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The Marketing Mix in the Digital Era: From the 4Ps to the 4Vs

Written by: Jerom

The age of the 4Ps of marketing that companies used for creating products, testing model pricing, distribution and promotion has given way to the era of customers. In 1967, Philip Kotler defined the famous model of the 4 Ps: Product, Price, Place (distribution) and Promotion. The marketing mix in the digital era has evolved from 4Ps to 4Cs, and most recently to 4Cs.

Based on Philip Kotler´s focus, a positioning strategy should answer four key questions: What product to launch? At what price? In which market? With what communication?


The strategy of the 4Ps oriented its objectives from the offer:

  • The product was defined based on the market knowledge and the characteristics of the customer behavior.
  • The price was established based on economic calculations and was fixed by the market or by the company, according to the conditions of the competition.
  • The distribution pointed that products arrived in a timely manner to the market.
  • The promotion looked for the client to reiterate the act of purchase.

Its been a long time and we have seen many changes since that distant 1967. The barriers of time and space have been reduced. In fact, a new set of principles has shifted the concept of product, price, place and promotion in the hierarchy of marketing planning.


The marketing mix in the digital era: from the 4Ps to the 4Cs

In an era where the customer is the focus, it is essential to consider the 4Cs as basic elements for the tactical and strategic success of any business today. The marketing mix in the digital era indicates that business success is based on: content, context, connexion and community.

Let´s see each of the 4Cs: client, cost, convenience and communication; and what is their impact when developing and validating new business models in the digital era.

  1. Product is now client: products and services are developed based on what the customer asks for (prosumer and crossumer).
  2. Price is now cost: the customer wants a lower cost of product/service ownership and use.
  3. Place is now convenience: facilitate the purchase, make it more convenient to the customer come to us.
  4. Promotion is now communication: it´s all about creating interactive campaigns, have a direct communication with customers.


From the 4Cs to the 4Vs:

The marketing mix in the digital era is synonym of constant change. Just when we had the new formula with the 4Cs we already have social, environmental and relational factors that make us rethink it and discuss its evolution. The 4Cs model is facing constant changes, and is pushing the online business models to start working in its evolution moving towards the 4Vs model:


  • From Product to Client to Validity:

The model based on Product facilitated the development of a good product or service for the market and increase sales.

The model based on Consumer was the study of the client, what he wants and needs in order to develop products/ services that satisfied them.

The new model based on Validity means plan big, think in detail. Adapt one same product to different formats, prices and functionalities.

  • From Price to Cost to Value:

The model based on Price uses it as a commercialization parameter.

The model based on Cost focuses on reducing the cost of purchasing to the consumer.

The new model based on Value it´s about what is the customer willing to pay for a product or service. We must give value so that prices can make sense. Now customers are more informed and are more demanding.


  • From Place to Convenience to Virtual Place:

Now Internet is the store. Going to the physical store is secondary, customers will go if we offer them something different besides going shopping. Consumers now want the store to go to them.

  • From Promotion to Communication to Virality:  

The model based on Promotion creates ads, and is unidirectional.

The model based on Communication is all about interaction, dialogues.

The new model is now based on Virality where the receiver extends the chain and new communication threads are created.


As you can see the marketing mix in the digital era is changing our business models. The way companies relate with consumers needs to adapt and regenerate if they want to interact with the new and well informed customer. If they want to be successful, companies need to transform their models to e-commerce and/or mobile commerce, and be present on social networks. They need to reflect, transmit, and consolidate a frequent dialogue, and gain consumer´s trust before starting the selling cycle.

Nathaly Hermida

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