How the 4 P's of Marketing Fit into the Digital Age

Most of us are familiar with the 4 P’s of marketing, a tool which marketing strategists and others have used for years to promote their businesses. There’s also the 4A’s of marketing, which overlap with the 4P’s in many ways—most importantly, on the “importance of focusing on both and including the customer perspective in your strategy decisions.” (The 4As include acceptability, affordability, accessibility, and awareness.)

Whether we talk about 4A’s or 4P’s, the most important thing is to “understand the buyer’s journey, how your customers will be purchasing from you and how to be relevant to them at the right time.” DSC1828

Since the 4P’s of marketing are generally better known, we wanted to see how well they hold up in our digital era. Here’s a quick look at each category, with some relevant thoughts:


In the past, “product” has meant the physical object a business sells—everything from hardwood lumber to golf clubs and lawn mowers. In the digital era, product often means something quite different. Physical goods and services have been supplemented by products that aren’t physical in nature (think software and apps, for example) as well as a large range of virtual services. Once upon a time, services were provided in person or over the phone, but now exist in a virtual realm.


Up until recently, “place” referred to brick-and-mortar establishments where customers could walk in and purchase goods or services. Now, the vast majority of consumers begin their search for place using a desktop computer or mobile device. They expect to find information about your products or services on the web first.

The placement of your offerings online has become a key element in reaching the customers you want most. Now, in many cases, “place” refers to a business website.

Does your product come up near the top of an online search of your industry? Is your website optimized efficiently, so that users can easily access the information you provide? Where’s your “place” in the world of social media, and are you doing everything you can to influence digital customer’s?


Of the 4P’s, price might be the one element that’s remained fairly consistent. It’s still a deciding factor for many customers.

As part of their journey, customers frequently lump price together with timely delivery and convenience, as well as the product’s inherent value.


In the digital arena, the concept of “promotion” frequently means “content.” Formerly, this might refer to text as it appeared on flyers, signage, billboards and so on. Today, content describes the words, imagery and video you create and distribute in blog posts, promotional videos, banner ads, email campaigns and other written content.

Whatever form it takes the content you offer online “should be reliable and robust enough to send the consumer straight down the conversion path from a curious visitor to a devoted customer and even an advocate.”

There’s lasting power in the concept of the 4P’s of marketing. What’s important is being flexible and creative enough to adapt the concept to the new demands and circumstances in the digital realm.

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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