Components of the Marketing Mix

Learning Outcomes

  • Define product
  • Define promotion
  • Define place
  • Define price


Purple hexagon with the following text in the center: Product: What solution does the customer want and need. Outside the hexagon, to the right, is a list of considerations: features, design, user experience, naming, branding, differentiation

In the marketing mix, the term “product” means the solution that the customer wants and needs. In this context, we focus on the solution rather than only on the physical product. Examples of the product include:

  • The Tesla Model S, a premium electric car
  • A Stay at a Holiday Inn Express, a low-price national hotel chain
  • Doritos Nachos Cheese, a snack food
  • Simple, an online banking service

Each of these products has a unique set of features, design, name, and brand that are focused on a target customer. The characteristics of the products are different from competitors’ products.

Screenshot from "All your finances, in your pocket or on the web, whenever you need it." The website shows the convenience of the banking services they offer: the Simple Visa card, ATM access, “Powerful Reporting," which provides the customer with personalized data about their spending, and photo check deposits.



Green hexagon with the following text in the center: Promotion: What is the dialogue between customer and company? Outside the hexagon, to the right, is a list of considerations: Message; method of delivering message, timing of delivery; communications by customers and influencers; competitor promotions.

In the marketing mix, the term “promotion” refers to the communications that occur between the company and the customer. Promotion includes both the messages sent by the company and messages that customers send to the public about their experience. Examples of promotion include:

  • An advertisement in Cooking Light magazine
  • A customer’s review of the product on YouTube
  • A newspaper article in the local paper quoting a company employee as an expert
  • A text message sent to a list of customers or prospects

Marketing professionals have an increasingly difficult job influencing promotions that cannot be controlled by the company. The company’s formal messages and advertising are only one part of promotions.

facebook logo plus their slogan: "Like us on facebook."

Marketers often run social media campaigns, rewarding customers who “Like” the company on Facebook.


Turquoise hexagon with the following text: Place: how does the customer act or buy? Outside the hexagon, at the right, is a list of considerations: location of purchase, ease of transaction, access to distribution channels, sales force, competitor approaches

In the marketing mix, the term “place” refers to the distribution of the product. Where does the customer buy the product? “Place” might be a traditional brick-and-mortar store, or it could be online. Examples include:

  • Distribution through an online retailer such as
  • Use of a direct sales force that sells directly to buyers
  • Sales through the company’s Web site, such as the shoe purchases at
  • Sales by a distributor or partner, such as the purchase of a Samsung phone from Best Buy or from a Verizon store

In today’s world, the concept of “place” in the marketing mix rarely refers to a specific physical address. It takes into account the broad range of distribution channels that make it easy for the target customer to buy.


Orange hexagon with the following text in the middle: Price: what is the cost to the consumer? Outside the hexagon, at the right, is a list of considerations: value to buyer, price sensitivity, existing price points, discounts, competitor pricing

In the marketing mix, the term “price” refers to the cost to the customer. This requires the company to analyze the product’s value for the target customer. Examples of price include:

  • The price of a used college textbook in the campus bookstore
  • Promotional pricing such as Sonic Drive-In’s half-price cheeseburgers on Tuesdays
  • Discounts to trade customers, such as furniture discounts for interior designers

Marketing professionals must analyze what buyers are willing to pay, what competitors are charging, and what the price means to the target customer when calculating the product’s value. Determining price is almost always a complicated analysis that brings together many variables.

Sonic Cheeseburger ad with the Sonic logo. There are two cheeseburgers and the text "1/2 price cheeseburgers on Tuesday. It's cheesy good."

Sonic offers discounts on cheeseburgers on Tuesday, which is typically a low sales day of the week. Source:

CASE Study: MAUI built

There are and have been many apparel brands based on the so-called “Beach/Surf” lifestyle: Catalina, Hang Ten, Ocean Pacific, and Morey Boogie, to name a few. One of the most unique of these brands is one that is not widely recognized, and for a very good reason.

Louie Martin, a Latino from Southern California, moved with his single-mother to the islands when he was quite young. He started a business shaping and selling surfboards and later, in 1995, he created the “Maui Built” brand. Unlike other mass-market brands, Louie had a unique marketing vision: design authentic island products and distribute them only to Maui surf shops.

This was a brilliant strategy for his brand. One, he appealed to local island pride as Maui residents knew they were getting authentic products inspired by Maui culture. Two, visitors to the islands knew they were buying products unique to Maui to take home from their vacation. What tourist could resist wearing a Maui Built tee shirt back on the mainland to relive their Maui experience?

Only in this last year of its 24-year history, Louie has made a limited number of Maui Built products available at his online store. This was done to “stay in touch with the Maui Built Ohana that have moved away through the years and to continue sharing Hawaii’s Aloha Culture”.

Louie himself lives the Hawaiian surf lifestyle and inspires many of the designs affixed to everything from surf boards to tee shirts. By restricting just one element of the marketing mix- distribution and place– he created a remarkable business. So the reason Maui Built is not widely recognized is actually the secret to its success.

Maui Built's logo, which is circular and has the company name through the center of the circle, surrounded by designs. Around the circumference of the logo, there are the phrases "Respect and Protect" and "Old Hawaii Nei".


Maui Built. Accessed April 26, 2022.

Practice Questions