The 4 Ps of marketing are Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. The 4 Ps are your marketing «mix». You control the 4Ps. They are your «independent» variables. The dependent variable is sales volume. This is the output that you get by defining the inputs – i.e. the 4 Ps. How do you choose this mix? That is the challenge! These variables are all interdependent. The task is to set these variables in such a way so that sales will take place. You cannot «make» a customer pull out her credit card, but you can certainly help her in coming to a decision by setting the «right» price, the retail outlet, the level of advertising and even product attributes such as color or perceived quality. You control everything but the customer herself.
In defining your marketing mix it is also necessary to take into account your competitor’s mix as well as your overall corporate objectives. The idea is to come up with a mix that will clearly differentiate your products from those of your competitors while considering your corporate goals. For example, the mission of your company may be to offer a high-end luxury product since your competitors are addressing the mass market and this is consistent with your company’s goal of owning the market for top-of-the-line products of this category.