Product at the center of the marketing mix

The importance of product in the marketing mix

Marketing textbooks typically list all four elements (that is, the 4P’s) of the marketing mix equally in their diagrams. However, these textbooks usually structure product as the first chapter of the marketing mix. This clearly indicates there is some hierarchy to the importance of products in the overall market mix offering.

As you can see from the following diagram, a more appropriate way to consider the 4P’s is to place product in the center with the other three marketing mix elements playing supporting roles.

Product as a centre of the 4P's

This is a more logical approach to the marketing mix. Product refers to anything that an organization sells to the marketplace. Without a product to sell, a business cannot make any money. Virtually all new businesses will start with a list of products that they will offer them, and most businesses will achieve good levels of growth through developing and launching new products.

The other three the marketing mix elements – promotion, price in place – are designed to help achieve sales of the product.

  • Promotion is to communication arm that makes consumers aware of the product offering and communicates the benefits and uniqueness of the product.
  • Place is used to ensure that the product is relatively easy to purchase and is made available to consumers.
  • And finally price should deliver “fair value” to consumers, based upon the array of benefits that they receive from purchasing the product.

Product/price equals the firm’s offering

Sometimes the market mix elements of price and product utilized together – as this represents the product offer. This offering needs to represent value for consumers – that is, the consumer receives greater benefits and the cost. This offering also needs to represent value for the organization – where they are making a good level of profits.

Therefore, without a suitable product/price offering that is attractive to both parties in the marketing exchange transaction, it is pointless having that product offering the marketplace and it is pointless adding the other marketing mix elements of place and promotion.

The marketing mix process (or hierarchy)

With this in mind, it is possible to argue that there is a logical progression of the marketing mix as a process, starting with product, constructing a price that has value for both parties, finding suitable distribution channels, and then finally promoting the product to the marketplace. This marketing mix process is highlighted in the following diagram and is typically the common sequence of marketing mix chapters in marketing textbooks.

Steps in the marketing mix process