertakes to communicate and promote its products or services to its target audience.

Promotion is the area that has arguably seen the greatest growth and change as a result of the digital age. Machine learning and AI-powered marketing platforms allow marketers to promote products easier, more effectively, and with more personalization than ever before.

Some key questions that marketers need to answer include:

  • How will you reach your target audience?
  • Where will you send your marketing messages to your target audience?
  • How does your competition promote their product? Does that influence your own promotional activity?
  • When is the best time to promote?

One of the most effective means to drive successful promotional activity today is through the use of AI-powered personalization engines.

Personalization engines unify first-party data such as demographics, sales, support calls and customer behavior. This allows marketers to better understand each customer and build rich customer profiles, and it enables brands to engage customers with relevant content in the moments that matter most.

Examples of effective personalization tactics include:

Personalized emails: Sending personalized emails to customers can increase open rates and click-through rates. This can be achieved by addressing the recipient by name, using their past purchase history or browsing behavior to suggest products they might like, and tailoring the content of the email to their interests.

Dynamic website content: Using data such as location, browsing history, and past purchases to personalize website content can improve user experience and increase engagement. For example, displaying personalized overlays, embedded content or ribbons on your brand’s website that feature recommended products or show local events or promotions based on the user’s location.

CRM ads: CRM Ads allow marketers to match CRM contacts with their profiles on networks such as Facebook and Google in order to create custom audience segments. When using a more sophisticated customer engagement platform, these segments can be created dynamically based on customer behavior and updated in real time.

Final Thoughts

It’s an exciting time to be a marketer. The wealth of tools and platforms we have at our disposal have helped us better understand our customers and enabled us to connect those customers and prospects with products and services that improve the quality of their lives.

However, the success of the campaigns we execute is still firmly grounded in the core principles of marketing: product, price, place and promotion. Successful marketers are able to marry these principles with tactics such as the ones mentioned above to deliver the predictable, profitable outcomes that their businesses demand.

The Emarsys customer engagement platform can help execute these kinds of campaigns, and drive personalized omnichannel marketing that delivers business results. It does this by unifying data and channels, personalizing cross-channel experiences, and automating customer journeys at scale.

Put the 4 Ps of Marketing into practice — deliver the real-time 1:1 omnichannel experiences your customers demand with Emarsys.



Understanding the 4 Ps of Marketing Through Digital Transformation | Emarsys? ›

The 4 Ps of marketing refer to product, price, place, and promotion. These are the key elements that must be united to effectively foster and promote a brand's unique value, and help it stand out from the competition.

How the 4 Ps of marketing apply to digital marketing? ›

Digital Marketing uses multiple channels and methods which enable an organization to analyze marketing campaigns and understand what is working and what's not in real time. But today we are going to discuss about 4p's of digital marketing. 4p's stands for Product, Price, Place and promotion.

Has transformed the traditional four Ps to incorporate digital technologies? ›

The banking and corporate sectors have always been at the forefront when it comes to leveraging digital technologies. They have used technology to transform their marketing strategies, incorporating these new digital resources into the four Ps of marketing – product, price, promotion, and place.

How has the 4 Ps of marketing changed over time? ›

The traditional marketing mix, built around the 4Ps — product, price, place and promotion — arguably discounts the breadth and complexity of current-day marketing. Therefore, two Ps were added to the mix — process and people — which respond to crucial changes in customer service, e-commerce and social media.

What is meant by the transformation from 4 Ps to 4Cs? ›

The 4Cs to replace the 4Ps of the marketing mix: Consumer wants and needs; Cost to satisfy; Convenience to buy and Communication (Lauterborn, 1990). The 4Cs for marketing communications: Clarity; Credibility; Consistency and Competitiveness (Jobber and Fahy, 2009).

What are the 4 C's of digital marketing? ›

The 4 C's of Marketing are Customer, Cost, Convenience, and Communication. These 4 C's determine whether a company is likely to succeed or fail in the long run. The customer is the heart of any marketing strategy. If the customer doesn't buy your product or service, you're unlikely to turn a profit.

How does digital marketing link to the marketing mix? ›

Digital media has had the following direct impacts on the marketing mix: Advertising recognition and avoidance: Many digital streams have advertisement blockers or allow users to opt out of seeing certain ads. Companies must develop methods to advertise despite these obstacles.

What are the 4 stages of digital transformation? ›

Understanding the 4 stages of digital transformation and what you need to move forward
  • Planning.
  • Implementation.
  • Acceleration.
  • Measurement.

What are the 4 elements of digital transformation? ›

There are four key components of digital transformation you should take into account – digital customer, digital workspace, digital infrastructure and operations, and digital products and services.

Have the 4Ps of marketing become outdated? ›

Far from being an outdated concept, the 4Ps are a fundamental tool for modern marketers and if you want to turbocharge your activity – combine them.

Are the 4 P's of marketing outdated? ›

The 4 Ps are still relevant. However, with the addition of all of these new channels and the increase in competition, they're no longer enough. They should form the core of your campaign planning, but you need to look at what else you can do.

How has the marketing changed from the four Ps approach to the more current value based perspective? ›

The focus of marketing has changed from emphasizing the product, price, place, and promotion mix to one that emphasizes creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging value.

What are the 4Es of modern marketing? ›

The “4Es” of Marketing are “Experience”, “Everyplace”, “Exchange” and “Evangelism”. Anyone familiar with Marketing theory will recognize that the 4Es draw their basic wisdom from the famous “4P” mnemonic in modern marketing theory.

Why 4Cs are better than 4Ps? ›

The 4 P's focus on a seller-oriented marketing strategy, which can be extremely effective for sales. However, the 4 C's offer a more consumer-based perspective on the marketing strategy.

What is difference between 4Ps and 4Es? ›

In it, they suggest that the traditional teachings of the 4 Ps of marketing – Product, Place, Price & Promotion, are outdated and should be replaced with the more modern framework – Experience, Everyplace, Exchange & Evangelism (also known as the 4 Es).

What are the 5 A's of digital marketing? ›

There are five elements to this commerce marketing maturity framework: audience, ads + assets, access, attribution, and automation.

What are 4p and 4c in marketing strategy? ›

The 4Ps of product, price, place, and promotion refer to the products your company is offering and how to get them into the hands of the consumer. The 4Cs refer to stakeholders, costs, communication, and distribution channels which are all different aspects of how your company functions.

How do you implement the 4 Cs? ›

3 Simple Steps to the 4 C's
  1. Step 1: Prompt Critical and Creative Thinking. After introducing and modeling a new concept, prompt students to think critically and creatively about it. ...
  2. Step 2: Prompt Communication and Collaboration. ...
  3. Step 3: Present. ...
  4. Scheduling the Steps.

What is CRM in digital marketing? ›

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a technology for managing all your company's relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. The goal is simple: Improve business relationships. A CRM system helps companies stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability.

What is the tipping point in digital marketing? ›

The critical moment when an event, trend, idea or product ceases to be marginal or niche and becomes massive.

Why is 7Ps important in digital marketing? ›

The 7Ps helps companies to review and define key issues that affect the marketing of its products and services. A popular marketing model, the marketing mix is can also be referred to as the 7Ps framework for the digital marketing mix.

What are the four 4 types of transformation process? ›

There are four major transformation processes: production, fabrication, assembly, and customs processing. Production is the process of creating something from nothing using raw materials.

Which of the 4 elements of digital transformation is most important? ›

Expertise is the most important factor in a company's ability to successfully implement digital change.

What are the 5 keys to digital transformation? ›

How to develop a digital transformation process that works for your people
  • Start by reviewing your current processes.
  • Connect future results to current business objectives.
  • Explain the “why” in plain language & get buy-in from your people.
  • Run tests to ensure seamless integration of platforms.
Dec 22, 2020

What are the pillars of digital transformation? ›

The six pillars of digital transformation are experiences, people, change, innovation, leadership, and culture. Let's take a look at each pillar and to understand the backbone of the digital transformation.

What are the 3 R's of digital transformation? ›

3Rs Digital Transformation Framework: Reimagine, Roadmap, Results.

What are the 5 core areas impacting marketing transformation digital marketing? ›

Analysis of your current situation means identifying the existing status of the five key elements that are integral to any technology-driven marketing transformation project: process, people, data, technology and culture. Let's look at each of those elements.

What is the first step in the 4 step digitization process? ›

Step 1: Initialization

This means you need a suitable idea, on the basis of which you can start the digitalization. And here, design thinking supports the creative process optimally. At the beginning, it is important that all team members understand the problem to be solved.

What is 4.0 digital transformation? ›

The digital transformation offered by Industry 4.0 has allowed manufacturers to create digital twins that are virtual replicas of processes, production lines, factories and supply chains. A digital twin is created by pulling data from IoT sensors, devices, PLCs and other objects connected to the internet.

Are 4 Ps still relevant in a digital world? ›

Traditional Strategies and understandings…

The 4P's of Marketing have been part of a fundamental process in getting the right product in front of a specific group of people so they can decide to buy. Although this is still used in Marketing today, even in the digital age.

What is the problem with the 4 Ps of marketing? ›

Weaknesses of the marketing mix

But the biggest weakness is that the four P's focus on the seller's view of the market and not the buyer's view of the market, which could lead to key insights being missed or worse, developing a product or service that isn't right for the audience.

What is the most important in 4 Ps of marketing? ›

Price: The Most Important P in the Marketing Mix.

Which method may replace the 4 Ps of marketing? ›

The four P's of traditional marketing theory (Product, Place, Price and Promotion) do not fit with the current business climate and expectations of customers. As a replacement for the four P's, the SAVE framework with a focus on Solutions, Access, Value and Education, provides an alternative.

What is the inadequacy of 4Ps? ›

Reasons for the inadequacy of the traditional marketing mix:

The development of the 4Ps was based on the needs of the manufacturing units. Therefore, it is more suitable for physical goods marketing. The existing marketing mix elements couldn't meet the service marketer's needs.

What is the 4 Ps of marketing in the Internet age? ›

The 4 Ps of marketing refer to product, price, place, and promotion. These are the key elements that must be united to effectively foster and promote a brand's unique value, and help it stand out from the competition.

What do you think is the most important of four Ps of marketing and why? ›

The most important part of thinking about the marketing mix — or the four Ps of marketing — is to understand the customer, the competition, and your company. You'll evaluate your product and how to promote it.

Why are the 4 Ps a useful framework for marketers? ›

The 4Ps of marketing is a model for enhancing the components of your "marketing mix" – the way in which you take a new product or service to market. It helps you to define your marketing options in terms of price, product, promotion, and place so that your offering meets a specific customer need or demand.

Is the marketing mix outdated? ›

However, marketing mix modeling is quite an old practice and the way that we market products has changed dramatically since then due to the advent of marketing technology, digital advertising, and other disruptors.

What are the four types of contemporary marketing concepts? ›

The marketing concept rests on four pillars: target market, customer needs, integrated marketing and profitability.

How contemporary marketing approaches attract customers? ›

Contemporary marketing theories include Co-Creation. This theory suggests creating a bridge between customer and business through gamification. A practical example would be attracting customers through social media content relevant to their needs or writing article blog posts that have useful information.

What is the transformation from 4Ps to 4Cs? ›

The 4Cs to replace the 4Ps of the marketing mix: Consumer wants and needs; Cost to satisfy; Convenience to buy and Communication (Lauterborn, 1990). The 4Cs for marketing communications: Clarity; Credibility; Consistency and Competitiveness (Jobber and Fahy, 2009).

What are the 7 P's of marketing? ›

Since then, the theory has been expanded into the 7 P's of marketing. Which are: Product, Price, Promotion, Place, People, Packaging, and Process.

What insights might a firm gain by considering the four Cs rather than the four Ps? ›

In the four Ps strategy, convenience represents the location. But the four Cs it is more customer-focused regarding customer convenience. After a firm has evaluated consumer purchasing behavior, they should be able to tell what the consumers are willing to do to get the product.

How do you use the 4 Ps of marketing? ›

How to Use the 4 Ps of Marketing to Sell Your Product
  1. Clearly identify which product or service you are analyzing. ...
  2. Analyze how your product meets the needs of your customers. ...
  3. Understand the places where your target audience shops. ...
  4. Decide on a price for your product. ...
  5. Formulate marketing messages to promote your product.
Jun 7, 2021

Who created the 4 es of marketing? ›

Introducing the 4 E's of Marketing

First described in 1960 by Jerome McCarthy, the 4 P's were the pillars of the marketing world.

What is your biggest pain point as a digital marketer? ›

Digital Marketing Pain Points for Small Businesses
  • Managing Resources. Small businesses often lack the digital marketing budget of larger companies. ...
  • Figuring Out Their Target Audience. ...
  • Establishing and Running a Website. ...
  • Creating Engaging Content. ...
  • Generating Leads With Social Media. ...
  • Driving Better Leads.
Feb 25, 2022

What is a negative point for digital marketing? ›

One of the biggest disadvantages of digital marketing campaigns is their time-consuming nature. Unorganized tactics and strategies may consume a lot of time, and it becomes difficult to devote the desired time to the campaign. This will eventually lead to negative results.

What is the most important of the 4 Ps of marketing? ›

Price: The Most Important P in the Marketing Mix.

What are the 4 Ps of marketing and why are they important to both small and large business's alike? ›

The 4 Ps of marketing refer to product, price, place, and promotion. These are the key elements that must be united to effectively foster and promote a brand's unique value, and help it stand out from the competition.

What are the 4 Ps of marketing which do you think is most important? ›

These are Promotion, Product, Place and Price. These 4 Ps play a major role in delivering the customer needs at the right time and the right place. Philip Kotler says, The most important thing is to predict where clients are going and stop right in front of them.


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